A Driving Force for Production: Logistics and Factories of the Future

Željko Pazin, EFFRA

Logistics proves more and more to be the driving force for production – particularly in the context of Industry 4.0. For many years, Fraunhofer IML has represented efficiency, quality and sustainable system designing in logistics and thus contributed a lot to the new picture of this industry. Finally, the „European Factories of the Future Research Association“ (EFFRA) takes that trend into account. Željko Pazin, Executive Director of EFFRA, sends in his article the message to the logistics community that logistics has a key place in the strategic priorities of the ‘Factories of the Future’ partnership.


In Europe manufacturing is undergoing a transformation towards a whole new concept of industry, frequently referred to as industry 4.0, and logistics is increasingly proving to be a driving force for production within this concept. For the European Factories of the Future Research Association (EFFRA), logistics plays an increasingly important role in its strategic priorities for the ‘Factories of the Future’ research and innovation partnership. This is particularly the case in our current ‘Factories 4.0 and Beyond’ working strategy document. EFFRA has prepared, after a broad consultation with stakeholders, this document to present the EU with updated priorities for the ‘Factories of the Future’ partnership, for the second half of the Horizon 2020 Programme.


The “agile value networks“-priority stands for the design, manufacture and delivery of innovative products with a high degree of personalisation. Under this priority we argue that further research and innovation is needed to ensure that novel and robust manufacturing processes can efficiently support the production on a large scale of novel products for a wide range of applications. In particular, we place a focus on the digitisation of supply chain – a field of research that Fraunhofer IML is very active in and where it already launched important initiatives at national level. The “sustainable value networks“ priority concerns the optimisation of performance and resource consumption at machine level and at the factory and supply chain level. For EFFRA, it is clear that simulation and modelling methods and tools that consider resource consumption and emissions will have an impact both in the design and operational phase of manufacturing systems. Our prioritisation of these issues as well as our overall outlook as presented in our ‘Factories of the Future 2020’ strategic agenda, make it clear that logistics is a driving force for the ”Factories 4.0“ to be realised through the ‘Factories of the Future’ programme.


Our priorities mean that the ‘Factories of the Future’ programme offers great potential for logistics through research and innovation. By engaging in the ‘Factories of the Future’ programme and EFFRA’s manufacturing research and innovation network, the logistics community can contribute its points of view even more specifically to our industry-centred research programme while also building on previous successful research and contributing to the realisation of plans for a networked industry at European level. For many years, the Fraunhofer IML has contributed, with its active participation and membership in EFFRA, to this new concept by representing efficiency, quality and sustainable system design in logistics.



Željko Pazin is Executive Director of EFFRA (the European Factories of the Future Research Association). He oversees the EFFRA office and is responsible for the daily management of the association, which entered into a partnership with the European Commission in the framework of the H2020 ‘Factories of the Future’ public-private partnership programme. EFFRA represents the “private” part of this partnership.



The Brussels’ based association EFFRA, is the largest association for production research in Europe with 171 members from across Europe. EFFRA acts as the voice of the European production research and innovation network within the EU’s €1.15 billion ‘Factories of the Future’ research and innovation programme. EFFRA identifies research and innovation priorities and helps to define the annual calls for tenders for funding for current application-oriented research topics and implements specific projects.


The ‘Factories of the Future’ programme aims at helping EU manufacturing enterprises, in particular SMEs, to adapt to global competitive pressures by developing the necessary key enabling technologies across a broad range of sectors. It will help European industry to meet increasing global consumer demand for greener, more customised and higher quality products through the necessary transition to a demand-driven industry with less waste and a better use of resources. Fraunhofer IML is a member of EFFRA.