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Award: KION shapes the future of logistics

The global economy is undergoing a fundamental transformation, defined by the digital revolution. And the KION Group is right in the thick of it. The global intralogistics group realized very early on that digitalization and automation were the key trends that would shape the future of warehouse logistics and decided to add a new, second pillar to its traditional truck business – warehouse logistics. With this forward-thinking step, KION Group has brought about lasting change in its industry and opened the doors to the future of digitalized and fully-automated warehouse logistics. This development will eventually lead to what is known as a ‘lights-out warehouse’ – a fully-automated warehouse that in theory doesn’t need any lighting, because all of its processes run perfectly smoothly without any sort of physical human intervention. Now, the KION Group has received the Game Changer Award for leading the way into the future.


“Gordon Riske has transformed an outsourced peripheral business into a company that defines its industry and anticipates future trends,” acknowledged presenter Nicola Leibinger-Kammüller, Chief Executive Officer of the Trumpf engineering company, in her tribute to the KION Group’s CEO. “In recognition of this achievement, manager magazin and Bain & Company present the 2021 Game Changer Award in the Operations of the Future category to Gordon Riske and KION GROUP AG.”

Every year, the highly respected publication manager magazin and global management consultancy Bain & Company honor companies that have succeeded in rewriting the ground rules of an industry to their own advantage in these disruptive times. More than 70,000 German-based businesses are scrutinized for the award. A jury of eight top business managers chooses the recipients of the Game Changer Award in three categories from 15 selected finalists.

Nicola Leibinger-Kammüller, CEO of the mechanical engineering company Trumpf, presents the Game Changer Award to Gordon Riske, CEO of KION.

What's a Game Changer?

An event, idea, or process that causes a significant change in the current way of doing or thinking about something. A Game Changer can be a product or event that has a very significant impact on a situation or business area.

Ordered in the morning, on your doorstep that evening

Order something online in the morning and it can be delivered to your house that evening, if not sooner. How is that even possible, logistically speaking? This is where the KION Group plays a crucial role. Its Dematic subsidiary offers customers fast and reliable warehouse solutions, combining hardware and software expertise. The group’s traditional truck business is also implementing an increasing number of automation projects. Many factories and warehouses now employ autonomous, i.e. driverless, vehicles from KION’s Linde MH and STILL brands. We remain mostly unaware of these automated flows of goods, because they take place in our companies’ engine rooms, so to speak. The importance of efficient and highly reliable supply chains is frequently underestimated, but they are vital for the success and profitability of trade and industry. Seamless logistics are a crucial pillar in any number of corporate strategies, and the KION Group and its brands are working towards this goal, to the benefit of their customers.

KION helps to ensure that the shelves in our shops are always full, and that the constantly growing number of online orders can be delivered quickly and accurately. “Our award winner uses cutting-edge technology to achieve this. Sensors, software, big data, cloud solutions, and much more besides. KION is combining engineering skills with state-of-the-art information technology – and is gradually transforming from a hardware into a software business in the process,” Leibinger-Kammüller explained in her presentation. The future continues to look bright for the KION Group. So far, only ten percent of warehouses worldwide have been automated. The total market is estimated to be 32 billion euros, and is expected to keep growing strongly.

KION's supply chain solutions help to ensure that the shelves in our shops are always full, and that the constantly growing number of online orders can be delivered quickly and accurately.

CEO Riske: “This award is for the KION Group’s workforce”

Gordon Riske was delighted to receive this special accolade. While expressing his thanks, he remarked that there were many, almost countless awards – but only a few that you weren’t able to apply for yourself. “And there are even fewer in which the decision is taken by such a top-quality panel as that of the Game Changer Award.” However, the Chief Executive Officer of KION GROUP AG declined to take credit for the award himself – on the contrary: “We have 36,000 employees who are the best in our industry. And we have a corporate culture that allows and encourages them to explore unconventional paths. Together, we endeavor at all times to understand our customers and their future requirements better than anyone else. So this Game Changer Award is a tribute to the KION Group’s wonderful workforce around the world.”