The Customer's Benefit
For our innovations, every single idea is important but not every idea will become an innovation. When is an innovation successful? As soon as you can recognise the customer's benefit. Innovation+ is the TGW recipe for success that leads our customers to success with sustainable innovations. The plus represents the added value for the customer, a plus in trust, partnership and innovative capacity.
Expressed as a formula, Innovation+ would look like the following formula for success:
Innovation + added value for the customer = top quality for long-term relationships and sustainable success of our customers
As simple as this may sound, as big is its significance. Trust is the basis for a long-term partnership. However, trust has to be earned and for TGW this means that we cannot pursue every technology hype only because it is brand new but it means that we have to think like our customers and question possible applications and consider the added value.
The specific requirements of our customers determine the design of the logistics system and on the other hand they give us the opportunity to question new technologies and their applications for the customers. "We at TGW stand for solid, high-quality logistics solutions and for supporting our customers throughout a lifetime. We earn the trust of our customers with our daily effort and our plus in innovations. That is why we do not respond to all the latest hypes like our competitors," explains Markus Winkler, Head of Advanced Technology Development at TGW Logistics Group.
Augmented reality for the future
One of the latest innovations at TGW was introduced last year in the Lifetime Services (LTS) area: "We use the smart glasses as 'hands-free' tools for video communication between our hotline experts in the headquarter and the TGW service technicians or the customer's employees on site. Efficient communication and finding a solution quickly are clearly added value for the user. We recognised the potential for our customers some time ago and started a suitable pilot project. It was especially important to not reinvent the wheel but to find an experienced partner that meets TGW's requirements in order to complement a proven software solution and together give it the final touch. This is how we were able to secure an acceptable time to market and the flawless functioning of the sites for our customers. And what is most important: our customers are excited!", says Christoph Knogler, Director Global Lifetime Services.
Robotics as active development
When the company was expanded by TGW Robotics in Stephanskirchen, Germany, in July 2016, everyone could see that robots found their way into TGW systems. Robots and their possible use within the intralogistics industry had been a topic long before TGW Robotics became part of TGW. Industrial robots have been widely used in production industries for decades, for example with the assembly line technique. Robots are already on the spot in the intralogistics industry in some areas: "Mostly robots are used in goods receiving areas for depalletising or in the shipping areas for palletising goods in order to fully automatically load and unload load carriers," says Markus Winkler. For him the development of highly flexible systems with industrial robots with innovative gripper systems are the result of the increasing customers' requirements.
In the last few years, the area of "cognitive robotics" has also developed in parallel to the industrial robotics. The focus of cognitive robotics is to look, identify, decide and react. These abilities enable the robot to identify single items in a tote, to decide what items have to be picked and to directly grab them and take them out of the tote. "For humans these tasks seem so simple but for a machine it is very hard to use the required abilities as it has only limited access to eyes, brains and hands. However, in the areas of sensor technology (keyword: camera systems) and data processing there have been major developments in the last five to ten years. Thus, it is possible to use the first applications in picking processes already today."
The result = success for us and our customers
Across the entire TGW world our colleagues deal with the topics innovation and robotics. Markus Winkler is convinced: "Our colleagues with their different types of expert knowledge complement one another. Many years of experience from Stephanskirchen and their awareness of how crucial availability and flawlessness of robots are for the systems of our customers together with the complementing technologies of the area of cognitive robotics will set new benchmarks in the future." From his point of view, technologies have to be concrete in order to make them usable for the customers and to convince them of the added value. "At TGW we don't deal with 'nice gadgets'. We are working on agile developments that provide long-term quality. This is written in TGW's DNA and we are proud of it. Because only if we are aware of the responsibility we assume for our customers, or in other words the responsibility that our customers transfer to us, we will stay successful in the long run. It is about the result of an obvious calculation with this important plus, the added value at the end. Innovation+."