IAA Voices Conference Special: Interview PTV Group
As CEO of the PTV Group, Christian U. Haas initiated and promoted the further development of the company from a traditional software provider to a SaaS company based on artificial intelligence applications.
Imagine you are in a time machine and on your way "back to the future". In which year would you like to get off and why?
It would be particularly interesting to travel back to the years when countries and governments made groundbreaking decisions regarding road networks, urban planning and the design of city centres. In Germany, that would be the period after the Second World War. The decisions of the governments at that time had a decisive influence on the development of infrastructure, nationwide but especially in inner cities, and laid the foundation for our current traffic situation and transport network. Knowing what we know today, you probably wouldn't implement the car-friendly city concept the same way.
If you had one superpower that would help you professionally, what would it be?
I'll stick to the topic of time travel here. In view of the immense challenges that humanity has to overcome in terms of climate change, jumping into the future would be exciting. We could see which approaches and measures will prove successful and where our current thinking errors lie.
What trend are you currently following with great interest professionally?
In the field of logistics, digitalisation continues to be the trend topic that I deal with a lot professionally. The industry is under massive pressure. Not only because of rising transport costs, high fuel prices and a growing shortage of drivers. Today, customers expect transparency, precise forecasts and fast response times. The digital transformation is a cause, solution and opportunity in equal measure. However, many logistics and transport companies are still at the very beginning. According to our Logistics Trend Report, a survey of more than 500 professionals, almost four out of five respondents see digitalisation as a major or moderately difficult task. Only 12 percent say that the transformation process in their company is already complete.
For us at PTV Group, it is important to be in good communication with our customers and to adapt our solutions to their needs in the best possible way. That is why we recently acquired Axylog, a leading provider of transport monitoring, in order to expand our portfolio in this regard. Today, transparency and dynamic communication are key elements to ensure high quality service.
What is/was the biggest game changer for you in the logistics or transport industry over the past ten years?
The corona pandemic was certainly the big gamechanger in recent years. Supply chains and flows of goods as we had known them until then suddenly no longer functioned. The industry was faced with completely new challenges. Many processes had to be restructured and rethought within a very short time. In many areas there are still problems today.
The crisis has made it more than clear how important rapid digitalisation is. Transport and logistics will also have to be able to react agilely and flexibly to new situations and trends in the future. The intelligent use of data provides the basis for being able to guarantee a reliably functioning supply chain under difficult conditions - from data transmission in real time, to the optimal use of available vehicle and personnel capacities, to changed framework conditions at short notice.
Which innovation do you currently see internationally as a blueprint on the path to climate neutrality?
Autonomous driving certainly has great potential on the way to more sustainable logistics. And not only with regard to deliveries with robots on the last mile, but also with regard to platooning, i.e. convoying of automated trucks on longer routes. However, this is certainly not the one blueprint that will solve all problems. In general, there will be no one-fits-all solution. Rather, the interplay of different measures and aspects is crucial. Alternative propulsion systems such as hydrogen or electromobility play a role here, as does intermodality with rail and water. Better networking between the various players in the industry is also crucial. This is where topics like big data or artificial intelligence come into play. This brings us back to digitalisation. In order to create a climate-neutral logistics industry, the first step is to make transports more efficient with the help of data and intelligent algorithms and thus make optimal use of existing capacities.
What are your hopes for the IAA TRANSPORTATION?
The IAA Transportation offers an excellent opportunity to further expand international and national cooperation in the field of logistics and transport. Cooperation across national borders and different sectors, but also between individual companies, creates synergies. The growing challenges of the industry, especially with regard to sustainability, require innovations. Cooperation increases efficiency, generates ideas and raises potentials.
What are you particularly looking forward to at the IAA Conference?
I'm looking forward to open discussions, controversial debates and especially to my participation on the panel at the "Municipal Transport" theme day. That was also a lot of fun for me at the IAA Mobility, where I was a speaker last year. Such an exchange with different stakeholders makes it possible to understand each other's needs, interests and motivations even better. That always releases new ideas and energies.
Christian U. Haas has 20 years of international leadership experience in the software and technology industry. Before joining PTV, he headed a European provider of digital solutions for financial services.
As CEO, he initiated and promoted the further development of the company there from a traditional software provider to a SaaS company based on artificial intelligence applications. Previously, Christian U. Haas was Executive Vice President Europe at FIS, one of the world's leading providers of financial technology solutions.
Haas began his career at Dresdner Kleinwort Benson and Deutsche Bank.