A coalition of four German logistics providers has created a coalition to advance the trend of digitalization by creating a European open-source community that will standardize logistics processes through de facto software standards, DB Schenker said today.
Along with DB Schenker, the founding members of the “Open Logistics Foundation” also include Dachser, Duisport, and Rhenus. In a joint statement, the firms called their open source approach “a driver for harmonized processes in digital supply chains” and said they intend to work toward implementing the internal structures needed to work with the corresponding hardware and software.
Based in Dortmund, Germany, the new group was initiated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML. It is open to members from all areas of logistics, ranging from industry, retail, and services to freight forwarders and political organizations. Other companies that have also signed up to participate include AEB, BLG Logistics Group, GS1 Germany, Lobster Logistics Cloud, and the Bochum-based Setlog Holding, as well as associations such as the Fraunhofer- Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung.
The German initiative follows other information-sharing associations founded in recent years by logistics providers, such as a “Digital LTL Council,” that supports better collaboration and standardization on short haul and last-mile delivery operations in the less than truckload (LTL) freight sector, and a South Atlantic Chassis Pool (SACP) that allows container ports along the U.S. east coast to expand a shared collection of chassis and add intermodal freight capacity intended to relieve port backups and container shortages.
According to DB Schenker, the German group will start a collaborative innovation approach in November, marking the “first time ever” that different logistics service providers have teamed up with partners and competitors to drive digitalization in the industry.
“The idea is simple: if most companies use the same software, the easier it is to establish standardized processes within the logistics industry, resulting in more efficient work or costs savings,” DB Schenker said in a blog post. “A variety of different digital processes and standards is still widespread in the logistics industry. Almost every logistics service provider has its own software solutions for individual operations—which are often very similar for most companies—yet everyone still develops software independently.”
According to the Open Logistics Foundation, the core of the group’s work is the operation of the so-called Open Logistics Repository, a technical platform on which software and hardware interfaces are available under a free license. Members say that companies that use open source are usually more productive, reduce costs, and prevent being tied to proprietary software.
“After the presentation of the Open Logistics Foundation, it was clear to the Port of Duisburg very quickly that we would like to get involved,” Markus Bangen, chairman of the executive board of Duisburger Hafen AG said in a release. “The primary goals of our commitment are an industry-wide dialogue, the identification of overarching challenges, and the creation of urgently needed standards to make cross-location collaboration technologically easier. The bundling of resources and topics offers us the unique opportunity to set de facto standards instead of creating further monoliths. The digitalization of logistics can only be advanced by working together.”
Newly established Open Logistics Foundation to drive #digitalization for the #logistics industry via #OpenSource. Initiated by @FraunhoferIML with founding members @dachser_news, @DBSchenker, @duisport and Rhenus with more participants to come: https://t.co/lkd34TYpmQ— DB Schenker (@DBSchenker) October 26, 2021
„It is advantageous for all supply chain parties that selected software components are available as open-source elements”, says DACHSER CDO Stefan Hohm. That's why #DACHSER supports the #OpenLogisticsFoundation. https://t.co/4Bd5exSCde #OpenSource #Logistics #Digitalization pic.twitter.com/zaIrBewrOa— DACHSER (@dachser_news) October 26, 2021