Markant Members Congress 2024

Events | | DE München

Future makers – what are the game changers of tomorrow? That was the central question of the two-day Markant Members' Congress in Munich. Experts from science, business and politics provided thought-provoking impulses for the future.

In a world that is constantly changing, it is crucial to take a look at the unknown: What challenges and opportunities does the future hold and how can we influence it ourselves? Together with the management level of retail partners, Markant looked at this question from various angles at the Members' Congress, which took place from 16 to 17 May at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof in Munich. Journalist and TV presenter Cherno Jobatey hosted the two-day congress.


Resilience and reliability

Despite the global challenges, Markant is confident about the future. «We believe that there are plenty of good reasons for confidence, as we can build on three major strengths of the German-speaking region», says Dominik Scheid, Managing Director of Markant AG. «These are the state institutions and a strong rule of law as well as resilient and long-term oriented economic structures». Resilience, reliability and cooperation are also especially important right now. Values that are important to Markant and that it lives by.


It is also important to the Group to develop services that offer added value for its partners. One example of this is the digital case file. It considerably reduces process costs for all the parties involved due to the end-to-end digitisation of information flows throughout the supply and incoming goods processes. The Supply Chain Due Diligence Act is highly complex. Markant aims here to work with its partners to transform the laws into implementable solutions.


«Our aim is to become the partner for procuring valid, verified data – for the entire sector, because laws no longer distinguish between trade and industry, but between affected parties and producers. This shows that co-operation is also the order of the day here», said Tkotz, Managing Director of Markant AG.


Another game changer of our time is generative artificial intelligence. Markant AG therefore founded the start-up «» in March. The goal: «We enable and accelerate AI innovations 'made in Germany and Europe' with the aim of strengthening German and European suppliers and retailers and making them globally competitive», explains Tkotz.


Markant has achieved a «paradigm shift» with the development of the Markant B2B platform, which serves as a contact point for bundling and managing the daily challenges of upstream suppliers, industry, service providers and retailers along the entire value chain. The added value for the partners lies primarily in the strategic or financial benefits of the project. «The past has shown that we have been able to create real success stories within the constellation of industry, retail and Markant. The driving force behind this is cooperation; that is our DNA and we need to continue this in the future», summarised Scheid.


Tensions and strengths

The opening speaker on the first day was Prof. Dr Bernd Raffelhüschen, Director of the Research Centre for Intergenerational Contracts at the University of Freiburg. In his presentation «The future development of our society», he drew a current picture of German demographics and highlighted the associated pension problems.

Stabilisation was also the subject of the panel discussion. Zhengrong Liu, Asia expert, former Chief Human Resources Officer at Beiersdorf and Lanxess, Sandra Navidi, US economic and financial expert, commentator on n-tv, and Prof. Dr Michael Hüther, Director of the Cologne Institute for Economic Research, discussed Europe and Germany as a business location in the context of international tensions. A key message: Confidence in one's own strengths and an awareness of cultural differences are needed in order to master the challenges of globalisation.


The second day of the congress also focussed on areas of tension, albeit in a sporting sense. Uli Hoeneß, Honorary President of FC Bayern München e.V., gave an impressive account of the pressure to succeed and the commercialisation of football. Big investors who move around with bulging coffers and subsidise clubs with vast sums are a thorn in his side. «That has nothing to do with the football I love».


Looking to the future

Gerd Leonhard, futurist and humanist, future consultant and CEO of The Futures Agency, addressed the topic of «The good future: man with machine, human intelligence and AI». Leonhard's mantra is: people, planet, purpose, prosperity. He argues that if one of these four is neglected, we are in trouble. He believes that the world currently places too much emphasis on profit and economic growth and not enough on purpose, meaning, the planet or sustainability. Capitalism, he believes, needs a fresh start, with new types of dividends and new types of stock markets.

Digital marketing strategist Collin Croome spoke about how the metaverse will shape our future. He demonstrated the diverse possibilities of the metaverse and provided arguments as to why companies should already be looking at the metaverse and Web3 today.


Anders Indset's presentation was also about a new reality. A central thesis of his presentation «If we want to understand society, we need to rethink the economy» was that we need incentives for behavioural values and the power of activation. Then we will be able to achieve the unimaginable.


Meanwhile, people rush from appointment to appointment, have to process a mass of information every day and ultimately suffer from the high pace of life. Prof. Dr Volker Busch showed how this dilemma can be solved in his lecture «It's not time that's running, it's us!». «We have to dare to leave things out. It is crucial that we focus our attention on the important things in life».


The lecture by Dr Florence Gaub, political scientist and future consultant at the NATO Defence College, «Don't fear the future – a guide to positive thinking», was also about developing skills. In the face of war, inflation, the climate crisis and increasing technology, we are in danger of losing the belief that we can shape our own future lives. It is therefore important to realise that we can imagine our future, plan it, shape it and turn it into reality as the product of our actions.


Impulses for tomorrow

Jean Asselborn, former Luxembourg Foreign Minister, also focussed on the future in his speech «Democracy – the foundation of Europe». He appealed to the audience to take the trend of right-wing movements seriously and to think about why they are gaining momentum. Democracy and common values are fundamental principles of the European Union. The former politician sees this as a threat.


Franz-Friedrich Müller, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Markant AG, addressed the closing words to the partners: «The new technologies have a major impact on our lives, on our companies and on our future. The future is digital and we have the opportunity to shape it. We, Markant, need you, our retail partners, to successfully tackle the future in line with our guiding principle of cooperation and partnership and to take the necessary steps to achieve this».


The Markant Members' Congress was peppered with inspiring topics from politics, society and business, which helped to obtain a clear view of the future and recognise the game changers of tomorrow.


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