Go back

Statement Dr. Christoph Beumer



Ladies and Gentlemen:

Dr. Gruchow, you have raised a few points which I would like to address in more detail.

The CeMAT events in Brazil, Russia, China and India are major cornerstones in these markets - markets which are becoming increasingly important to the world economy. These CeMAT shows make it easier for foreign enterprises to gain market access - and help companies that are already represented in these countries to extend their market presence. The various CeMAT events create a central platform where visitors can approach exhibitors with their specific and qualified requirements. This leads to valuable contacts.

The CeMAT events in the BRIC countries play an important role not only for foreign manufacturers but - to an increasing extent - for domestic enterprises. According to the German Engineering Federation (VDMA), Chinese manufacturers (including the Chinese subsidiaries of foreign companies) produce intralogistics components and systems worth €52 billion every year. Taking into account the fact that the intralogistics exports of German companies already amount to over €1 billion a year, it is clearly obvious that CeMAT in Shanghai is much more than just a gateway for imports.

The same applies to the growth market Brazil. In 2010 Brazilian intralogistics suppliers reported sales of €3.1 billion. This represents an increase of 45% compared with the previous year. Brazil imports intralogistics products worth more than €330 million a year from Germany alone. This figure has more than doubled over the past three years.

Ladies and Gentlemen, while we are still on the subject of statistics, let me give you a brief overview of the world's major intralogistics nations. The figures have been compiled by the VDMA and relate to 2010, due to the fact that some of the national statistical offices require more than one year to process the relevant data.

China is the world's largest producer of intralogistics products and systems. As I mentioned before, Chinese enterprises in this sector generate sales of around €52 billion. The second largest intralogistics producer nation is the USA, with sales of €21.5 billion. For many decades the USA led the world, but was finally overtaken by China around five years ago. In 2010 China sold 2.5 times more intralogistics products than the USA. The third largest producer nation is Japan, closely followed by Germany. In this context it should be pointed out that in 2010 exchange rate fluctuations between the euro and the yen benefited Japan to the tune of approx. 1 billion. Further European nations are among the top 10. However, none of the European producer nations has regained the peak level achieved in 2008. In 2010 Brazil numbered among the world¿s top 10 intralogistics producers for the first time. Unlike the Europeans countries, Brazil significantly exceeded its pre-crisis output level in 2010.

German intralogistics enterprises export more than 56% of their output, and this figure is on the rise. With imports in excess of €1 billion, China is the largest and most important purchaser of German intralogistics products. Compared with the previous year's total (€725 million), Chinese purchases have increased by almost 40%.

It is interesting to note that France is now a more important customer for German intralogistics products than the USA, despite the fact that German intralogistics exports to the USA increased by 20%. It is equally remarkable that, with an import volume of €634 million, Russia has become the fourth largest customer for German intralogistics technology. Brazil has significantly increased its purchasing volume and seems to be establishing itself among the top 10. To complete the list of BRIC countries, India is the eleventh largest purchaser of German intralogistics products. Poland has appeared in the rankings for the first time.

It will be necessary - and sensible - to transfer parts of the value-adding process to the target regions, closer to customers and markets. In my view this represents a major step towards sustainability. This will deliver ecological as well as economic benefits. For instance, it will eliminate the need to transport our products halfway around the globe - something which can take weeks or months. In addition, we are under an obligation to shoulder social responsibility at an international level.

In our role as suppliers of conveying, loading, palletizing, packaging, sorting and distribution systems, we were compelled at an early stage to transfer parts of our value-adding process to foreign markets. In many cases conveying and loading systems are deployed in the extraction of building materials and raw materials. The relevant growth markets are all located outside Europe. The same applies to the baggage sorting systems at airports. We must always stay close to our customers and their projects.

My company, the BEUMER Group, generates annual sales of approximately €500 million. 85% of this figure is attributable to activities outside Germany. More than half of our valued-added is created abroad. Today our business sector can function only as a global alliance.

Ladies and Gentlemen, these figures reflect the international - and global - nature of the intralogistics sector.

In technological terms, the intralogistics sector is truly international. Intralogistics technology delivers the answers to the challenges and megatrends which confront us now - and all the more so in the future. These include dwindling natural resources, demographic change, the provision of goods and services to the inhabitants of cities and urban areas, and the growing individualization of our society. These challenges can be summed up in a simple formula:

We need more sustainability

With sustainability I mean a combination of economic, ecological and social responsibility.

With reference to the intralogistics sector this implies



  • the efficiency of systems and products
  • the conservation of natural resources
  • and respect for the interests of all those involved in the various processes.



This will lead to a far-reaching shift in the intralogistics sector. Performance is no longer the exclusive priority. Instead, the goal is to find the right solution for each individual need or application, to minimize the consumption of raw materials and energy, and to automate processes in such a way that maximum flexibility can be maintained. The focus is on the user, the beneficiary of such systems, and not on technology per se.

Suppliers of intralogistics systems will have to respond to these trends and adapt their products and systems accordingly. At CeMAT 2011 here in Hannover we saw numerous interesting ideas and solutions. This was very promising - and we look forward expectantly to CeMAT 2014.

Demographic change is one of the major challenges facing the logistics/intralogistics industry. This will have a major impact on distribution structures, as well as on the way we live and work.

The age pyramid is similar in many industrialized countries - i.e. the population consists of fewer young people and more older people. Older members of the population remain active for longer. This in turn will have an impact on the duration of our working lives. The effects on the logistics sector will be twofold: firstly, services will have to be provided individually to more and more older people. As a result the volume of mail order business and single-point deliveries will increase perceptibly. Secondly, the average age of production, warehousing and distribution personnel will increase significantly. This in turn will have an impact on the design of workplaces. It will be necessary to eliminate physically strenuous and mentally fatiguing activities.

The degree of automation and process integration will increase. Today, significant portions of the intralogistics chain have already been automated. Sorting and distribution systems are a case in point. At airports and distribution centers such systems are the cornerstone of the entire materials handling process. At hub airports in particular, baggage handling systems have to fulfill stringent criteria in order to allow passengers to change planes quickly. Technology must adapt to the megatrend of 'enhanced mobility'. This entails a high and reliable degree of automation, as well as seamless software integration.

In distribution centers the potential for automation begins at the goods entry point. The containers are unloaded automatically. On-site transport is fully automatic; complex tasks such as order picking can now be fully automated. The same applies to palletizing and packaging.

The individualization of our society and the increasing volume of mail order business are changing the intralogistics industry. Product ranges are subject to constant modification. More and more frequently, manufacturers and distributors are compelled to respond to individual customer requirements. This reduces batch sizes and increases the number of product variants. Nevertheless, deliveries to the customer have to be made more quickly. This is leading to the emergence of new types of warehouses. To an increasing extent assembly and finishing tasks are being performed in distribution centers. This requires maximum flexibility. Human resources play a key role here. No automated system is as flexible and versatile.

A further important issue is energy. All the economic forecasts point to a sustained increase in energy costs in the coming years. We are already feeling the effects of Germany's shift in energy policy. For this reason we will have to reduce the energy consumption of plant and equipment and ensure that they operate only when they are actually needed. We will have to ensure that surplus energy is recycled, that lightweight materials are deployed and that plant and equipment are downsized in order to make better use of available space.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I will conclude this list of serious challenges here. Overcoming these challenges will require an enormous amount of R&D effort, as well as engineering excellence.

Germany is regarded as the Silicon Valley of the intralogistics sector. Countless innovations and smart solutions have their roots here. However, invention and innovation should not be restricted solely to Germany. Both now and in the near future, engineers will be in high demand, in Germany and elsewhere - engineers who will design and implement efficient, eco-friendly and ergonomic solutions.

This is backed up by statistics published by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) in Berlin. According to these statistics, German enterprises and foreign enterprises based in Germany have increased their R&D expenditure by approx. one third since 2001. The figure now stands at around €45 billion. Since 2007 foreign enterprises have invested €4 billion more in R&D in Germany than German companies have invested outside Germany. According to the DIW, there are no signs that German companies are transferring their R&D expenditure abroad. Indeed, non-domestic R&D spending by German companies has actually fallen to approx. €11 billion. The USA remains the most important research location for German companies; expenditure here amounts to €3.8 billion. On the basis of patents granted, locations such as the BRIC states, Central and Eastern Europe and South East Asia account for more than 11% of the non-domestic inventions of German companies.

Foreign enterprises invest approx. €15 million in R&D projects in Germany - a figure that is set to rise in future. These enterprises employ a workforce of approx. 85,000 in Germany.

Ladies and Gentlemen, these statistics speak in favor of Germany as a business and R&D location, and it is therefore fitting that the world's leading fair for intralogistics takes place here. However, these figures also constitute a challenge: We must ensure that sufficient skilled human resources are available in order to accomplish the tasks at hand, both in Germany and internationally. For this reason all efforts must center on the effective and future-proof training of young persons and on sparking enthusiasm for technology.

And I would like to add a point based on personal conviction: Skilled specialists from abroad are and will be very welcome in Germany.

Thank you for your attention.