Forty years ago, I submitted my dissertation to the founding father of logistics, Prof. Dr. Helmut Baumgarten, at the TU Berlin. Its unwieldy title: “Cooperative design of cross-company logistic interfaces”. Within the scope of my thesis, I investigated the logistical interfaces between Bosch and BMW. Today, just over 40 years later, two articles in the German trade journal Handelsblatt are placed on the same page:
“BMW and SAP establish a data alliance to improve cross-company data exchange”
“Bosch fights for an AI code”
Both issues are extremely important for the industry sector. The question is: why does it take so long to convert knowledge into concrete actions? Germany and Europe have only one chance to compete successfully on a global scale: on the one hand, all available technologies must be used. And, on the other hand, these technologies must be applied cooperatively within the supply chain – in a consistent manner. Generally speaking, far too much time passes from intelligence alone to the profound economic exploitation of knowledge. All companies want to be agile, few of them are! Agility starts in the mind. This inner attitude is important for quick decisions and the successful implementation of specific measures.
When it came to transferring months of lead time to weeks some 40 years ago, it’s about making hours out of days today! The availability of parts and products requires the availability of information. Quick decisions are prevented if information is processed hierarchically.
Bosch improves the responsible handling of AI
Of course, decisions must be based on ethical principles. The person bearing responsibility has the final (and decisive) say. But we must question the decision-making process. People need useful decision templates that aggregate cross-company data exchange – this is where the algorithms come into play. The role of us as human beings is to review, evaluate and decide.
These findings must have organisational consequences! Hierarchies with long decision-making paths do not serve today’s reality. The almighty boss hampers progress, prevents speed, and thus, inhibits productivity. Today, it is all about decentralized responsibility, supported by various teams. And they need rules based on values and ethical principles.
Accelerate your company. Only the fast ones will survive the 20s with their ever-new challenges. Check your organization and processes.
Dr.-Ing Ralf Feierabend
Managing Partner of ConMoto