Logistics and Packaging


The fact that the German government adopted a goods transport and logistics master plan in July 2008 confirms the growing importance of logistics for Germany as a business location.  Markenverband welcomes the increasing attention that goods transport enjoys in policy-makers’ perception, since brand manufacturers of consumer goods are highly dependent on a functioning transport infrastructure.  It has therefore traditionally worked intensively on the challenges of optimising logistics and transport costs.  To this is added the fact that brand manufacturers’ trade customers have their own ideas for the organisation of the goods flow.

Ideally, the virtual information flow should be fully automated: ordering goods, flanking the physical transport flow, timely production of standardised transport documents which flank the goods fully automatically from warehouse to outlet.  If invoices are paid within the usual timeframe – subject to the agreed conditions – the supplier is satisfied.

However, the reality is different: existing communication and identification standards are insufficiently used, as recently documented in the framework of the implementation study by the EHI Retail Institute and GS1-Germany (a 50%-owned subsidiary of Markenverband which addresses the issues of EAN code and RFID for trade and industry among others).  The frequency of errors climbs exponentially when proprietary, non-automated procedures are used.  This can be seen in particular in inaccurate base data which in turn lead to wrong orders and ultimately make it impossible to control flows.  The result is that the consumer fails to find the products he wants on the shelf.  This causes trade and industry to lose several hundred millions of euros every year in Germany.

The transport infrastructure which Markenverband regards as necessary for a functioning good flow is also under pressure.  More tailbacks, shorter driving hours and a shortage of drivers are difficult framework conditions for functioning supply chains.  The state is trying to steer improvements through the above-mentioned goods transport and logistics master plan.  It proposes measures designed to help prevent the threat of bottleneck situations.  In this regard, a transfer of a proportion of transport to rail is desirable.  Markenverband has repeatedly analysed these possibilities and criticised the fact that rail cargo service providers have no equivalent concepts for the consumer goods sector.  Interest is limited to heavy industry (automotive, chemicals and capital goods).  There is also a shortage of cooled transport, which is essential for many consumer goods.  In all probability, the transport infrastructure will come up against its limits in the foreseeable future, despite all the planned measures.  This will be an important field for action by Markenverband.

The transport sector accounts for around 30% of CO2 emissions to air and accordingly is seen increasingly as a critical factor.  Inasmuch, intervention by the state can be expected, be it through higher fuel duties, distance levies or bans.  The branded article industry at European level is facing up to these challenges and is resolutely developing avenues for more sustainable transport, jointly with trading businesses.  This is taking place in the framework of the Efficient Consumer Response (ECR), an initiative put in place by distributors and the branded article industry which draws up cooperative recommendations for processing business operations between the two sectors.

Under the title “Reliable availability of quality branded products – priorities 2009-2015”, Markenverband has addressed the most urgent challenges and underlined the need for climate-friendly transport.