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In recent years, the automotive sector has invested in Industry 4.0 technologies to drive productivity and lower costs across production development, production and logistics, with manufacturers such as Volkswagen Group making steps to standardise systems in the cloud. Now, as companies manage fragile supply chains and manage new safety requirements and greater risks in the wake of the crisis, the technology to enable visibility, powerful data analytics and greater automation is not just a nice-to-have, but essential tools to make decisions and develop competitive advantages.

In this special Livestream Hour focused on digital tools and technology that are transforming automotive supply chain and production processes today and building towards greater use of artificial intelligence. Join the conversations with one of Volkswagen’s key IT and digital leaders in the supply chain, Lars Bäumann, together with logistics expert Jürgen Schmelting from the prestigious Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Engineering, as well as autonomous technology specialists, SYNAOS.

Learn more about the technologies that can be deployed now to help deal with the crisis, and how they can be used to help the industry recover more quickly to become more resilient in the face of ongoing and future disruption.

Gain valuable insights into:

  • The use cases for AI and data analytics in production and logistics performance management
  • How to synchronize systems for high-tech logistics centres
  • The accelerated role of Industry 4.0 technologies in logistics and supply chain
  • How AI, machine and deep learning can be used to constantly reassess and re-plan activities
  • How robotic process automation (RPA) can support tasks across production and supply chain


Lars Baumann (1)

Lars Bäumann
Director Information Management and Digitalization

Lars Bäumann plays a lead role in defining and shaping digital strategies for corporate IT processes across global Volkswagen passenger car operations. He has held a variety of roles across the carmaker in areas including IT contracting, production control and container management, and later as director of production and logistics IT worldwide. Besides his corporate responsibilities, Lars is a long-time member of Bundesvereinigung Logistik (BVL), the German Logistics Association, where he has helped oversee scientific logistics projects and was recently appointed as its representative for Mexico.

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Jürgen Schmelting
Head of Logistics
Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Systems Engineering (ISST)

Dr. Juergen Schmelting is Head of Department Logistics at the Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Systems Engineering ISST in Dortmund, Germany. The Fraunhofer-Society is Europe´s largest organization for applied research. In collaboration with his team he does research on data-driven innovations for manufacturing and logistics as well as development of digital solutions for industrial customers. Mr. Schmelting studied industrial engineering and management and has completed his doctorate in the interdisciplinary research field management control systems in the manufacturing environment in the transition to digitalization. He has industrial experience in SMEs as well as in globally operating corporations.

Dr Wolfgang Hackenberg SYNAOS Picture (1)

Wolfgang Hackenberg

Dr. Wolfgang Hackenberg is CEO and co-founder of AI and autonomous logistics startup SYNAOS, based in Hanover. Prior to founding the company, he worked for Volkswagen Group for ten years, including as assistant to the Head of Group IT, with responsibility for shopfloor IT across the group and the VW brand. In his most recent position at Volkswagen Group, he was responsible for Industry 4.0 in the Group IT in the context of setting up and managing the Smart.Prodution:Lab, an IT and innovation centre focus on digital solutions for manufacturing and logistics. Dr Hackenberg has degrees in technical business administration from the University of Cologne and Tsinghua University Beijing, and a PhD in engineering from the Technical University of Clausthal.


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Christopher Ludwig, Editor-in-Chief
Ultima Media

Christopher is responsible for editorial production and strategy across Ultima Media’s global automotive media platforms, including Automotive Logistics, Automotive Manufacturing Solutions, Car Design News and its business intelligence unit, Automotive from Ultima Media. He’s covered the automotive industry and supply chain for 15 years and has nearly 20 years’ experience in the media and publishing business. He has an MsC from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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In Partnership

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The Automotive Livestream Hour is produced by Christopher LudwigRichard Logan and Neemish Ladwa. Please contact us if you are interested in participating.

Introducing the Livestream Hour | Automotive INSIGHTS in real time

With the coronavirus pandemic creating the biggest crisis in the history of the automotive industry, it is more important than ever for stakeholders across the supply chain to connect and share experiences and solutions for managing current challenges and preparing to restart the industry post-COVID-19. That is why we are now a hosting a new series of weekly connections and insight, along with special topic focuses on key issues and regions, and our monthly Supply Chain Update. The series will be hosted by Christopher Ludwig, editor-in-chief at Ultima Media.

Register and join us in conversations with industry experts and our editors at Automotive LogisticsAutomotive Manufacturing Solutions and Car Design News.

Upcoming episodes – Register to join and keep up

July 8th: The Livestream Hour Episode 11 – Rebuilding greener supply chains

July 15th: The Livestream Hour Episode 12 – North American vehicle ports

July 22nd: The Livestream Hour Episode 13 – Start-up OEM supply chains

July 23rd: Livestream Hour season finale part 1 – In conversation with Matthias Braun, Head of Digitisation, VW Group Logistics

July 28th: Livestream Hour season finale part 2 – In conversation with Michael Tian, Head of FVL, BMW Brilliance

July 29th: Livestrea Hour season finale part 3 – Update on North America

AUGUST RE-WATCH – Weekly Livestream hours take a pause, but the Festival of Transformation continues with on-demand video interviews, podcasts and digital content, which will be shared across the month

Season 2 kicks off with Automotive Logistics & Supply Chain Connect Virtual Conference – September 15-17th (details to come)

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