Automotive provide chain – the bottleneck within the regional space for storing

supply chain management
Warehouse space – the next bottleneck for the automotive supply chain

by Christian Otto

The supply chain is changing rapidly. Resettlement is currently an important topic. In other words, more logistics real estate is needed. But they are hardly desirable regionally.

Logistics centers such as the Toyota Center in Cologne are somewhat rare in urban areas.

(Photo: Toyota)

The COVID-19 pandemic and disruptions in the supply chain have greatly enhanced the role of logistics. According to expert and founder of, Stefan Iskan, it has become “systematically significant.” But even this nascent industry is struggling with bottlenecks. This is especially evident in logistics real estate. Iskan sees a major reason for this, in addition to the increased safety stock due to supply chain disruptions, in “geopolitical transportation projects” launched by companies around the world. This leads to increased demand for production and warehouse capacities, which, according to the logistics and automotive expert, must now be contractually secured.

Logistics characteristics are not very desirable at the municipal level.

Stephen Eskan

Jürgen Mast, supplier procurement and quality scout at, is highly critical of the current supplier market due to the scant warehouse market: “Suppliers are working to reduce working capital costs. Anyone who has been reducing inventories in recent months is now facing a serious problem.”

Above all, the transport and logistics sector needs space from communities and municipalities. “But logistics real estate is not desirable at the municipal level,” Iskan explains. In recent years, logistics companies in particular have faced increasing obstacles in accessing the space available for expansion. In addition to a shortage of skilled labor, Iskan also sees a reason here in some places for not always being able to fully exploit all growth opportunities.

Local logistics create jobs

In his experience, local and municipal politicians prefer to allocate commercial space to manufacturing companies and retailers. Associated hope: less carbon dioxide2And noise emissions, less traffic and higher business tax revenue. “An absolute miscalculation and a strategic miscalculation,” says Eskan, former DB Schenker strategist. Especially in real estate-based logistics operations, this industry can offer people and the losers of the Corona crisis a professional perspective.

Early politicians recognized this and made room for logistics companies in their commercial districts, hoping to bring about a positive trend reversal in their local unemployment figures. “Apart from the future-oriented logistics sector, there are probably only a few sectors in Germany that can demonstrate the future of career-changers. And this is exactly where the tension between real estate-based logistics and politics lies,” explains Stefan Eskan.

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The policy’s flaw appears to be the lower number of jobs per square meter in the logistics industry – compared to a production or research and development facility. However, from a logistic expert’s point of view, this observation ignores the fact that Germany is technically evolving towards the world of Industry 4.0. “Big, complex factories are not easy to control. Today it is all about automation and digitization. This is easier to master in smaller units. The same is true for nearly networked warehouse sites,” says Volker Staab, Lean Application Manager and Team Leader at .

In addition to the expected job replacement as a result of technologically advanced Industry 4.0, an increased need for real estate-based transportation and logistics services – and therefore above all for the logistics space – is also expected. “The future logistics industry takes on various tasks in the regions of Germany: production logistics for our industry, central supply to the distribution areas, the network function for handling goods, letters and parcels at the interface between local and remote traffic, the gateway function for import and export flows, and last but not least, the supply of urban agglomerations and regions the entire urban,” summarizes Stephan Eskan.

However, the availability of suitable plots of land in the required logistic areas is low. The situation is particularly tense in the urban areas of Stuttgart, Cologne, Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin and Düsseldorf.

Brownfield and activation

Market analysts estimate the total size of Germany’s logistics space at 300 million square meters. Re-dedicating the former production areas and shopping malls is an option for further growth. This would be “a deserted logistical development and revitalization of areas,” the expert said. Existing industrial zones are rearranged and built accordingly. These plots have already been developed in terms of infrastructure, have building rights and are also very well integrated in terms of transportation.

Iskan also expects to contribute to the sustainability dimension through the use of technology in real estate logistics. Today, additional building costs make up about 30 percent of the rent including heating for the logistics property. a company2– Neutral power supplies seem to be a key lever here. Then, sustainable logistics properties should only have electricity purchased from renewable sources. Intelligent control of LED light, photovoltaic systems, temperature and climate can improve incremental costs and enable environmentally sustainable infrastructure.

Despite all the opportunities to provide more sustainable real estate-based logistics, the industry expert is also skeptical: “The question is whether industrial and commercial customers are also willing to adequately compensate transportation and logistics partners with their pricing for their sustainable services,” says Practices Today’s business clearly: No.”


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