Helmut Baumgarten studied industrial engineering and gained experience in energy and transport planning companies after completing his studies. He received his doctorate in engineering in 1972 and his habilitation in 1974. He was appointed to the Technical University of Berlin in 1976. He is the founder and developer of the Chair of Logistics at the TU Berlin and built the department into one of the leading research and education institutions.
He is one of the founders of holistic and process-oriented logistics. At the same time, he was director of the Institute of Technology and Management for many years. He was a member of the Board of Trustees and the Academic Senate, Chairman of the Joint Commission for Studies in Industrial Engineering (GKWi) and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Society of Friends of the Technical University of Berlin.
Professor Baumgarten is a founding member of the Bundesvereinigung Logistik e. V. (BVL) and was its deputy chairman until 1999. After that he was a member of the advisory board for many years. As the longstanding chairman of the programme and organisation committee, he was responsible for the content of the BVL's annual German Logistics Congress in Berlin, the largest German specialist event for science and practice in logistics. In addition, he developed research and studies on trends and strategies in logistics together with BVL for the first time. The focal points of his activities were also the further development of the job profile of industrial engineers and logisticians. Professor Baumgarten was a long-standing member of the board of the Association of German Industrial Engineers (VWI) and is the author of the "Berufsbild des Wirtschaftsingenieurs", which was published in its 14th edition in 2015.
Furthermore, he was a member of the presidium of the German Transport Forum, a member of the scientific advisory board of the Gesellschaft für Unternehmungsplanung. He was a commissioner of the two state governments of Berlin and Brandenburg for the "Transport and Mobility" strategy circle for the logistics sector, as well as head of the "Berlin - City of Logistics" expert group at the Berlin Senate.
He is the founder of several companies, including the Zentrum für Logistik und Unternehmensplanung GmbH (ZLU), as well as the founder and majority shareholder of Logplan GmbH (Berlin / Frankfurt am Main / Denver) and LMC Logistics and Management Consulting. He is also a consultant and member of supervisory and advisory boards of various companies.
His research activities are reflected in more than 500 publications and editorships as well as in the supervision of more than 120 dissertations in the research fields of logistics, material flow technology and corporate planning. Furthermore, this includes his developments of curricula and career guides for the education and training of industrial engineers and logisticians.
He is the editor of several handbooks and a member of the editorial board of various journals. Current and significant publications include the editor's book "The Best of Logistics: Innovations, Strategies, Implementations" published in 2008, the current career guide "Industrial Engineering in Education and Practice" 2011 and the editor's book "Humanitarian Logistics" 2011.
For his extraordinary services to science and equally to the economy in Berlin and in the Federal Republic of Germany, Professor Baumgarten was awarded the Cross of Merit First Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in December 2003. In 2007 he was inducted into the Logistics Hall of Fame, which honours personalities who have rendered outstanding services to the advancement of logistics and supply chain management. On the 21st of November 2008, the European Business School (EBS) International University awarded Prof. Dr.-Ing. Helmut Baumgarten the dignity and degree Doctor rerum politicarum honoris causa (Dr. rer. pol. h. c.) in recognition of his services to economic research and teaching. As a scientist, DHL presented Professor Helmut Baumgarten with the DHL Innovation Award on 1 December 2010 "for his outstanding services to logistics in science and practice in Germany".
Since 2009, Professor Baumgarten has been leading and advising the research project "Humanitarian Logistics - Logistics for Hunger Regions in Africa" at the Technical University of Berlin, which is funded by the Kühne Foundation. The project team's work included the first-ever organisation of the African Logistics Conference in Dar es Salaam/Tanzania in 2011 and the founding of the BVL working group "Humanitarian Logistics", which Baumgarten chaired until 2011.
In October 2012, the dissertations by Dr. Jennifer Schwarz and Dr.-Ing. Martin Keßler that resulted from the project were awarded the Logistics Science Prize together with Professor Baumgarten as the supervising university teacher. In September 2014, the logistics department was awarded the "University Prize for Freight Transport and Logistics", which is awarded by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure for outstanding teaching programmes offered by universities in the subject of logistics. In November 2015, Professor Baumgarten was appointed honorary member of the Association of German Industrial Engineers (VWI) in recognition of his lifetime achievements in industrial engineering.
Until 2017, more than 40 dissertations, master's and bachelor's theses have been supervised in the scientific field of infrastructure, transport and logistics for Africa, in addition to various research projects.