New impulse for tomorrow’s automotive logistics.


What do innovative solutions look like for the current and future logistics requirements in the automotive sector? The INNOVATIVE LOGISTICS Solution Day expert conference that took place on January the 28th in Wolfsburg was dedicated to this topic. At this event, the logistics experts from KRATZER AUTOMATION presented ideas for the future of the automotive logistics e.g. a concept for the optimization of inbound logistics activities.


“Shaping Logistics 2020”, was the central theme of the first INNOVATIVE LOGISTICS Solution Day conference in Wolfsburg. At the end of January, the Institute for Production Management (IPM) was invited together with the Volkswagen group to this new expert conference with its accompanying exhibition. More than 380 participants used this opportunity to exchange future perspectives on the subject of automotive logistics during course of the two day event. The visitors include numerous managers and executive staff from Volkswagen, representatives of suppliers together with logistics experts from the fields of business and technology. The participants discussed innovative products and solutions in interactive workshops and were encouraged to develop ideas and options concerning key topics e.g. productivity and automization, IT innovation, network management and sustainable logistics.


Before the event began, the Volkswagen group and the IPM had already organized an ideas forum for the further enhancement of the Volkswagen factory logistics. Numerous solution providers and research institutes have taken part in this “Innovation Scouting” and have submitted a large range of ideas. The concept suggestions range from data glass (smart glass) and RFID bracelets for optimization of the factory operation via Bluetooth wireless sensors for industry 4.0 applications to smart indoor cranes and autonomous transport and articulated robots.


More transparency during the delivery process: An innovation concept for the inbound logistics process


The Logistics Automation business division of KRATZER AUTOMATION was also invited as a manufacturer to the expert conference and has developed for the innovation contest a solution concept for the future optimization of inbound logistics at Volkswagen. “At the Wolfsburg plant alone, 2,000 vehicles arrive every day to deliver parts for vehicle production,” says Matthias Vieweg, Head of Customer Projects, Logistics Automation at KRATZER AUTOMATION. “Our idea was to track online and in real time the arrivals of these vehicles with a central application and via a mobile app in order to optimize the processes at the factory site.”


The diverse IT applications of all freight carriers involved within a supply chain can prove to be a great challenge for an efficient inbound logistics operation. Transport providers within the supply industry work with different order management and telematics systems which are built on different software platforms and not sufficiently integrated both within the processes and with VW IT systems.


The consequence: Important information from freight carrier vehicles is not being made available reliably and in real time for the relevant employees within the inbound logistics operation to act on. For example, delays on a route will not be transmitted and will adversely affect the supplier, the employee at the gate or in the inter depot logistics schedules. This could also mean that processes that have already been planned at the factory site, at unloading points and on production lines cannot be carried out as intended. In the end, longer waiting times and downtimes can also have consequences on the manufacturing processes.

“The solution concept that we have developed for the innovation contest fulfils exactly this challenge”, explains Lars Siering, Sales Manager at KRATZER AUTOMATION. “With current hardware and software technologies based on cadis, our operational TMS, it would be possible to integrate specific tracking applications in the diverse system landscapes of freight carriers and in turn make current information concerning parts delivery available for the car manufacturers.”


Real time information on arrival boards and mobile apps


From a user perspective, the solution would be as follows: An app which is installed on the mobile device of the driver would transfer information about the route, about the current position of the vehicle and the loaded goods automatically and in real time to the car manufacturers. The expected times of arrival (ETA) of vehicles together with the storage areas and gates which are planned in the system will be represented on arrival boards within the inbound goods area and this can also be optionally transmitted to driver app. The driver will then already know before he arrives at the site at which gate he is expected to unload.

With this solution, employees could have a comprehensive overview of all relevant route events and could at any time intervene in the operational processes in a proactive way. For example, it could be possible to allocate priorities during the unloading process to delayed vehicles with critical shipments. Employees equipped with mobile devices at the unloading points could be informed via tablet or smart watch about modifications during deliveries.

The car manufacturers and the suppliers´ freight carriers could gain great benefit from this increased transparency. The solution would enable complete planned/actual analysis and ensure a reduction of waiting time and downtime at delivery points. Moreover the development and implementation effort to install this solution would be low: All important components of this concept, ranging from the central client cluster application through to the mobile apps, the arrival boards and storage areas and gates management, have all been tried and tested in other implementation processes.

“Today, numerous logistics service providers which work with the Volkswagen group and its different suppliers have chosen to use cadis as an operational TMS”, says Matthias Vieweg. “During the INNOVATIVE LOGISTICS Solution Day, it was very exciting to discuss with experts within the sector about future application opportunities. By doing this, we have been able to gather both important viewpoints for the future development of our technology and new ideas for additional value added services.”



KRATZER AUTOMATION was founded in 1980 by Gerhard Kratzer and Paul Balz as Gerhard Kratzer GmbH Automatisierungstechnik München. From the outset, the company focused on creating industrial, process-related software. Projects in the company’s early years addressed a wide range of industries: in addition to developing the software for Ruhrgas’ operations control center in Essen, the company was also commissioned to automate engine test benches for SHELL and BMW Motorsport and supported the ADAC in controlling its breakdown service fleet through the use of mobile data communications.


Since the mid-1980s, the company began developing software tools for various applications, for example for capturing and storing measurements and displaying them in diagrams. Early in the 1990s, KRATZER AUTOMATION was transformed from a pure software company to a general contractor offering an end-to-end service. In 1999, the company was converted into a stock corporation.

For more than 33 years, KRATZER AUTOMATION has been a successful software company for process-oriented solutions in the automotive, electronic manufacturing and the transport industries. In all three sectors, we strive for optimal solutions and efficient processes along the customer value chain.


The workforce increased continuously to its current level of around 300 employees who work at eight locations worldwide both in Europe and Asia. In addition to its headquarters in Munich, KRATZER AUTOMATION runs branch offices in Stuttgart and Wolfsburg, as well as subsidiaries in France, Great Britain, Czech Republic and China.


The following organizations are customers of KRATZER AUTOMATION: BMW, Bosch, Geodis CIBLEX, Daimler, DB Schenker, DHL, DPD, IDS Logistik, Liebherr, MAN, MTU, Porsche, Austrian Post, TNT, Umicore, VW and Zollner.


In its Test Systems division, KRATZER AUTOMATION plans and implements test systems for the automotive industry, for example for engines, turbochargers and gear chains. In particular, the company focuses on developing test benches for energy-saving and environmentally friendly drive concepts.


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