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Green supply chains at thyssenkrupp Materials Services: Saving CO2 with digitization

Green supply chains: Saving CO2 with digitization

The experts from thyssenkrupp Materials Services show how they make supply chains as green and efficient as possible.

Becoming greener. That's the goal thyssenkrupp Materials Services has set for itself and plans to achieve it 20 years earlier than planned.

Already by 2030, the materials trading and supply chain experts want to operate climate neutrally. In addition to their ambition, the materials experts also want to help their customers to become greener. They plan to do so by using modern supply chain management. Supply chains are complex and often consist of a large number of processes. In an efficient supply chain, these processes run like clockwork. In the event of a disruption, consequences can quickly become extensive. The experts at thyssenkrupp Materials Services have told us how to avoid disruptions to make supply chains flexible, efficient, and therefore as green as possible.

Between challenge and new opportunities

The biggest challenge in materials trading is making the correct material available in the right quantity at the right time and in the right place. If there is a problem at one point in the supply chain, it affects all subsequent processes. The result: the chain comes to a halt, leading to material bottlenecks, overstocks, or even empty truck runs. Here lies a great saving potential, because a flexible supply chain can drastically reduce C02 emissions.

Green supply chains at thyssenkrupp Materials Services: Saving CO2 with digitization

Digital and transparent data processing can be crucial in designing efficient supply chains

To create an efficient and flexible supply chain, the Materials Services team must act with foresight. Digitalization and transparent data handling make this possible. "In practice, this means that our experts look at different factors, for example, the weather or traffic jams. However, they also look at changes in demand or supply availability, and see whether we can shorten transport routes or the length of time spent in warehouses," explains Ilse Henne, CTO thyssenkrupp Materials Services. "And we do this before problems arise in the first place." The result is the "data replaces tons" approach, which means an efficiently designed use of goods, the avoidance of material waste as well as empty runs. Thus, creating a supply chain that is sustainable, flexible, and customer-oriented

Green supply chains at thyssenkrupp Materials Services: Saving CO2 with digitization

In addition to specific tools and software solutions, companies need a strong will to make green supply chains possible.

Digitization in practice

But what do terms like digitization or data transparency mean in this context? "We want to digitize the supply chains in places and work with data where it really makes sense - for us and for our customers," explains Henne. To achieve this, the experts are working on two fronts:

  1. Internal processes: "In order to digitize our internal processes, we first have to develop binding standards and establish the automation of processes in the long term," says Ilse Henne. This process requires not only specific technological solutions and tools, but also the unconditional will to change.

  2. Connecting with customers: "In the digitization of interfaces, our data is linked with data from customers and data from third parties. This creates a new intelligence that optimizes supply chain performance," Henne explains. Such links allow potential problems to be identified early, solutions to be found and initiated before a problem arises, and processes are disrupted.


Ilse Henne, CTO thyssenkrupp Materials Services, knows how important digitalization is for an efficient and green supply chain

"Pacemaker" demonstrates what this can look like in practice. In the automotive industry, the AI solution from thyssenkrupp Materials Services helps to avoid incorrect deliveries. It reduces inventory and storage costs as well as the number of transports. Smoothly running supply chains are therefore not only advantageous because they are cost-efficient. They are also better for the environment precisely because of their flexibility. "Less material waste and lower emissions are our biggest levers for becoming greener and meeting our environmental responsibilities," explains Ilse Henne, CTO thyssenkrupp Materials Services. Moreover, there's another advantage: Because materials can be made available in the correct quantity and at the right time in the right place, digitally managed supply chains are highly customer-focused.