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2020 – a year like no other

This year has certainly been exceptional. It is rare to see something affecting people worldwide at the same time and in a similar fashion as what we have experienced with the coronavirus.

And this all while handling the effect it has had on supply chains on behalf of our customers and their consumers.
Even beyond this, for Körber, it has been a year of big change.

We have bundled the strength of twelve supply chain companies from around the globe under one brand. That meant bringing together different solutions, different teams, different cultures, and unique expertise worldwide – all while a pandemic made its way around the globe. 

We could truly see the innovative spirit of Körber take over. This ranged from taking the initiative to develop a solution that helps our customers directly manage the effects of the crisis with our K.InSight Contact Tracer to celebrating the launch of new automation solutions, such as our  palletizer and an enhancement in our automatic sorter. We entered new partnerships with Geek+, Locus Robotics, and Fetch Robotics, which allowed us to successfully enable projects worldwide involving autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) to not only help customers overcome their ‘normal’ supply chain complexities but also cope with COVID-19-related labor challenges.

The pandemic has changed our behavior as consumers forever. This year has already seen a move towards even more online (especially grocery) shopping; a trend we do not expect to revert to pre-pandemic levels. Many businesses have accommodated to this and converted stores to collection points during lockdowns to be able to operate. With warehouse prices at a premium, this will become a popular option going forward into 2021. 

Companies will also invest in more technology to augment the workers on the warehouse floor. This will allow them to adapt to pick orders quicker – even for same day delivery. That also means we will see more automation within the supply chain process, which in itself can add complexity. To cope with this, the industry will focus on digitally enabled decision-making and data integrity.

For businesses, this also implies maintaining a proper balance between a multitude of technological drivers and to follow a structured, future based innovation agenda. We will also see the “sustainable supply chain” move more and more to the center of attention – especially once we have the pandemic under control. 
Despite all the challenges that this year has thrown at us, companies worldwide have adjusted.  Our customers relied on us, meaning our technical teams showed the commitment to support them on-site, working around the clock after lockdown had ended to make up for the time missed, and this across country borders. Now more than ever, it is important not to dwell on the challenges, but to embrace new opportunities and look ahead.

I would like to thank all our customers, partners, employees, and readers and wish you a merry Christmas and a good start in the New Year. Stay safe.

Dirk Hejnal
CEO Körber Supply Chain

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