What has changed in 20 years of covering the automotive supply chain?

Automotive Logistics does not usually talk about itself. Our mission is to cover global automotive logistics, a $100 billion-plus industry whose centre is not a small media company in London. However, in reflecting on 20 years of automotive logistics ‘the industry’ in this issue, I can note a few similar story arcs for Automotive Logistics ‘the publication’.

Both are business-to-businesses niches, born from a larger parent. The first edition of Automotive Logistics was a supplement to the purchasing and supply industry title, Automotive Sourcing. Over time, Automotive Logistics outgrew and outlived its parent, giving rise not only to more editions – including its own supplement-turned-title, Finished Vehicle Logistics – but conferences and events. Like the supply chain, we have increased our global links within and beyond the US and Europe, with coverage and conferences that touch markets like China, India, Mexico and Brazil. Like automotive logistics the industry, we’ve tried, not always fast enough, to keep up with digitalisation, including online coverage, video streaming of conferences and digital communities via social media and apps.

We’ve felt the sector’s ups and downs, too. Our own history is cleaved in half by the global financial crisis of a decade ago, after which we’ve learned how competitive and efficient one must be to survive in this sector (that goes for media as well as automotive). We’ve witnessed the phenomenal rise of China, getting to know its innovative and open companies even while encountering many that remain inaccessible to outsiders. We’ve expanded our North American coverage and events to include the significant growth and challenges of Mexico, from security issues to trade relations. As a British-based company, we published our own oppositions to Brexit, and now we’re working, along with supply chain managers, to understand what it will all mean.

But while our coverage may have shifted across regions, technology or topics, Automotive Logistics has always been and will always be about the decision makers and partnerships driving this industry. That characterised our first issue and is no different for our special anniversary edition. For all the uncertainty ahead, working together and sharing ideas will remain essential, whether it's trucking, algorithm-based, driverless-transport or virtual reality. For Automotive Logistics, whether print, digitally or in person, in China, Germany or Silicon Valley, we’ll be there however and wherever the industry needs us to be.