A helping hand on the way to Industry 4.0
IHK Magazin Issue November 2017
These two co-founders are lending support towards digitalization.
An invoice is given an entrance stamp, lands via internal mail on the desk of the person responsible, who then examines it and sends it via internal mail to accounting. “This is largely still the system in many small and medium-sized companies,” says Sven Vogel (49), from Kempen, who with his business partner Jens Kokon (47) wants to help companies seize the chance to participate in the highly vaunted Industry 4.0. “We understand our job to be to take companies in hand,” say the two IT specialists, who started their company develogment GmbH & Co. KG in March. “There are some experts who predict that any company that has not digitalized all business processes efficiently by 2020 will no longer be able to exist in their current state,” says Vogel.
The new company, which holds ten employees at the Lower Rhine Technology and Startup Centre (TZN) at Industriering Ost in Kempen, is not a startup in the usual sense. “Because we come from a large corporation we have good relationships with other partners, such as large IT service providers, who can help us with technical and specialist expertise within every sector of the industry,” says Vogel. Startups are not customarily so well endowed.
The corporation in which Vogel and his business partner met in 2002 is the international Lehnkering Group (now Imperial Chemical Logistics). Kokon, a computer scientist by trade, spent 21 years developing software for various industries and worked initially as a consultant for the Duisburg branch, later as an internal developer, and most recently as head of the department. Vogel, who studied economics and was self-employed in software development during university, was responsible for IT at Lehnkering and other areas of the Imperial group for many years. Together, the duo carried out several major projects. Their experiences from that time today form the basis of the three business divisions that make up develogment, aimed primarily at logistics customers. Hence the “log” in the company brand name.
“Logistics is too specific an area for everything pertaining to it to be handled by standard software systems,” says Vogel. The “Projects and Consultancy” division includes services such as workshop offers and classic consultancy. “Logistics Solutions” aims to help logistics companies select and implement software, whether this software be a third-party product or crossdoxx the company’s own product marketed since August. “This is our first step towards the digitalization of paper-based processes,” says Vogel. Examples would be paper invoices or freight documents. For instance, crosslinxx, currently in development, will automatically report when key freight documents are missing. The big picture resides in the third division: “Managed Analytics”. As Vogel states, “So much data comes in from vehicles, traffic announcements, social media, weather forecasts, GPS tracking, but many don’t know what to do with this deluge. Our goal is to make this data accessible and intuitive to our customers.”