SOFiA - Smart Objects and Smart Finance Approaches

Planning and Regulation of Value-Adding Networks by Integrating Smart Objects and Smart Finance Approaches (SOFiA)

Within a value-adding network a delay in the planning process of a sea freight shipment occurs. The sea freight container will not be able to reach the planned vessel. This leads to a short-term replanning, rebooking and payment. This scenario describes the classical and time-consuming day-to-day routine in the logistic and supply chain control. With the help of innovative smart objects and smart finance technologies, the container becomes the dispatcher itself. The container recognizes delays, analyzes handling alternatives and chooses the best transport route. Subsequently the container commissions a carrier (logistics service provider) and processes the payment via mobile business-to-business (B2B) payment technologies in real time. The logistical objects are equipped with all logistical and financial information in order to enable a fully autonomous decentralized decision and processing. Besides this transport application, the SOFiA project also includes the fleet management of machines for harvest, transport and storage of agricultural raw material. 

Within the scope of the research project SOFiA, relevant new Industry 4.0 based management approaches for the self-control and self-organization of logistic, production and the respective tasks for payment processing and Supply Chain Finance are addressed. The research project is part of the funding initiative “Service Innovation through Digitalization” of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Goal of this project is to improve process handling in complex production and logistic networks by integrating Smart Objects and digital B2B Smart Finance Approaches.

The project started in November 2015 and has an overall duration of three years. The project consortium comprises the agricultural machinery manufacturer CLAAS E-Systems KGaA mbH & Co KG, the logistics service provider Ekol Logistik GmbH, the provider for IT solutions and services for banks and trading companies Wincor Nixdorf International GmbH as well as the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics.

The following sub-projects of the individual consortium partners are aligned with the project goal:

  • Development of management procedures for Industry 4.0 based on decision-making methods for intelligent logistic objects for the autonomous and financial control in complex value-adding networks (Fraunhofer IML)
  • Intelligent machine fleet control with the aid of autonomous logistic objects from the point of view of a producer (CLAAS)
  • Intelligent logistics management with the aid of autonomous logistic objects from the point of view of a transport service provider (Ekol)
  • Innovative decentralized B2B payment methods for autonomously operating logistics units in value-adding networks (Wincor Nixdorf)

On the part of the consortium leader Fraunhofer IML the project is lead by Prof. Dr. Michael Henke (Institute Management Fraunhofer IML) and the heads of department Marco Motta (Supply Chain Engineering) and Axel T. Schulte (Procurement & Finance in SCM).

Partner

  • CLAAS E-Systems KGaA mbH & Co KG
  • Ekol Logistik GmbH
  • Wincor Nixdorf International GmbH