Logistics is an international business. And KLU is a university with an international orientation. What’s more natural than to make KLU’s expertise available to an international audience?
Kai Hoberg, Associate Professor of Supply Chain and Operations Strategy at KLU, took his knowledge abroad and conducted a two-day seminar in Taipei on disruptive technologies’ impact on supply chain excellence. The Taiwan Association of Logistics Management hosted the workshop, which was entitled Supply Chain 4.0 - Leveraging digital opportunities for advancing logistics and supply chain management. It took place in August and attracted 37 participants from logistics and manufacturing companies, in addition to academia and government institutions.
“The interest in technology innovations was immense,” Hoberg said to summarize his experience during the workshop. “Taiwan has a great affinity to electronics. Thirteen of the 20 largest companies in the country are in the field of technology, hardware or semiconductors. However, you always have to go beyond fulsome visions and build a solid business case.” And so the participants explored digital technologies such as 3D printing, smart devices and supply chain analytics – with the objective of finding suitable technologies for their respective business environments.
Lively discussions emerged about the potential of automated warehousing and last-mile delivery. These topics are particularly important due to the country’s demographic trends. Taiwan currently has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world with 0.9 children per female. Accordingly, the idea of automating the activities that cannot attract skilled employees seems to have a lot of potential.
The workshop went beyond pure technology discussions and addressed their implications on supply chain operating models and customer interaction. Hoberg explained: “Ultimately, you need more than new technologies and improved processes – you need to integrate all the activities for the benefit of the company. Reducing costs is one way to do so; supply chain technologies that create value by improving the customer experience and capturing additional revenues are, however, the ideal way to move forward.”
During the workshop, Hoberg was positively surprised to learn how Germany is perceived in Taiwan when it comes to the fourth industrial revolution and supply chains: “The participants acknowledged the conceptual leadership of German companies in the area of digitizaling supply chains. Everybody was aware of the effort the German industry is exerting here.”
Note that the Supply Chain 4.0 executive seminar will also be conducted in Hamburg on November 10 and 11.