Thuringia boasts a long tradition and excellent track record in the field of automobile manufacturing. Today, the Free State serves as a central hub for the industry, being within easy logistical reach of all the automobile makers in Germany and throughout Europe. In addition to some major players, it is the flexible medium-sized automotive enterprises that are currently driving growth in this economic sector. By now, their wide-ranging technological expertise and advanced products can be found in practically every vehicle produced worldwide.
In this context, the Thuringian automotive and automotive-supply industry benefits greatly from another one of the region’s well-developed sectors: the logistics sector.
Thuringia’s central location in the heart of Germany and Europe, together with its modern road and rail network, is regarded as a key competitive advantage by the many renowned logistics firms and trading enterprises that have decided to set up operations in the Free State. They are a key factor allowing the Thuringian economy to develop its full potential, given the logistics sector’s unmatched ability to connect raw materials producers with processors, manufacturers with integrators, and suppliers with customers. In fact, precisely customized logistical services have proved to be indispensable for every one of the Thuringian economy’s success stories, whether bys just-in-time/just-in-sequence solutions for the automobile industry; logistical solutions for the storage, handling, and transport of temperature-controlled foodstuffs; and special applications for local high-tech firms active in optics or medical technology.
Key economic data for this field of innovation:
• Turnover: € 6,005,754,000
• Number of operations: 3,394
• Size of the workforce (employees subject to compulsory social insurance contributions): 47,174
Source: TLS (data for 2013)
If they are to continue to benefit from the growth of their industry also going forward, Thuringia’s automotive players will have to come up with strategies enabling them to boost their degree of internationalization, to develop unique selling propositions in terms of innovation, to secure the skilled personnel they need, and to shore up their market position in a time of growing industry consolidation. In this context, the digitalization and networking both of manufacturing processes and administrative tasks offer many opportunities but are also the preconditions for any future survival in the global economy.
Logistics is another one of the sectors currently undergoing change, both within Thuringia and across the globe. E-commerce and online retailing have forced established market players to make radical changes. New business models and alternative mobility concepts are consistently placing high demands upon the entire industry. A heightened appreciation for innovation will be required in order to keep pace with the rapidly changing technologies, customer requirements, and competitive conditions. Here, most opportunities are likely to result from interdisciplinary collaborations, from the integration of complementary technologies and from the innovative components forming part of new kinds of system solutions. Thuringia offers excellent framework conditions in this regard, thanks to the Free State’s heterogeneous and often highly specialized industry landscape, as well as its outstanding transport infrastructure.
To this end, Thuringian automotive enterprises and logistics firms can draw upon the support of active network organizations as well as first-rate institutions of higher learning and research institutes.
Vision and strategic objectives
The vision defined by the Innovation Strategy together with the strategic objectives form the basis on which this particular Working Group operates.
By employing a series of smart solutions for energy-efficient, low-emission transport, Thuringia aims to become a recognized role model and provider of choice when it comes to implementing a sustainable approach for mobility & logistics.
Thuringia’s innovative capacity in mobility & logistics is reflected in the following ways: