The logistics of tomorrow are more difficult to predict than the weather. Internet and e-commerce provide more than a hundred million additional packages in Germany per year. Each of these packages is ordered, picked, packed, transported, distributed and delivered individually and on demand. At the same time, the number of articles increases exponentially due to more and more individual design. The flexibility and dynamism of logistical process design has now reached a level that can no longer be achieved by conventional organizational forms and is only to be handled on the basis of efficient IT solutions: logistics move things and the software determines where things are and how, from where and whereabouts they move.
The Fraunhofer Innovation Cluster »Cloud Computing for Logistics« unites the composition and organization of logistic (service) performance with IT in a common design. The two Fraunhofer Institutes IML and ISST follow the increasing demand for a new logistics software and bring together the two disciplines of logistics and informatics.
The state of North Rhine-Westphalia has ideal conditions for this: With around 250,000 employees it is the logistics stronghold of Germany. With over 5,700 logistics companies between Duisburg and Dortmund it also has the highest density of logistical services in the heart of Europe. There are around 14,000 software companies (90,000 employees) in NRW that can meet the need for IT support. Thereby NRW is also the largest ICT country in Germany. Both sectors are strongly medium-sized.
Against this background, the establishment of an Innovation Cluster with the Dortmund Fraunhofer Institutes for Material Flow and Logistics IML and for Software and Systems Engineering ISST as drivers and the TU Dortmund as a research partner is a compelling step towards strengthening the competitiveness of both industries. The competences in logistics and IT, which are present in research facilities, are synergistically combined in order to develop innovative, sustainable Cloud Computing solutions for logistics in the short term. The WM Group and Accenture were won as industrial partners.