Trade and industry consider logistics as a cost factor and as a factor of competitiveness at the same time. Development of technology with growing trend for outsourcing has benefitted a lot to this new sector. This way the market for logistic services has developed from classical transport— transshipment—warehousing services towards a growing market of more individual services which are offered by specialized logistics service providers. There is also a trend this services become more complex increasingly. One of the reasons for this is the development in the e-commerce system. In many countries like Germany, USA, India etc…, purchases over the internet result in more than 100 million additional packages per year. Each of these packages is ordered individually and on demand, picked, packed, transported, distributed and delivered with utmost quality. At the same time, the number of items increases exponentially.
This means that customers of logistic service providers today require individualized logistic services with:
• a flexible and broad service spectrum,
• individual processes and value-added services,
• transparency of costs and performance,
• short-term contracts.
These requirements increase the following problems, evident for many logistic service providers:
• It usually lacks sufficient investment funds (or the willingness to invest) for the expansion of IT.
• Often it lacks IT expertise and availability of human capacity to operate the necessary IT infrastructure adequately.
• The development of new IT components and their integration into the existing IT landscape is time-consuming.
Many logistics companies neither have adequate IT skills and capabilities, nor the capital needed to close the gap between requirements and the status quo in the logistics IT. In addition, there is growing pressure on the logistics sector through legislative changes. Moreover, street charges and the need for electronic customs clearance imply the use of new IT services, e. g. for control of driving and rest times. The same applies to the introduction of tracking and tracing for continuous condition monitoring of goods. Cloud computing is a very interesting technology to face the customization challenges.