From hype to trend: autonomization in intralogistics

September, 2021

When BMW formed idealworks in November 2020, the company’s goal was clear. The Munich-based startup, which works with major players such as Nvidia Corporation, Adlink Technology and Sick, was to reinvent autonomous logistics – and think about it all holistically. Hear from idealworks CEO Michael Schneider about trends and visions in modern intralogistics. 

Michael Schneider, it was only in July that your team won the IFOY Award with the iw.hub. What does this award mean for idealworks? 

We are very pleased that we were able to receive the IFOY Award 2021 for best AGV. This award once again confirms how important and correct the path is we are taking with our fully autonomous logistics robot iw.hub, the control unit iw.brain and the associated VDA5050-based master control system AnyFleet. With our product range, we are creating crucial added value for companies worldwide and changing the logistics industry for the long term. 

Hardware, software and services from a single expert source – Our holistic approach is important to us and is a hallmark of ours and our many years of expertise. 

Can you tell us something about idealworks’ vision? 

We offer a holistic solution portfolio consisting of hardware, software and services. This holistic approach is important to us and is a hallmark of ours and our many years of expertise. It’s an automation solution that covers all bases and that we have developed completely in-house. From devices and planning to implementation, commissioning and ongoing support, everything comes from a single expert source. 

What is your opinion of automation – still hype or already a trend? 

Quite clearly a trend. Automated guided vehicles have become indispensable for optimizing the internal transport of goods. If you want to keep up with the pace of digitization and the competition, you have to automate. Its use is economical even for small fleets. At idealworks, we are helping to drive automation readiness with our solutions. We are actively shaping this trend. With our leasing program launched in the spring, we also enable companies to immediately benefit from the advantages of automation, to remain competitive and to act with maximum agility due to the simple scalability. 

We offer our customers an all-round worry-free package and set up the entire system within a few days. 

What advice do you have for companies that are afraid of automation? 

Many simply shy away from the potential complexity of the process. Yet automation, or autonomization, does not require great prior knowledge. Nor are we talking about an implementation that drags on for weeks or months. We offer our customers an all-round worry-free package and set up the entire system within a few days. In this way, we provide a highly technological plug-and-play solution that can be implemented quickly and is easy to use. We are currently winning over interested parties at our Demo Days. Here, we implement our entire system within a few hours at the site of interested customers; they can put our award-winning AMR, including master controller, through its paces for two days. 

For companies that want to change, you recommend… 

Just do it! The use of automated intralogistics solutions promises a fast return on investment, so that the costs are often amortized within a year. Automation is a huge trend of our time that is worth helping to shape. 

As a company active around the world, idealworks pursues the goal of transforming intralogistics in an innovative and sustainable way. Schneider, CEO of the wholly owned BMW subsidiary since June 2021, possesses many years of strategic experience at Rolls-Royce Motorcars Ltd. as well as the BMW Group. Before assuming his CEO role, he worked in corporate strategy, M&A and cooperations at BMW AG. 

Read more at 
The interview appeared in the WELT special “Smart Supply Chain 2021” on August 26, 2021. Click here for the complete edition of the special (in German). 

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