Interview with Georg Stadlhofer
Mr Georg Stadlhofer is the Managing Director of Drees & Sommer in Austria.
After completing his studies in Facility Management at the University of Applied Sciences Kufstein Tirol, Georg Stadlhofer first worked as a facility manager and in global FM purchasing at the Novartis subsidiary Sandoz before moving into real estate and corporate real estate consulting as a consultant and later partner at Reality Consult GmbH. After project assignments in Romania and Luxembourg, he was responsible for the consulting business in Germany there for about 10 years. Last two years he was Interim Head of Global Real Estate at ZF Friedrichshafen AG. He holds a Master’s degree in Real Estate Investment and Finance from the University of Reading, is a Certified Management Consultant, a Certified Project Manager and a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. With the sale of Reality Consult GmbH to Drees & Sommer, Georg Stadlhofer first joined the management team of Drees & Sommer Austria and then became a member of the Executive Board in 2019. He is president of the IFMA Austrian Chapter as well as a founding member of AREAMA, the Austrian Real Estate Asset Management Association.
1. What is the proportion of logistics solutions within your portfolio and where do you see the highest demand within the logistics sector among your customers?
As international planner and consultant for real estate in a wide range of branches, warehouses and logistics solutions is a significant part of our business.
Through our cross-sector network we provide logistics solutions for different industries, such as e-commerce, food, fashion as well as industrial, chemical and automotive businesses.
Due to the current geopolitical situation and the last months under the pandemic conditions, our customers in Europe are particularly concerned with the topics such as resilient supply chains, shortage of skilled workers and the changes towards sustainable business models.
2. At WOF Group have the aim to support the industry on the way into a more sustainable future, how does Drees & Sommer support your customers in regards of sustainability, eg regarding carbon footpring or Cradle to Cradle approach?
Within Drees & Sommer we have a large sustainability team that advises on everything from entire operational concepts to sustainable business models, recyclable building materials to holistic energy concepts. We always start with looking at our client’s mindset: What sustainability measures are already in place, what can be easily implemented and which topics require a major change. Taking into account the regulations but also the funding opportunities of the EU taxonomy and the ESG criteria, we show the current status quo of our clients with regard to sustainability measures and propose concrete solutions for implementation. These can range from small measures to obtain DGNB, LEED or BREAM certificates, an implementation of the warehouse with recyclable materials (see e.g. our reference: LEVIS Warehouse according to Cradle 2 Cradle Standard) and integration of MADASTER, better working conditions under WELL criterias as well as holistic energy concepts.
3. Can you please share one of your recently realized lighthouse projects in regards of sustainability?
Of course, very gladly! In Germany we were able to implement some of the most sustainable and innovative warehouses last year (2021), such as with the largest green roof in Bavaria or a warehouse for LEVIS in North Rhine-Westphalia that can be recycled in large parts. Some large e-commerce companies are also interested in sustainability strategies, e.g. for the new planned cargo airports. We are allowed to plan these and implement them in the project.
Also Austria and CEE we work both for companies developing their own logistic buildings as well as for developers of logistic real estate.
4. Do you see a difference in the sustainability approach between Western and Eastern Europe?
Many international companies are currently expanding into Eastern Europe and implementing their sustainability strategy at the building level in both Eastern and Western Europe. In that respect there is not difference. But we do see differences for example in the utilisation of the different green building certificates. In Eastern Europe, LEED or BREAM are much more established as institutional investors in this region often originate from the UK or the US.
5. Another key success factor is digitalization, how do you deal with the fast changing digital revolution for the best benefit of your customers?
Digitisation – a big term. Often customers, partners and colleagues each understand something different by it. We also look at digitalisation on several levels, but always question which digital solutions really bring added value for our clients.
Within the technology, we offer optimisations for material flows and processes based on data analyses and inventories, we can plan the optimal technology for partial automation and automation in a supplier-neutral manner and control the IT integration.
At the building level, we often find processes that are not aligned with the technology. Ideally, the mechanics of the gates in the warehouse are coupled with the technology, such as AGVs or arriving trucks, or the LED lights react to actual movements via sensor technology, so that energy consumption can be minimised, among other things. In our workshops for Customer Smart Warehouses, we work with our customers to find solutions that make really sense for them.
6. How would you judge the importance of WOF Summit and WOF Expo within the Central and Eastern European region as a platform for the Logistics and Supply Chain Industry?
There are only a few overarching and truly European formats in the logistics and supply chain industry in Europe. Therefore we are all the more pleased that WOF Summit and WOF EXPO offer the opportunity for networking.
7. What was the impact of Covid19 in your core business and what do you expect in the near future?
Exchanges with clients were more remote during the Covid 19 pandemic. Of course, we hope to be able to exchange with our customers live more often in the future, but we have also developed many good digital communication options for planning new logistics solutions.
Things have not been boring in the Logistics branch, especially during the Covid 19 period, and we support our customers at all levels to cope well with the current changes of our time.
8. What is the main benefit for your customers in the logistics and industry sector in the cooperation with Drees & Sommer?
We are European leaders in project management and can provide support anywhere in Europe through our good regional network. In the area of sustainability, we are considered one of the most innovation leaders. And we look at logistics solutions from the technology, the optimal processes to the integration with the building. With this combination of supplier-neutral planning and project management, we advise numerous developers, in-house developers and logistics companies from a wide range of industries in Europe.
The leading European consulting, planning and project management enterprise, Drees & Sommer has supported private and public clients and investors for over 50 years in all aspects of real estate and infrastructure – both analog and digital. Through future-oriented consulting, the enterprise can offer solutions for successful buildings, high-return portfolios, powerful infrastructure and livable cities. The company’s 4,000 employees in 46 locations around the world work in interdisciplinary teams to provide support for clients from a wide variety of sectors. All the services provided by the partner-run company take into consideration both economic and ecological concerns. Drees & Sommer calls this holistic approach ‘the blue way’.