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Friday, March 24, 2023

Logistics Hall of Fame

The founders of the postal system paved the way for a new era of communication, the inventors of barcode and conveyor belt revolutionized industry, and the pioneers of parcel and express logistics laid the foundation for globalization and eCommerce.

The motto for the 2016 voting period for the Logistics Hall of Fame was “Historic Milestones of Logistics,” and in total, 13 big names from the field of transport, intralogistics, information technology and insurance will be welcomed to the pantheon of the world’s most famous logisticians this year.

“The new members complete the timeline of milestone achievements in logistics and illustrate how logistics has made life better and safer over the course of time,” said Anita Würmser, executive jury chairperson of the Logistics Hall of Fame.

The first logistics milestone goes back to the year 1490 and is well known, too. The new inductees include Franz von Taxis (1459-1517) and his nephew Johann Baptista von Taxis (1470-1541). At the end of the 15th century, they created the first cross-border communication system, laying the foundation for the international postal system and the rise of the Thurn und Taxis family.

Henry Ford (1863-1947), founder of the Ford Motor Co., and Ransom Eli Olds (1864-1950), founder of Oldsmobile, will soon take their place among the ranks of the world’s most famous logisticians for the invention of conveyor belt production. In 1903, Olds developed a simple form of “flow production,” the so-called “progressive assembly line” for the Oldsmobile. Ten years later, Henry Ford introduced a system of automated conveyor belt production known as the “moving assembly line.” It then took just 93 minutes to build a “Model T,” and the car suddenly became affordable.

U.S. entrepreneur James E. Casey (1888-1983) is joining the logistics pantheon as the inventor of parcel services. He founded the “American Messenger Co.,” later to become “United Parcel Service,” UPS for short, in Seattle in 1907 with a start-up capital of $100.

U.S. Americans Norman Joseph Woodland (1921-2012), George Laurer (born 1925) and Bernard Silver (1925-1963) are being honored for the invention of the barcode. It was Woodland who originally had the idea for this kind of striped marking to label products. Together with Silver, he developed the predecessor technology of the barcode in 1949, which became a success when retailers and manufacturers in the United States agreed on the Universal Product Code designed by IBM engineer George Laurer. On June 26, 1974, a checkout assistant scanned the first product bearing this barcode at a supermarket checkout in Ohio. It was a ten-pack of chewing gum. The barcode has revolutionized logistics, and automatic shipment tracking, modern warehousing practices and many other logistics innovations would have been unthinkable without it.

Freight forwarder and IRU President Lothar Raucamp (1905-1985) is being honored as one of the most important advocates of the cooperative idea in logistics. When he set up Kravag in 1950 as a mutual insurance association, he secured the future of thousands of transport companies.

Gerhard Schäfer (1924-2015) is the only intralogistics expert to join the ranks of the world’s most famous logisticians. The market launch and series production of the stackable “storage fix-box” developed jointly by the Schäfer brothers under the lead management of Gerhard Schäfer in 1953 is considered a milestone of intralogistics. The stackable boxes with a viewing hole at the front marked the beginning of modern storage container logistics and laid the foundation for the success story of the SSI Schäfer company.

Entrepreneur Horst Mosolf (1928-2015) will join the ranks of the pantheon members as a pioneer of vehicle logistics and inventor of specialized automotive transport. He was already setting new benchmarks in specialized automobile transports back in the 1950s and revolutionized the transport industry in this segment. Among other things, he commissioned the construction of the first double-decker wagon in 1959.

There is also a place in the logistics pantheon for Frederick W. Smith (born 1944), founder and CEO of FedEx. He is considered the inventor of express services and of the goods hub in the field of air transport. According to an oft-repeated anecdote, he only founded the company in 1971 so that he could prove to his professors that it really was possible to reach any location in the world within the space of 24 hours.

Peer Witten (born 1945) is being accepted into the logistics pantheon as a pioneer of Internet trading and modern logistics. As logistics director at the Otto Group, he not only built Hermes into a successful parcel distribution organization from the mid-1980s onwards but also initiated a whole series of innovations that set the trend in the market and subsequently served as a benchmark for Internet trading. Alongside the early introduction of virtual information and service platforms as well as environmental management systems in warehousing, these innovations above all included new delivery services, such as delivery on all workdays, 24-hour delivery service or freely selectable time windows.

The official induction ceremony takes place during a gala dinner at the Federal Transport Ministry November 29 in Berlin, Germany.

The aim of the Logistics Hall of Fame is to document key milestones in logistics and honor the people behind them, in order to underline the performance capability of logistics and to improve the image of logistics. The Hall can be accessed free of charge at any time at www.logisticshalloffame.net and features information and photos on logistics milestones and the people behind them.