Carmakers continue to radically re-shape their supply chains across greater Europe to reflect both the shift east of production and the prolonged slump in demand for new cars.

In tomorrow’s Europe that is putting faster and more responsive logistics back as a competitive advantage, not just a cheaper way of building and delivering finished vehicles, according to major OEMs and tier suppliers.

"For me the key to efficiency will be…to engineer the complete European network,” said Jörg Blechinger, director of the logistics arm of Magna International Europe, which has 86 production locations across the continent.

How to find value within these re-shaped supply chains, and so unlock competitive advantage, is the theme for the 2014 Automotive Logistics Europe conference. Held from 11-13 March near Bonn, Germany, the conference is the premier forum for carmakers and tier suppliers to meet each other and their logistics service providers.

And this year, it won’t just be about automotive. Speakers include the senior manager for EMEA logistics at Starbucks, Jan Huijgens. He will join a special session that looks for lessons the automotive industry could from sectors such as food, beverage and fashion.

“Logistics in the auto sector is obviously brilliant,” noted conference chairman Louis Yiakoumi, publisher of the Automotive Logistics group. “How could I say otherwise? But I wonder what it can learn from leaders outside the sector.”

From the automotive sector, speakers include: Michael Scholl, supply chain director for Opel/Vauxhall; Andrea Eck, general manager from VW Group Logistics; Bert Bong, from supply chain management at Ford; Patrick Meulders, general manager of supply and distribution at Toyota Europe; and Simon Stacey, head of logistics for Honda Europe.

Helge Wöbke, head of logistics for EMEA and Asia Pacific at TRW will be talking in session dedicated on the inbound supply chain and discussions centred on the ‘high and heavy’ sector will include Kay Biebler of Solaris Bus & Coach and Joannes Van Osta of JCB.

External analysis for delegates on the current and future trends will come from PwC’s Michael Gartside of the consultancy’s Autofacts Centre.

The 2014 conference will again be held at the stylish and spacious Kameha Grand Hotel on the banks of the Rhine, just outside Bonn. It will see more than 300 executives present as carmakers and tier suppliers meet 3PLs, multimodal transport providers, IT companies, and ports and terminal operators, amongst many others.

Read more about this year’s conference here