Thunderous applause at the Tipi am Kanzleramt in Berlin: on Wednesday evening, Cube Storage pioneers Jakob Hatteland and Ingvar Hognaland were inducted into the logistics hall of fame on Europe’s largest stationary tent stage. More than 200 international guests from business, science, non-governmental organisations and politics paid tribute to the achievements of the Norwegians, who founded AutoStore in 1996.
According to the jury, the two Scandinavians can claim to have reinvented and commercialised warehousing with the AutoStore system. The underlying principle of cube storage automation is one of the most important inventions in modern logistics. “Today, AutoStore has become synonymous with a space-saving, easily scalable small parts warehouse in almost all industries,” emphasised Oliver Luksic, Federal Government Coordinator for Freight Transport and Logistics, in his laudatory speech.
The technical director of Jakob Hatteland Electronics AS, Ingvar Hognaland, came up with the idea of space-saving cube storage automation in the 1990s. The automated storage system based on the cube principle, which later became known worldwide under the product name AutoStore, enabled unprecedented efficiency in warehouse logistics when it was launched in 2004: compared to conventional systems, 75 per cent of the volume can be saved. It is also easily scalable, energy-efficient and enables high system availability. Today, more than 1,250 AutoStore systems are in use in more than 900 companies in 50 countries worldwide. After Hatteland and Hognaland successfully sold AutoStore to an investor, the company was valued at more than 1.5 billion euros before being sold to a second investor in 2019. It was Norway’s first unicorn.
The decision to induct the two Norwegians into the Logistics Hall of Fame was made in the summer by a jury of 70 well-known personalities from business, science, politics and the media from 13 nations.
Logistics Leader of the Year
There was loud applause not only for the two Scandinavians, but also for two Swabians: Axel Frey and Harry Seifert from the Seifert Logistics Group in Ulm were honoured as Logistics Leader of the Year 2023. “Axel Frey and Harry Seifert have driven forward a remarkable strategic transformation of the medium-sized logistics service provider under the motto ‘Full throttle towards the future’, which is visible in countless large and small details, but has become even more of a beacon for medium-sized logistics. It is a transformation that focuses on employees, digitalisation and sustainable growth,” said Frank Müller, Senior Vice President Sales & Service Business Development at Still and representative of the award sponsor Still GmbH.
Harry Seifert is Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Seifert Logistics Group. In more than four decades at the helm of the company, he has made it one of the top 100 logistics service providers in Germany. Axel Frey, a member of the Management Board since 2019 and CEO since 2022, manages the company’s operational business. Together, they have reorganised the service provider in recent years. The Swabian management duo caused a stir in the logistics sector, particularly with their “employees first” philosophy. The latest company figures bear witness to the success of the transformation: between 2021 and 2023, the number of employees rose by 1,500 to more than 4,000 and turnover will reach a record 330 million euros in 2023.
Humanitarian Logistics Honored
The Lynn C. Fritz Medal for Excellence in Humanitarian Logistics was also awarded for the first time at the gala reception: The medal, donated by the Californian Fritz Institute, was given to the US aid organisation International Medical Corps to take home to Los Angeles. With its self-developed “Pharmaceutical Information Management System” (PIMS) software, the organisation has achieved a revolution in the management of the last mile in the pharmaceutical supply chain. Everyone benefits “from the use of IT, which saves a great deal of time and brings deep transparency to the supply chain in disaster areas: humanitarian organisations, pharmacies, governments and, above all, patients,” emphasised Lynn C. Fritz, CEO of the Fritz Institute, in his laudatory speech. The system is successfully in use at 165 locations in 16 countries. Since October 2019, around 1.7 million prescriptions have been processed in the software and around three million items have been distributed to people in need.
The Lynn C. Fritz Medal for Excellence in Humanitarian Logistics is awarded annually to humanitarian organisations and their partners for outstanding logistics projects. The international prize is awarded by the Logistics Hall of Fame. It is sponsored by the Fritz Institute in the USA.
Source: Logistics Hall of Fame/Sebastian Semmer