SHD caught up with Rebecca Shedden, Continental’s general sales manager for Specialty Products, who are sponsors of the Innovation award category for this year's The Logistics Awards. She discusses how Continental is driving change within the industry.
In a world where nothing stands still, where business momentum is constantly pushing us all forward, the rate and pace of innovation and change is staggering. Traditional tyre products are being challenged to deliver more on a daily basis, through gains in efficiency and cost reduction, but technology is the frontier that is driving the most change. Real-time information that keeps a fleet working at its optimal level is key to delivering fully integrated solutions and with the range of solutions exponentially expanding, technologies that complement a variety of platform solutions are at the front of the charge for change.
Continental Tyres general sales manager Rebecca Shedden shares Continental’s thoughts of the pace of change within the logistics industry driven by innovation, and her company’s place in the market in creating innovative products and solutions for its loyal customer base.
SHD Logistics (SHD): The Logistics Awards is delighted that Continental Tyres is once again Innovation sponsor. What is Continental’s opinion of the rate of innovation in the logistics industry?
Rebecca Shedden (RS): The logistics industry never stops, the rate of change is what makes this sector so exciting. Every business is under pressure to deliver more from less and do it more quickly and this is driving the need for and the speed of innovation. So, key suppliers are looking at more holistic solutions that ensure both the service and product offer are aligned to deliver an integrated customer solution. Continental are at the heart of this, so it’s a great time to be involved.
SHD: Today’s warehouses are becoming more automated than ever. AGVs and semi-automated forklifts have become more and more capable as well as reliable. Does Continental look at the level of automation taking place in a positive light?
RS: In a word, yes. As a business Continental are at the forefront of all types of vehicle safety systems, including semi-automation. We are the world’s third largest automotive supplier so this is a sweet spot for us. Our understanding of electric forklifts has spread throughout the business. We anticipate that approximately 20% of warehouse solutions will be automated in the next five years with the pace of change accelerating as we go. These changes are putting a much greater focus and demand on tyres as forklifts will need to do more work, lift heavier loads, go further at higher speeds and do all this in less time. This will drive demand of premium tyres as they can cope best with these extra challenges.
Tyres will have to be more durable, resistant to heat and last longer, they will have to deliver lower rolling resistance for greater energy efficiency especially with electric solutions. Even though there are no operators, there is no reduction in the comfort levels required as loads must be protected – vibration reduction is critical. These types of demands may sometimes conflict but it will be the tyres with the best overall balance that will prosper.
SHD: Tell me how you feel the pace of innovation you are seeing can help logistics operations in the future?
RS: The pace of change will be driven by consumer demand and this puts added pressure on the whole supply chain. Pressure to deliver more for less increases the level of co-operation between customers’ and key suppliers’ as arm’s length solutions do not solve a customer’s problems fully. Continental has years of expertise to bring to any collaboration. Collaboration of this type also applies to us as we are running a series of joint ventures to help us integrate sensor technology into solid tyres so we can more closely match our exciting monitoring solutions on pneumatic tyres. Our collaborations with our downstream suppliers help us deliver more effective solutions with our customers.
You can read the full interview with Continental Tyres' Rebecca Shedden in our SHD July issue.
The Logistics Awards is an annual celebration of excellence in the logistics and supply chain sectors. In association with SHD Logistics magazine, the awards recognise the most impressive achievements throughout the industry over the last 12 months.
This year's event will take place at The Swan, Shakespeare’s Globe, in London on Thursday 20th September 2018.