Practical case projects

Development of use cases for the use of drones

Students in the "Production Management and Logistics" program branch have looked at old and new application cases of drone technology as part of a practical case project on the topic of Developing use cases for the use of drones by the Deutsche Bahn AG. They worked on three different cases and elucidated the technical and legal possibilities. For this purpose, students conducted interviews with experts about the topic of drones, security, and regulatory and legal framework conditions of airspace, and they designed application cases and business cases according to the requirements of the DB Group in the following three cases:

  • Drone delivery - spare part delivery (express transportation) per drone
  • Drone @ DB - Use of drones for train operations
  • New Horizons - Marketing of drone potential for DB as provider of transportation networks

The DB AG provided an airspace of 100 x 100 m, in which independent adherence to a track was to be ensured by a drone system (Geofence). German air traffic control has created an infrastructure for overflight areas as part of an exception permitted in a simplified procedure pursuant to § 21b, Para. 3, in conj. with Para. 1, No. 5 LuftVO for air traffic. The exception is defined in paragraph 3. However, there are restrictions, since the intended operation of unmanned aircraft in the airspace may not lead to endangering the safety of air transportation or the public. The protection of humans and animals from flight noise must also be given its due consideration.

The recommendation for the DB AG is to consider the approaches for risk estimation and the decision parameters for selecting suitable transport modifications for express transportation as a basis for the case-related risk assessment and for calculating data in real-time to estimate external influences (e.g. weather) that may prevent delivery by drone.

Furthermore, the DB AG can profit not only from internal use of drones in rail operations but it also can market the use of drones externally via the DB network. Based on a benefit analysis, the suitable areas for application are: 1. inspection of train station roofing, 2. automated analysis of tree fall curve, and 3. recording of aerial footage for 3D models for the construction of new routes. This enables a description of the three application areas as main categories, which can be applied on the internal and external level: maintenance, agriculture and forestry, and public safety. These three areas were described as business models using the canvas model.

Interviews with drone experts in the Group determined that network economies should be created across rail systems and that potentials – such as the expansion and development of existing applications for drones – should be recognized early on. Resources should also be used efficiently and the interfaces for cases ensured. Pilot projects and collaborations should be initiated.

  1. Development of use case for drone transport, cost comparison of the means of transportation via helicopter and courier. Derivation of recommended actions for different requirement scenarios (drone delivery)
  2. Development of additional options for drone use, prioritization, and cost comparison of options. Derivation of recommended actions from gained insights (drones @DB)
  3. Development of business cases from the identification of visionary scenarios and recommendations for the long-term orientation of DB as provider of traffic networks for air transportation with drones (New Horizons)


Drone delivery:

  • Research of requirements with survey of processes and costs of current transport modes (actual state analysis)
  • Research on market situation for drones and analysis of the current costs and potentials
  • Selection of routes for express transportation based on expert interviews
  • Identification of criteria (using brainstorming and expert interviews) for the selection of suitable transport modes in express transportation cases
  • Benefit analysis for weighting the selected criteria
  • Use case development of drone transportation with a cost comparison between actual and target
  • Creation of a decision matrix and determination of the real transport time via definition of parameters
  • Derivation of recommended actions for different requirement scenarios

Drones @DB:

  • Discussion of realistic use cases and clear prioritization of the individual options
  • Detail, describe, and discuss highly prioritized options along specified dimensions
  • Assessment and description of the options via expert interviews to determine the criteria for being able to select suitable options via a benefit analysis
  • Derivation of recommended actions for internal and external marketing of drone application possibilities (represented using business model canvas) at the DB

New Horizons:

  • Identification and discussion of possible visionary potential and applications
  • Assessment and prioritization of options (by deriving criteria that are weighted based on a benefit analysis)
  • Development of different use cases
  • Description of the models as business models for the business model canvas with estimate of costs and revenue potential
  • Evaluation of insights and derivation of recommended actions for possible attractive strategic applications

Drone delivery:
Currently, the use of drones is suitable for companies that need to transport loads of less than 10 kg over a distance of up to 200 km. In view of the legal framework conditions, commercial drone transports cannot be currently carried out in Germany due to legal restrictions and undefined gray areas.

Drones @DB:
In addition to the use of drones in three application areas (maintenance, agriculture, and public safety), drones can support internal tasks of the Deutsche Bahn and help optimize already existing processes. An example of this is the recording and analysis of trees from the air, which could topple and restrict the operations of DB.

New horizons:
The use of drones for vegetation control, building inspections, and security which is already being implemented should be expanded. Drones should increasingly be used to check for infrastructure damage and perform smaller repairs. The use of a mobile "maintenance center" is recommended for ensuring the proper maintenance of the drones, which can be docked to a train as a container and can serve as a intermediate station for battery changes or performing other routine work.


Project team:

5th semester Business Administration (B.A.), 6th semester Business Administration with double degree (B.A.), 6th semester International Business Administration (B.A.) – summer semester 2018

Cooperation partner:

Deutsche Bahn AG, Think Tank

Project support:

The program branch Production Management and Logistics in the Bachelor program of Business Administration, Business Administration with double degree, and International Business Administration have worked on the practical case project during the 2018 summer semester.

Analysis and optimization of logistics processes at Riese & Müller GmbH

Bachelor students conducted an analysis of different logistics processes at Riese & Müller GmbH while taking regulated factors into account. The goals were 1. the development of a TARGET process and 2. proposed optimization and actions. Several processes were recorded and the required time for these processes measured for this purpose. In addition, interviews and surveys were conducted with executives and employees to find weaknesses in the three areas of incoming goods, high bay warehousing, and order picking.
The students were able to uncover extensive potential improvement in all three areas for optimizing the processes in the warehouse of the Riese & Müller GmbH and creating more transparency and information to ensure orderly working methods.

  • Analysis and proposed optimizations of structure and processes of receiving incoming goods while taking regulated factors into account
  • Analysis and proposed optimizations for structure and processes of the high bay warehouse and placement run while taking regulated factors into account
  • Analysis and proposed optimizations of structure and processes of order picking / supply, route planning, and presentation in pre-assembly while taking regulated factors into account

  • Analysis and description of ACTUAL processes
  • Interviews with executives and employees
  • Identification of problem areas and depiction of proposed optimizations
  • Description of derived TARGET concepts

Recommended actions for receiving incoming goods:

  • Acquisition of new transport vehicles for goods reduces the physical stress of employees and ensures better material flow
  • Use of existing ERP systems for digital acquisition and booking of incoming goods

Recommended actions for high bay warehouse:

  • Distribution of items in fixed groups and associated storage areas to counteract unsystematic warehousing
  • Introduction of standardized EURO pallets to optimize storage capacity

Recommended actions for order picking:

  • Improvement of the order picking processes by distribution into large and small parts, pre and final assembly, and storage according to frequency of use
  • An automated small parts warehouse saves time and reduces walking distances for employees

Project team:

5th semester Business Administration (B.A.), 6th semester Business Administration with double degree (B.A.), 6th semester International Business Administration (B.A.), winter semester 2017/2018

Cooperation partner:

Riese & Müller GmbH

Development of application cases for detection, networking, and electrification in air transportation

As part of a practical case project, students in the Aviation Management (B.A.) program faced the challenge for automotive innovations in the airport environment. They developed use cases for the three following application areas: detection, networking, and electrification. Different technologies that can be used for the generation of use cases serve as a prerequisite. This was used to calculate the profitability of the individual cases and derive recommended actions.

In order to be able to exploit as many synergy effects in the airport environment as possible via networking technologies, electrification, and detection technologies, an intensive five-week project was initiated for the development of use cases as possibilities of automotive innovation in air transportation. For this purpose, the project partner prescribed technologies to be used to generate ideas for the use cases.

The objective is the derivation of two use cases that can provide a technical and economic added value using technologies from the automotive area of the Continental AG and its partners. The study needs to evaluate to what extent existing processes can be developed or new solutions created. The project results are supposed to help Continental Service Engineering GmbH and the airports in deciding whether and how the presented use cases should be pursued and developed.

The goal is to be accomplished using the technologies of the Continental AG, which were specified.

Research on the focus areas of detection, networking, and electrification in air transportation.
Development of ideas for possible use cases in the focus areas related to the airport environment.
Validation of the ideas concerning need, feasibility, and profitability, in addition to focusing on two high-potential use cases.
Observation of the profitability of use cases using a computation model and creation of decision documentation for Continental and relevant business forms in air transportation.

Optimization proposals for processes in the airport environment were developed while taking the problems in air transportation into consideration. Not only the profitability was analyzed but also the feasibility of the projects. An important basis for determining the problems and framework parameters were expert interviews in the respective departments. The following two concepts were developed for the three areas:

Detection (use of radar sensors):

  • Use case I: crash protect is intended to prevent accidents with apron vehicles on the apron using radar sensors.
  • Use case II: snow patrol serves to support the winter service in clearing snow on the runways.


  • Use case I: Electrification of water and toilet carts to save operating and maintenance costs. Using this technology only makes financial sense if the investment volume can be reduced for the project.
  • Use case II (used technology 400 V electro motor): Since up to now, long charging times have made the efficient use of electric vehicles operations challenging, the implementation of the AllCharge solution in airport vehicles can offer an added value due to the increased charging speed.


  • Use case I: The driver’s fatigue, inattention, and a lack of concentration can be recognized by camera using BVD driver monitoring.
  • Use case II: The myFlight product, which could be used in the gate area and in a next step in the visitor center, shows passengers airport-specific processes via a DMD projector. The focus lies on information about BVD-typical vehicles, airplane information, and brief information about destinations.

The prepared use cases now need to be developed jointly with corresponding air transportation customers and system partners for effective implementation of CES.

Project team:

5th semester Aviation Management (B.A.), winter semester 2017/2018

Cooperation partner:

Continental Engineering Services GmbH and Fraport AG

Image analysis of the travel destination China in Germany

The object of the practical case project was to study the image of China as a travel destination among Germans in Germany as a potential target group and to derive recommended actions to expand and optimize the product portfolio of the company China Tours GmbH. In addition, the study aims to identify target group-specific measures and promotions for improving the marketing of the travel destination China.

In addition to analyzing the portfolio of China Tours, the study also identified benchmarks and USPs for the travel destination China. Using an online survey on the image of the travel destination China and additional expert interviews, people with (at least one stay in China) and without experience traveling in China were surveyed.

The results of the questionnaire showed that the travel destination China is strongly associated with cultural sights, big cities, food, noise, and smog. By comparison, almost none of the respondents associates negative cultural attributes or beach vacations with China. The nearly nonexistent English skills of the Chinese was seen as a negative.

These results form a suitable basis for China Tours to influence the mentioned reasons for not traveling again to China in a positive manner. Overall, the product should be optimized in particular for young and price-sensitive customers, the diversity of China should be marketed accordingly, and information should be provided about negatively perceived cultural differences.

Development of a survey strategy
SWOT / PEST analysis of China as a travel destination for the German source market and benchmark for competing destinations.
Development of enthusiasm factors and reasons for losses in both target groups: "China travelers" and "not (yet) China travelers."
Identification of both target groups.

Development of target group-specific measures and promotions for the better marketing of China as a travel destination for customer loyalty / acquisition.
Derivation of recommended actions for further developing the current trips being offered by China Tours and for new product development.

Analysis of the image of the travel destination China among "China travelers" and "not (yet) China travelers."
Analysis of the development of Germans’ tourism demand for China travel and long-distance travel (desk research).
Implementation of interviews (personal/written) of "China travelers" and "not (yet) China travelers."
Implementation of expert interviews.

The travel destination China is associated with a high level of cultural sights, major cities, food, noise, and smog. In contrast to this, hardly anyone associates negative cultural attributes or beach vacations with China. In particular, the lack of English skills of Chinese people is viewed as negative.
A majority of the respondents can get excited about a new China trip (especially younger people). However, negative cultural aspects, such as language barriers and foreign eating cultures, in addition to a partly low budget are viewed as barriers.
Possible recommended actions for China Tours include in particular city, nature, and cultural travel for the different target groups (young price-sensitive customers, small groups, singles) and combination travel to strengthen the product portfolio. Possible marketing measures for customer acquisition and loyalty include increased media presence, additional information evenings and materials, sweepstakes, and discounts for regular customers.

Project team:

5th semester Tourism Management (B.A.), winter semester 2017/2018

Cooperation partner:

China Tours

Optimization of logistics processes in non-profit organizations: Optimization of warehousing processes at AWO Refugee Aid in Frankfurt

The task of the practical case project given to the students was to perform warehouse optimization for the refugee aid of the Arbeiterwohlfahrt (AWO) organization. The ACTUAL state was determined and analyzed, and recommended actions were developed for both branch locations of the AWO in Frankfurt (Niederrad and Gutleutviertel). Determining the ACTUAL status led to insights that helped delineate the problem. The goal was to develop a user-friendly and cost-effective solution for warehouse management that meets the requirements of both locations

In order to realize this goal while taking the attributes of user-friendliness and cost-effectiveness into account, a tool was developed using VBA programming within Microsoft Excel. This tool helps ensure more accurate documentation in the future and thus a better overview of the stored goods, their location and quantity, as well as incoming and outgoing goods. In addition to this tool, implementation also includes a detailed user manual and useful information about the premises available at the AWO, e.g. dimensions and blueprints.

For the AWO, the warehouse management system and warehouse structure were supposed to be improved at both locations in Frankfurt.

Analysis of the ACTUAL situation and the processes at both locations.
Stock taking and inventory at both locations.
Concept development for possible improvements to the current warehousing approach.
Possible implementation via recommended actions.

The project team developed and implemented a cross-location tool for the AWO’s warehouse management. This user-friendly and cost-effective tool, which was implemented using VBA programming in Microsoft Excel, offers improved documentation and a good overview of the stored products, their location and quantity, and all incoming and outgoing goods in both locations.

Project team:

2nd semester in Industrial Engineering (M.Sc.), summer semester 2018

Cooperation partner:

Arbeiterwohlfahrt Kreisverband (AWO) Frankfurt am Main e.V.

Optimization of logistics processes in non-profit organizations: A study of work places of Behindertenhilfe Bergstraße (center for the disabled) for potential improvements

For this practical case project, students studied the two locations Bensheim and Lorsch of the Behindertenhilfe Bergstraße (BHB). The actual status of the work processes in the facilities through integration, cooperation, and communication with the employees was recorded in order to consider possible areas for potential improvements. The focus of the project was on the departments of assembly and packaging, carpentry, metal-working, electrical assembly, and laundry services. In addition to generating new work areas and improved processes, the project also included a consideration of interfaces between the two locations in order to achieve closer and more communicative cooperation.
For the operator of the locations, the focus was on the significance of the employees, as they were the center of activity. Rationalization measures for personnel were not taken into consideration.
Rather, the key issue was to provide the employees with disabilities a diverse working environment. The Behindertenhilfe Bergstraße is a non-profit organization which does not consider profit maximization as a primary goal of its work. This aspect in connection with the primarily social aspects of the BHB poses a new situation and tasks for the students.

The goal was to analyze the operations from the perspective of a neutral observer, identify potential improvements, create new framework conditions in everyday work processes, and derive a recommended course of actions.

Determination of the actual situation of the individual fields of activity of the Bensheim and Lorsch locations and their processes during two survey meetings in which interviews were conducted with employees of the shop and the group leaders. Identification of potential improvements for the individual fields of activity and creation of new framework conditions (across locations).
Derivation of recommended actions via the actual state analysis.

In detail, space plans were modeled and process plans developed for the individual faculties in order to represent an optimized space distribution as the TARGET result.
Calculations were performed for the capacities in the laundry services department.
Benchmarks were sought for the creation of the café concept and an interview was conducted for the benchmark example. The existing product range for the online shop was analyzed in an ABC analysis to derive recommendations.

All recommended actions consider a middle road between economic optimization and support of employees.Recommended actions were derived for the individual departments of assembly and packaging, carpentry, metal-working, electrical installation, and laundry services at the organization Behindertenhilfe Bergstraße. For an online shop and a new café, two concepts each were introduced and a layout for the networking of people with disabilities with potential customers was suggested.

First, it is recommended to open a café on the business premises in Bensheim. This provides the employees a new field of action and opens a new opportunity for visitors to relax and hanging out. This invites them to spend more time on the premises. Catering to visitors will automatically create more social contact and allow the employees to participate in society. The Samocca franchise offers inspiration and help in the implementation. It has already realized the concept of a café that is run exclusively by employees with disabilities. Furthermore, we recommend revising and adapting the in-house product range. This point is significant due to the interaction with the marketing, the carpentry, and the online shop of the BHB. At the end, one should look at the "internet" sales channel, which has great potential financially and for the image. The sales should be increased and the sales share of the B2C business expanded using a three-phase strategy.

Project team:

2nd semester in Industrial Engineering (M.Sc.), summer semester 2018

Cooperation partner:

Behindertenhilfe Bergstrasse gGmbH

Web team - Faculty 3ID: 5521