Interesting lecture: at the Board Dialogue 2017 in Hamburg on April 6, Dr. Lothar Thoma, the CEO of M&M Militzer & Münch International Holding AG, gave a speech on “Global Supply Chain Partnerships”. Managers, directors, supervisory and advisory board members were in the audience. The speech discussed the question how a control tower can contribute to a logistics company mastering the challenges of today’s economy in the best possible way and offering the customer a transparent supply chain.

Globalization and the staking out of free trade zones, digitalization and industry 4.0, political and economic eruptions and upheavals – how to seize opportunities in this world that increasingly becomes more complex? A question that haunts politics, industry, economy and trade – and of course also logistics. Especially from logistics, supply chain management across all borders into the most remote regions of the world is expected. And even here, customers want to check per mouse click at any time where the goods they have ordered are at the moment.

Owing to digitalization, shipment tracing has already become possible in most developed markets: per mouse click, the customers can access the desired information concerning their delivery process. Based on end-to-end networking, modern supply chain management shows every step in the transport across country borders.

Showing the transport chain

Militzer & Münch guarantees end-to-end supply chain management to the remotest areas – also without being able to rely on the usual IT structures. With big-dimensioned projects or challenging transports, Militzer & Münch places so-called control towers at the customer’s disposal. These control towers consist of a team of experts where for the sake of superordinate coordination and planning, all threads are drawn together. Control towers would provide the necessary infrastructure for end-to-end supply chain management, said Dr. Lothar Thoma in his lecture. Via email and phone, the employees are in intensive contact with the carriers, and enter the data in a data bank. Thus, the entire transport chain is transparently traceable for the customer.

Control tower for a Kazakhstan project

Using the example of the transport of a complete production line for a float glass factory to Kazakhstan, it is easy to demonstrate how the strengths within an organization can be bundled, and coordinated with the help of a control tower. All in all the entire Militzer & Münch door-to-door project took ten months. Transports from three continents and eleven countries had to be organized. Each shipment had to be exactly synchronized with the customer’s assembly schedule. The freight comprised 8,000 tons of fire resistant material for the construction of the melting furnace, plus 700 additional container loads of equipment.

The multi-modal transport of the containers via vessel, train and truck took between 14 and 30 days depending on place of origin and transport mode. All contracts and transport documents had to be drawn up in accordance with the (tariff) regulations of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) comprising Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. Various country units within the Militzer & Münch Group performed the different processes the transports went through during the project. The responsibilities of the control tower for this project lay with selected employees at the Stockstadt location.

Bundling forces

The control tower comprises the Militzer & Münch country units and also involves the cooperation with partners. To bundle forces inside and outside the organization, Militzer & Münch would bank on partnerships, Dr. Lothar Thoma emphasized. Internally, across the entire TransInvest Group, as well as with third parties in Europe and worldwide. By collating competencies, bundling strengths and creating functional networks, extraordinary and big projects can be mastered successfully. Also possible gaps in the IT structure can be bridged that way.

Under the umbrella of TransInvest Holding, Militzer & Münch cooperates with sister companies such as the InterRail Group, a specialist in CIS rail traffics, on a regular basis. Apart from that, Militzer & Münch has entered and developed cooperations with external partners for decades.

Chances offered by the New Silk Road 

The combination of control tower and strategic partnerships is also important in relation to the New Silk Road. The Chinese government invests several hundred billion US dollars in the BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) to boost the revitalization of the trade lanes around the old Silk Road. In the Central Asian neighboring countries, numerous infrastructure projects can be expected, and with them great potential for logistics companies to optimally handle far-reaching projects with intelligent supply chain management.

Board Dialog

Board Dialogue (German: Board Dialog) is a regular event of the Board Academy for managers, directors, supervisory and advisory board members. It took place for the seventh time in April 2017. The Board Academy is an initiative for qualification, integrity and social responsibility in supervisory boards and advisory boards. With a certification program, it prepares managers, directors, supervisory and advisory board members for the challenges at the modern-day board workplace.

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