Company Base Data
Company Name: Logistikbude GmbH
No. of Employees: 9
Headquarter: Dortmund, Germany
Funding: 1 M EUR in public funding
Operating Markets: Europe with focus und D-A-CH
Founders: Patrik Elfert (CTO), Jan Möller (CTO), Michael Koscharnyj (COO), Dr. Philipp Wrycza (CEO)
Reference Customers: DB Schenker, Siemens, FEGA & Schmitt, RECARO
E-Mail Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
No. of Employees
Coming from the high performing German automotive market, we are constantly expanding our markets also internationally
Dr. Wolfgang Hackenberg (CEO)
Dr. Lennart Bochmann (CPO)
Tobias Gagern (CTO)
Today, we have the opportunity to interview Dr. Philipp Wrycza, CEO and co-founder of Logistikbude.
Philipp, can you give us a brief description of Logistikbude?
We are a software company specialized in the management of returnable objects such as pallets, containers and racks. Thereby we strongly focus on independence – both of technologies and types of reusable objects – and offer the software immediately usable as a standard product. Our goal is to be able to manage all reusable objects of a company in one solution and to automate the associated processes as far as possible.
When and how was Logistikbude born?
We are four founders and all come from the Fraunhofer IML in Dortmund, the world’s largest research institute for logistics. There, we have been advising companies for many years on the management of returnables and have tried to bring technologies such as RFID, IoT or image processing into the companies. However, we always had the challenge that software in the area of returnables was often outdated and always developed individually for a company. On the one hand, this meant that new technologies could not be used, or could only be used with a lot of development effort, and that there were media breaks in communication with partners such as carriers, suppliers and customers. We are now doing this differently by offering a scalable standard product that can be used out of the box.
Can you tell us a bit more about your backgrounds as founders?
Our team of four founders consists of two business and two technical founders. Through our backgrounds, we understand the processes in the companies on the one hand and on the other hand we master the necessary technologies such as cloud, app, IoT and AI. On the technical side, Patrik and Jan are software developers and have known each other since their school days. Patrik is responsible for all frontend topics, especially the web application and the mobile app. Jan is responsible for the backend topics, i.e. cloud architecture and interfaces. On the business side, Michael, who studied industrial engineering and business administration, is responsible for customer onboarding to ensure a clean and fast implementation of the software. He is also responsible for controlling in our company. And finally, I, Philipp, take care of marketing and sales as well as the strategy. My logistics degree and my management experience at Fraunhofer help me in this.
Introduce us a bit to the problem maybe: what’s the pain your customers face?
Reusable objects are found in almost every company and range from standard load carriers, e.g. pallets and boxes, to company-specific load carriers, e.g. racks for components or refrigerated boxes in the pharmaceutical sector. All in all, we are talking about more than 5 billion assets only in Europe. Every company that uses such assets has to take care of the management itself and this leads on the one hand to personnel costs for documentation, data entry into system and the very time-consuming coordination with customers, forwarders and suppliers. On the other hand, capital commitment costs arise from inventories at the company’s own sites and at partners’ sites, as well as costs for the subsequent purchase of shrinkage. In addition to the monetary aspects, the status quo is also not good for the environment, as around 20% of the assets have to be produced anew every year and empties are transported long distances, as each company only manages them in an optimized manner for itself.
And what sets your approach of solving that appart from others?
We are the only solution that is both completely independent and so standardized that it can be used by many companies. Independent means that all types of reusable objects are mapped with us in one solution. In addition, we are independent of technologies, since bring all technologies that are relevant for reusables in one solution: quantity booking, tracking with barcodes or RFID, and various IoT technologies. Standardized means that our solution is not developed individually for each company in a bigger project. Instead, all our customers use the same product and select the functions that are relevant to them. This standard approach allows us to easily link our different customers among each other and enable cross-company communication. In addition, we prepare this disparate data in real time and automate all later processes. For example, our algorithms ensure that our customers do not have to touch the data again after it has been generated. As a result, we automate the reconciliation processes between companies, which eliminates the majority of today’s manual activity. In addition, automatically sent return requests speed up cycle times which results in less needed assets.
What are your target customers at Logistikbude? Who would benefit most from a solution like yours?
With our solution, we primarily address production and logistics companies that use reusable objects. Of these companies, medium to large companies are relevant for us, since small companies can still manage reusable objects adequately with home tools such as Excel. Small and medium-sized forwarders are an exception to this, as even companies of this size already have hundreds of exchange accounts with partners. In addition to the two core customer groups, we also have customers in the retail sector and providers of new reusable concepts, such as dishes and cups for B2C. Our customers include corporates such as DB Schenker, large companies such as RECARO or FEGA & Schmitt, as well as SMEs such as the Stahlwerk Unna or the freight forwarding company Brähler.
Can you quickly walk us through a typical onboarding process? What is needed from the customer’s side in order to start with Logstikbude?
Let’s start with the first contact: Usually, our new leads come into contact with our software through our existing customers, either by being connected via the web link for reconciliation, or by our product being recommended to them. The nice thing about reusables is that companies are used to talk about it. We then go through the customer’s use case in detail in a video call and then demonstrate our software on this use case. For the contract, the customer can choose whether to start directly with a subscription or to be accompanied for 1-3 months during the implementation. In the first case, the customer receives a short introduction and can then use the software directly, since all functions are explained in the software and are intuitive to use. In the second case, we bring customer data such as locations, partner companies, load carrier types, existing serial numbers, etc. in the system and help them to set up the right processes.
Can you walk us through a typical onboarding process with a customer? What are the key requirements on the customer side to install one of your products?
The celluveyor communicates seamlessly with the surrounding conveyor technology via standard interfaces. The omnidirectional wheels are controlled by our own software via an industrial PC. Therefore, there are no communication difficulties. Celluveyors are delivered in such a way that they can be set up and integrated in a very short time.
The quickest way to get a celluveyor solution is to send an e-mail to email@example.com describing your challenge, and within a very short time a member of the sales team will get back to you and select the right solution for the process from our applications. If you are generally interested, we are also happy to provide product training so that you can be prepared for future challenges.
What’s on Logistibude’s roadmap for the next two years? Which new features or steps of the company can we expect?
Our goal is always to automate the management of returnables for our customers as much as possible. We will therefore digitize further processes such as ordering empties, digitally settling debts instead of transporting empties, and creating delivery bills. This will make it possible to digitize even more manual processes related to returnable packaging and carry them out fully automatically based on the data. In addition, we are currently working on brokering returnable objects via our platform. This means that our customers will automatically receive supplies without having to take care of procurement themselves. For this purpose, we are currently establishing cooperation with reusable manufacturers and retailers.
If we even go one step further, what would you say is your long-term vision for Logistikbude and how are you going to achieve it?
Currently, each company has to take care of the management of returnables itself or engage a pooling service provider to do it for them. This always results in 1-to-1 relationships between companies, the so-called exchange accounts. There are usually several hundred of these accounts per company, which have to be maintained manually and reconciled at the end of the month. In our eyes, this makes no sense, since the load carriers themselves are totally standardized and the relevant data are already available today, e.g. on delivery bills. In the long term, we therefore want to create a fully automated system in which no one has to actively manage returnables. You can best imagine this as a bank that books a digital credit in the other direction for a physical transport.
What’s your view on the market for reusable load carriers in general? Do you believe that further regulation will drive the demand for reusables in the near future and is there an overall trend that you’re profiting from?
We definitely see a trend towards more reusable packaging and the willingness of legislators to accelerate this through regulation. For example, every restaurant already has to offer a reusable option as an alternative to disposable packaging. And in B2B, the EU is currently working on an order that, first, B2B transports may only use reusable packaging and, second, companies must keep track of where their objects are located and where shrinkage occurs. In addition, the shortage of skilled workers in logistics continues to increase and companies can no longer afford to employ staff to manually enter data into systems and reconcile bookings by phone or mail. We are also seeing a shortage of resources because of environmental change and the global political situation. As a result, prices for reusable objects fluctuate much more than they did a few years ago (in some cases by more than 2x within a year) and shortages often occur. All this plays into our hands, indicating that more and more companies will have to deal with this issue in the future.
The last words are yours: Is there’s any other topic you would like to touch on and share your experience and opinions?
I would like to mention one more point that is very important to us as: UX design. We observe that in Europe, and especially in Germany, software is viewed by companies through eyes of engineers. This means that in the selection process we assess what it costs and then check individual functions at a high level: App? Yes. Creation of users: Yes. The user who will have to work with it later is often forgotten. In North America and Asia, on the other hand, they tend to look at it as designers. It matters how quickly people understand a software product and how they feel about using it. We know this view very well from B2C: Every one of us deletes an app after less than a minute if he or she doesn’t understand how it works and what it does. That’s why it’s very important to us that this thinking is also applied to the world of B2B software, and that companies first test software in practice and gather feedback from users before they decide to implement it on a broad scale. Only in this way will you get the best possible solution, regardless of whether you do it with our product or another.
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