September 10, 2018 4:45 PM, EDT

German Auto Innovator Rolf Schnellecke Selected for Logistics Hall of Fame

Rolf Schnellecke, a German executive who led a movement toward outsourcing of parts assembly by automobile manufacturers and the development of just-in-time delivery services, has been selected for the Logistics Hall of Fame.

Schnellecke, chairman of Schnellecke Group AG & Co. in Wolfsburg, was selected from 25 candidates from eight countries. He becomes the 34th member to be selected since the hall of fame was established in 2003.

Born in 1944 and having lost his father at an early age, Schnellecke grew up in Wolfsburg working with his mother, Margarete, in a small furniture freight forwarding firm. In 1967 at age 22, he and his mother formed M. Schnellecke KG and over the course of three decades built it into an international logistics powerhouse with nearly 20,000 employees at more than 60 locations.

Rolf Schnellecke


In the early 1970s, he was one of the first freight forwarders to develop large-capacity vehicles to carry light-weight components for automotive firms and established long-distance forwarding services on fixed routes. In 1990, Schnellecke became one of the first logistics companies to take over the assembly of door and side panels for vehicles. The firm also handled interplant moves and created so-called milkruns in which parts and materials are delivered directly to production lines, eliminating the need to store large amounts of parts on site and making the manufacturing process more efficient.

“With value-added logistics, Rolf Schnellecke entered completely new territory in the forwarding industry,” said Anita Wurmser, executive jury chairperson of the Logistics Hall of Fame. “It would be unthinkable for the automotive industry today to operate without these logistics services.”

Schnellecke will be inducted Dec. 5 at a reception at the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure in Berlin.

Several Americans are hall members, including Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of; James Casey, founder of package carrier UPS Inc. and Fred Smith, founder of FedEx Corp.

Also, there is Malcom McLean, the owner of McLean Trucking who created the concept of containerization; Eugene Bradley Clark, inventor of the forklift truck; and William Tunner, who organized the Berlin Airlift in the 1960s.