If there was a shining star among the participants at Startup Day 2020, it would probably have been the software provider Synfioo. The startup, which emerged from an EU research project on green logistics, promises to predict arrival times in supply chains more accurately. “The fact that a company is born out of research is still an exception to the rule,” said organizer Hanno Friedrich, Associate Professor of Freight Transportation - Modelling and Policy. “Even with our event, this will not change. But it was important for startups and science to be confronted and be brought into conversation with each other, and we succeeded in doing this overwhelmingly in the 15 sessions.”
Research at the service of startups
Practice-oriented research and research-open companies played a central role in Professor Dr. Lorant Tavasszy's (TU Delft) key note speech: “Scientists must become part of the startup community and carry out 'action research' in line with entrepreneurial needs.” Lorant Tavasszy advised startups that, “it is not complicated to merge with a university. Name your topics - and you can find very well-educated students to write theses.”
KLU-Alumni return as startup team
The Startup Day has grown from 10 to nearly 50 participating startups since the pilot event in 2016, and visitor numbers continue to increase annually. KLU alumni are also among them. “Last year I participated as a student,” Diana Pilzer recalled. "That’s how I got to know It'sMyCargo and today I represent the company in the marketplace. This is proof that Startup Day also works as a career networking opportunity."
Sustainability driving food logistics
One of the first sessions was on food logistics. There is still great potential for innovation in the area of this branch of logistics, as the grocery market happens to be larger than all other consumer markets combined. Is food delivery service more sustainable than in-store shopping? This was the initial question. “Yes,” said Arthur Reijnhart from Picnic, “We start baking bread only after it has been ordered.” In this way, for example, supermarket food waste can be reduced drastically. Picnic reinterprets the principle of the “milkman”. Electric vans deliver to people’s front door, at a time of the customer’s choosing. Thanks to optimized planning for the “milkman’s” rounds, the deliveries are guaranteed to arrive within a twenty-minute window.
Truck industry needs interconnectivity
Among other things, the trucking sessions dealt with the question of how trucks could be fully loaded in the future. Currently, about thirty percent of all trucks on the roads are empty. The competitive market is also characterized by a large number of small haulage companies with three to ten trucks. Tom Krause (Cargonexx) diagnosed that, “the market urgently needs a stronger network. If the players do not interconnect digitally, we will not achieve the goal of full truck load.” The successful Swedish company Einride presented its electrically driven, driverless trucks, called T-Pods. The road approval for the T-Pods is currently only valid for a fixed route and a maximum of five kilometers per hour, but it is an absolute world first. Next year or the year after next, the first autonomous trucks could also be seen on motorways.
A wide range of topics
Other sessions included such topics as: software providers, maritime logistics, data analytics, e-commerce support, supply chain transparency, alternative modes, warehousing, monitoring and technologies, last mile and finance, and transport planning.
Photo credit: KLU/Jan Konitzki