Today, tracking goods, apps for truck drivers to coordinate orders, paperless documentation for exchanging load carriers, applications for generating and managing electronic freight documents or order management for intralogistics technology are part of standard services in logistics. The corresponding services are thereby no longer business-differentiating. On the contrary, companies offer them to serve a general expectation of the market with respect to certain basic functions or services. However, companies have again and again developed or purchased their own solutions in recent years – and to this day. This is contrasted with high development effort and development risk.

Transparency and flexibility more in demand than ever

Even more serious, however, is the fact that for such standard services, which help a significantly large group of users, there are often no uniform and recognized solutions on the market. Numerous and very different solutions and systems coexist instead. This makes the networking of market participants and the onboarding of new partners, be they suppliers or customers, more difficult. However, logistics has to strive more than ever for transparency and flexibility in light of the progressing digitalization, the increasing complexity of supply chains and the use of artificial intelligence. In this context, logistics in Germany has to initiate a shift of paradigm and it has done so with the Silicon Economy, driven by the Fraunhofer-Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML.

The following applies:

  • The larger the group of developers and, in particular, of users, the closer one is to de facto standardization.
  • The larger the group’s commitment for a service, the higher is the potential for fast dissemination and use of a service.

Pragmatic standardization by uniting the logistics industry

The joint development of services on the basis of open source makes a significant contribution towards achieving the level of cooperation that is required in the logistics community with regard to a pragmatic standardization of processes, in particular, in the area of digitalization of business processes. As a result, automation potentials are made possible in the orchestrating of services on platforms as well as in the initiation, contracting, billing and documentation of logistics services.

This development will start with the standard services – yet, it won’t stop there for a long time. For as diverse as logistics is itself, as divers are the possible applications for open source components that are currently being developed in the Silicon Economy.