Logistics & Supply Chain

Achema 2018: Source for Taillored Logistics Solutions

Interview with Thomas Scheuring, CEO of Dechema

26.04.2018 -

For the first time Achema 2018 invites to a special exhibition zone in Hall 1.1 presenting a Logistics Hotspot for the chemical and pharmaceutical industry. Sonja Andres of CHEManager asked Thomas Scheuring, CEO of Dechema, about the reasons for this step and his expectations.

CHEManager: How do you rate the significance of logistics for the chemical and pharmaceutical industry?

Thomas Scheuring: Logistics is becoming very significant especially in the pharmaceutical industry. Take good distribution practice as an example: the freight forwarder has to take care that the drugs are shipped at the same temperature they are stored at. Sounds easy, but actually it is a huge responsibility. And GDP is only one of many regulations that need to be considered when drugs are transported from A to B. Small wonder that pharma companies want to concentrate on their core business – developing drugs – and leave the logistics topics to the pros in this field. The cooperation between GlaxoSmithKline and Kühne + Nagel is a sure sign of a trend towards integrating logisticians as system partners.

What was the main reason for Dechema to enlarge the logistics section at Achema and to take a closer look on its possibilities?

T. Scheuring: The exhibition group “pharma, packaging and storage techniques” already has some aspects of logistics in its name. Then we saw the logistics topics becoming more important for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The logical step was to integrate logistics into the existing exhibition group. It’s a win-win situation: exhibitors who want to gain access to these markets have at least 3,800 fellow exhibitors as potential customers.

Visitors who are looking for logistics solutions tailored to the chemical and pharma industry find them all in one space, the Logistics Hotspot. At a generalized logistics trade show, they would have to comb through hundreds of exhibitors to find what they need. At Achema, they just have to follow the forklift icon to satisfy their needs. The win for us organizers is that we expect to attract a completely new target group that didn’t have Achema on its radar up to now.

In your opinion, what are the most innovative and pioneering developments right now for the chemical and pharmaceutical logistics?

T. Scheuring: Labelling and blockchain. Labelling seems like a very low-tech topic – printing stickers, what’s the big deal? Upon closer inspection, labelling is the prerequisite for automation. If you want to assemble, say, a pump the assembly instructions on how to mount the different parts need to be stored somewhere. With the trend towards individualized products, the instructions are individual too, so it’s best if they travel through assembly together with the workpiece. That’s where the label comes into play. It contains all the data that are necessary to control the production process. Todays “sticker” comes usually as an RFID or NFC tag. These tags still work if they are painted over, as they don’t require visual contact to be read.

Blockchain technology for logistics is so innovative that we don’t even have an exhibitor for it at Achema 2018. Blockchain will have a huge impact on many industries reaching far beyond cryptocurrencies. The sea freight industry for example accounts for 90 percent of goods in global trade. It creates a massive paper trail most of which is never digitized and susceptible to fraud. With blockchain, all parties involved can access a public record of the shipment at any time. The record is immutable and transparent and opportunities for fraud decrease a lot. It’s definitely a topic to look out for, even if only at Achema 2021.