Origin of intralogistics

When you consider the construction of the pyramids, the term intralogistics certainly does not come to mind. But if you think about it, the provision of the stone blocks for the pyramids was actually just that. Of course, still without any degree of automation. It was only with the invention of the wheel that the first tool was created to make logistics processes easier. The military were certainly pioneers in managing logistics processes: even in ancient times, the transport of materials and soldiers had to work. The technology used for material transport only changed with the advent of industrialization.


Until then, material and passenger transport were only of importance to the military, but this changed significantly after the Second World War. During the economic recovery, the focus of logistics on military matters receded in favor of economic aspects. However, at that time the term 'intralogistics', referring to internal material flows, was not yet born.

In the 1950s, companies focused primarily on the production and optimal use of often scarce resources. Conveyor system elements were used more and more. Thus, logistics was more about transporting goods than optimizing processes. In terms of storage, the focus was on classic storage shelves, and increasing efficiency was still not a priority here.


First high-bay warehouse

The first high-bay warehouse was not developed until the 1960s. Thanks to increasing globalization and rising competition, the advantages of intralogistics became apparent. Not only did it make the work easier, the substantial cost savings also spoke for themselves. Conventional warehouses are synonymous with large storage spaces and long distances for the warehouse workers to cover.

Shortly thereafter, the first automated high-bay warehouses followed. Nevertheless, for a long time intralogistics would still be seen as part of overall logistics and not as a separate segment.


Definition of intralogistics

The breakthrough did not come until 2003: in the 90s, people tackled the holistic supply chain. Logistics tasks were recognized for the first time and the term 'supply chain' was defined. The supply chain covers the complete value creation cycle from the raw material to the delivery of the finished product to the end user.

On closer inspection, the internal material flow was given more and more importance, until eventually the term 'intralogistics' was defined. Intralogistics was thus defined as the organization, control, implementation, and optimization of the internal material flow. It also includes the information flows and handling of goods in industry, trade, and public institutions.


Outlook for the future

The future suggests that, just like many areas, intralogistics is constantly being further developed and optimized. As hardware and software becomes smarter and more powerful, it can be assumed that the internal material flow will become even more automated and therefore even more efficient. The autonomous flow of goods will also play a major role in the future.