Who’s in the Logistics Hall of Fame?

Knowledge Hub for Logistics in Ireland

Who’s in the Logistics Hall of Fame?

A logistics Hall of Fame?  The Hollywood Walk of Fame celebrates the great and the good of show business past and present.  Country music has its Hall of Fame, as has Rock and Roll.  Various sports, such as Baseball and American Football, have made sure to get in on the act, along with numerous national soccer associations.

The most high profile sites have a number of things in common: they tend to be US-based, the relate to glamorous or recreational pursuits, and the they are increasingly tied in with flogging merchandise to fans.  Some, but not all, have large bricks and mortar locations that act as tourist attractions.

The Logistics Hall of Fame is a little different, as you might expect.  Glamour is not a criterion for admission (at least it’s not obvious if it is), it’s not American – it’s German – and, while it has sponsors, it’s output appears to be a website, a podcast, occasional meetings and a free online magazine.

Apart from advertising it’s not selling anything and appears genuine in trying to help the image of the sector.


Background to the Logistics Hall of Fame

The logistics Hall of Fame aims to promote innovation and raise public awareness by celebrating outstanding achievements in supply chain management and logistics. It was founded in 2003 and usually inducts one person or group each year.

Inductees are men and women whom the Council decides have made notable contributions to the development of supply chain management and logistics.  The decisive factor the person has made a significant and lasting contribution to the advancement of logistics beyond the boundaries of that person’s organisation.

To date, 35 men and women have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.  Some are historical figures while many are currently active in either business or academia. Others are household names, often better known for their activities outside the usual confines of logistics.  But some names are much less well known, and may appear obscure even to people with a knowledge of the area.

It is hoped that by encouraging a little friendly competition, the organisation will improve the image of the logistics sector in general.


Some Notable Hall of Famers


Franz Tasso and Johann Baptista von Taxis

Logistics Hall of Fame

Source: logisticshalloffame.net

These guys may not be at the cutting edge of modern logistics, but that is not the point.  In 1490, uncle and nephew Franz Tasso and Johann Baptista were responsible for developing the first ever postal service, known as The Netherlands Postal Line.

In a very real sense, all logistics providers can trace their work ancestry back to this 15th century invention.


Gottlieb Daimler

Among his other contributions to automotive transport, Gottlieb Daimler is generally recognised as the inventor of the truck and of freight transport as we know it today. This puts his achievement right at the centre of modern logistics, although trucks have changed a bit since he was working in the 1800s.

The first truck looked more like a horse-drawn carriage with the engine situated below the rear axle. It’s product specifications claimed a top speed of 16 km per hour, although in practice the maximum speed was thought to be closer to 10 km per hour. It was also able to handle a gradient of up to 10 percent – but only if was not carrying a full load.

Hall of Fame
The first Daimler truck

Source: mercedesblog.com


Frederick W. Smith

Logistics Hall of Fame
While not a household name, US businessman Frederick Smith is definitely known within the logistics community as the inventor of express logistics and founder of FedEx, the world’s first overnight express delivery company. Along the way he also came up with the idea of air freight hubs.

So it’s pretty safe to say that he has been influential in the development of modern logistics.


Norman Joseph Woodland, George Laurer and Bernard Silver

Definitely not household names, but we’re all very familiar with their work as these three delivered the first bar code, the now ubiquitous, often slightly smudged, lines found on parcels.  Barcodes track physical movements of parcels and remain central to ensuring that packages get to their correct destinations.

The ability of bar codes to automatically track deliveries through such a simple and easy-to-use system has revolutionised delivery work for both the client and the courier.

Barcode inventors

Source: logisticshalloffame.net


Jeff Bezos

Hall of Fame Bezos
Many people will know Jeff Bezos as the founder of Amazon and was inducted in 2017.  While most people will recognise Amazon primarily as an online shopping site, the company has transformed delivery work in the past few decades.

If you are involved with mail-orders, e-commerce or distribution logistics, even if you don’t deal with Amazon, the chances are that a significant portion of your business activities have been influenced by the systems that were developed by Jeff Bezos.


Erich Staake

Erich Staake is a leading figure in the development of the concept of an inland port and inland port logistics. He turned the Port of Duisburg into the largest inland port in Europe and an international benchmark by reinventing it as a multimodal logistics centre.

In doing so made a significant contribution to advancing the network concept of integrated logistics and demonstrated how logistics can strengthen the economic power and quality of life of an entire region.

Staake Hall of Fame


Who Should be in the Logistics Hall of Fame?

You can find out more here about the people who have made it into the Logistics Hall of Fame. Not everyone will agree with all with the choices and the list is certainly somewhat Eurocentric.

The contributions of some recent inductees may also pale in time when placed against the impact of earlier figures. Are there no Chinese contenders?

But you’ll never please everyone and there are many would-be contenders. Not everyone can make it in, but those that have made it have certainly made major contributions to the development of the sector.

Do any names come to mind for who should be included? Let us know in the comments section below.