Innovation ecosystem pays off for medium-sized companies
BEULCO – a Europe-wide supplier of components, systems and solutions for water supply – is using the innovation ecosystem of the Digital Hub Logistics as pacemaker for its own digital transformation. The medium-sized company implements specific projects with various partners of the innovation ecosystem. Jürgen Christian Schütz, Managing Director of BEULCO, about the digitization strategy of its company – and how his company benefits from the ecosystems of the Digital Hub Logistics.
With its BEULCO 2025 strategy, BEULCO has already been heading towards digitization for several years. The cooperation with the SME Enabling Center “Digital in NRW”, which is part of the Digital Hub Logistics ecosystem and funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, was the first step for our company on the way towards a successful implementation of projects. The company visit was followed by a potential analysis and a design workshop. As part of a six-month transfer project, employees from our company could then lay the foundation for a digital product and manufacturing orientation together with Fraunhofer IML experts.
Together they realized and developed individual measures to optimize the supply and disposal processes and to make intralogistics processes more transparent. By restructuring our intralogistics, the number of transports and picking orders could be increased significantly as a result. Moreover, the use of an automated guided vehicle promises the punctual provision of material, avoidance of waiting times, reduction of throughput times and increase of productivity.
Successful cooperation with science
For BEULCO, this transfer project was the beginning of further cooperation projects. We recognized how much we as a company can benefit from cooperating with science. We were convinced by the innovation approach of the hub’s start-in factory.
For about one year, an independent digital team has been working there on the development of new digital products, services and business models. An innovation coach accompanies the start-in as sparring partner with his or her expertise, advises the team, for example, about using individual innovation components and opens access to the scientific community and both test centers and experimental halls throughout the location.
Currently on the agenda: a system for digitizing the domestic water supply. The aim is to give consumers an overview of their water consumption and make them aware of their conscious use of drinking water as a resource. Currently, it is about finalizing the product in the start-in factory. In this context, BEULCO took part in a workshop of the start-in factory on the topic of “Minimum Viable Products” (MVP) which was specifically organized for the company. Step by step, the product and the associated platform are now being further developed in the innovation ecosystem of the Digital Hub Logistics.
Interplay of agility and digitization
The support provided by the Dortmund innovation ecosystem in logistics helps us to push forward the digital transformation of our traditional company in an impulsive environment. We understood how significant the interplay of agility and digitization is and how information density, speed and high dynamics of transformation have to change not least our innovation culture. As a medium-sized family business in particular, we are specifically obliged to prepare ourselves for these changes – also with respect to the social responsibility towards our employees.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jürgen Christian Schütz is Managing Director of BEULCO GmbH & Co. KG in Attendorn (North-Rhine Westphalia). He is a member of the Wirtschaftssenat des Bundesverbands mittelständischer Wirtschaft (BVMW) Nordrhein-Westfalen (Economic Senate of the German Federal Association of Small and Medium-sized Businesses North-Rhine Westphalia).
ABOUT THE DIGITAL HUB LOGISTICS
In 2019, the Digital Hub Logistics Dortmund won the Champions Challenge of the European Digital Innovation Hubs. You can download the flyer about the award and further information on “One of the world´s leading ecosystems dedicates to logistics” here.