Friday, November 30, 2018

Freight and Logistics Group Adds More Technology to the Supply Chain

Investment to Cost Hundreds of Millions of Dollars
Shipping News Feature
US – Freight and logistics group DHL Supply Chain has announced a $300 million investment to deploy emerging technologies in 350 of its 430 facilities in North America. These will include transportation control towers and the company says will accelerate the implementation of selected technologies such as robotics, augmented reality, robotics process automation, IoT and DHL's proprietary end-to-end visibility solution, 'MySupplyChain'.

According to a recent report by the company, the exponential growth of e-commerce and its implications on service was identified by 65% of responding companies as having a significant impact on their supply chain. Executives are turning to technology in support of faster delivery times to efficiently manage fluctuating demand. In alignment with this trend, DHL says it is already leveraging emerging technologies at approximately 85 of its 430 North American facilities. DHL Supply Chain North America CEO Scott Sureddin, commented,

"This investment is about a holistic view of emerging technologies that enables our customers to achieve their growth and profitability goals. Our customers' needs are not homogenous as each business and segment has unique challenges and levels of maturity. Therefore, it is important that our customers can benefit from our experiences and expertise with a variety of emerging technologies. While many technologies are already in active deployment, collaborative piece-picking robots, artificial intelligence applications and self-driving vehicles stand to have the most promise today.”

DHL claims that existing deployments of these technologies have already produced productivity gains upwards of 25% and throughput capacity gains of 30% for some customers. These factors are two of the main drivers for accelerated investment in the coming years. Another is based on the make up of the workforce itself, which is widely regarded as one of the most significant challenges facing the logistics industry. Technology is one of the many levers DHL is utilising to attract and retain its team. Tim Sprosty, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at DHL Supply Chain, explained the approach, saying:

"These technologies enhance the value of our people; they don't replace them. Our team will be equipped with the most advanced technologies, trained on emerging ones and retained through a culture of innovation, collaboration and recognition. We believe this approach is a winning strategy not just for our business but for our customers' businesses as well."

Earlier this year, DHL broke ground on its Americas Innovation Centre that will exhibit the technologies and innovations the business is already implementing across the region. The facility is intended to foster the development of future logistics and supply chain solutions while serving as a regional platform for collaborative innovation. The 24,000-square-foot innovation centre, which is located just outside Chicago, is scheduled to open next year.