SAP logistics boss says ‘robotics and automation are the future’


The head of logistics at software giant SAP says the future of the digital supply chain is robotics and automation. 

SAP is one of the world’s largest software companies in any sector, with more than 300,000 clients in around 190 countries, and its logistics division has customers such as luxury automaker Porsche, and large transport operations such as Trenitalia.

In an interview with, Hans Thalbauer, SVP of extended supply chain and IoT at SAP, says industries are becoming smarter because of these technologies.

However, Thalbauer adds that robotics and automation needs to be effectively integrated into the overall business processes, otherwise they won’t work. 

hans thalbauer sap

Hans Thalbauer, SVP of extended supply chain and IoT, SAP

Thalbauer says: “Robotics and automation are the future of the digital supply chain. One of the things that really sets SAP apart is that we can not only build solutions that take advantage of technologies like robotics and automation, but we have a deep understanding of the overall business processes. One cannot operate successfully without the other.

“Right now we are seeing industries become much smarter, as a result of their utilization of these technologies. We are seeing robots man factory floors and drones deliver packages. We are also seeing the entire process, from demand to delivery, occur automatically.

“With the right people, processes and software in place, these technologies can actually improve the customer experience. Which leads me to one trend we are seeing – use of these technologies to create a more customer-centric experience.

“Another trend we are seeing in terms of robotics and automation is that the technologies are also getting smarter. Robotics for example, have for the most part been pigeon-holed into only completing easy, mundane tasks.

“With the development of deep learning, we are seeing these robots become smarter and able to handle more complex tasks. Furthermore, the whole idea of knowledge sharing between robots is something that could really impact industries.

“At SAP we are creating the framework to make these technologies run smoothly and ensure successful adoption that fits business’ needs.

“We recently launched a jump-starter program for our IoT portfolio Leonardo, that will help our customers take advantage of IoT, enabling them to more easily connect their smart devices with people and processes to improve business outcomes.

“Because it also includes consulting services to help customers understand where to start, we are ensuring that our customers are able to reap the full benefits IoT.”

Full interview at

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