Event report: 4th Edition of the annual Ahlers Chemical Supply Chain Forum

An inspiring afternoon of Smart Community building

Antwerp/Belgium/October 7th, 2016

For the fourth time already, a number of decision makers from various chemical companies gathered at Ahlers House to talk about supply chain optimization, collaboration and innovative ideas to reduce cost, carbon footprint, empty trucks on the road and discuss other initiatives that would benefit the chemical industry and its stakeholders.

Roel Vanmaele, Ahlers MD Western-Europe, kicked off the program by sharing his views on upcoming logistics innovations such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence and real-time capacity sharing.

In the next presentation, Marc Klaassen, Group Purchasing Manager at Recticel, looked back on a first “Smart Data” project carried out by Ahlers Supply Network Innovation & Analytics (ASNIA). By transforming and visualizing raw transport and procurement data into actionable interactive dashboards, the joint Recticel-Ahlers project team could unlock a significant savings potential.

Up next was a story about Ahlers’ new “Smart Logistics” offering, presented by Chemical Sales Manager Bert Goethals. Bert presented a recent Cerexagri case study and offered a sneak preview of the new chemical co-production platform Ahlers will build on the left bank of the river Scheldt in 2017.

The next 2 sessions focused on “Smart Communities”. Nathan De Valck, Cargo & Product Development Manager at Brussels Airport, explained how his and a number of other companies around the airport set up a digital freight community together with IT partner Nallian.

An Dupon, Director Supply Chain Operations Europe - Shared Service Hub West at BASF Antwerp and Jan Van Dooren, CEO Port+ and Project Manager at NxtPort explained how they too are building a digital freight community in the Port of Antwerp.

To end the inspiration sessions, Sven Verstrepen, Head of Supply Network Innovation & Analytics at Ahlers, presented the results of survey that was launched over the summer, to see if the chemical industry would also be willing to start building a logistics community. The results were very promising. A large part of the participants sees the benefits of such a community and is willing to take the necessary first steps in the near future.

Last but not least, it was time for a lively interactive debate moderated by Paul Gooch, member of the EPCA Supply Chain Program Committee. The participants shared their views and ideas on what initiative should be taken towards a collaborative logistics community in the chemical industry.

The conclusion of Ahlers’ 4th Chemical Supply Chain Forum was that the future looks bright for chemical logistics. Together with the participants, Ahlers is looking forward to taking next steps and initiatives that will move the sector a bit closer towards the creation of a smart, data-driven and collaborative supply network.

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