Company plans to use more robots and automation technologies across its global operations
Logistics giant DHL has opened what it calls an “Advanced Regional Center” in Singapore.
The $120 million, 90,000 sq m facility features a $14 million multi-customer automation system featuring advanced robotics.
DHL has been on a mission to roboticize and automate its entire global supply chain. The company claims to be the largest logistics company in the world.
The company further boasts that its Singapore facility “redefines logistics”, and says it represents a 40 per cent growth in DHL Supply Chain’s warehousing footprint in Singapore.
DHL says the “pioneering system” allows customers to enjoy the benefits of an automation solution without the need for significant capital investment.
The technological enhancement uses 130 robotic shuttles to pick and store products from 72,000 locations spread across 26 levels, improving picking efficiency by 20% and utilizing 40% less space than conventional warehousing operations.
This is the first of its kind deployed by DHL globally and creates a model for the future of warehousing in land-scarce countries and dense cities where land availability is limited and expensive.
Dr Frank Appel, chief executive officer, Deutsche Post DHL Group, says: “As an organization, our spirit thrives on a hunger for new knowledge and innovations that we can bring to customers to meet the challenges of Industry 4.0, the fourth industrial revolution.
“We see the Asian region as a swift adopter of technologies for enhanced productivity and efficiency. By 2020, Asia will constitute 30 per cent of our total revenue.
“Facilities like the Advanced Regional Center offer a ready model of innovations that reduce complexity, improve accuracy and maximize opportunities for productivity gains.”
Co-located within the ARC is the DHL Asia Pacific Innovation Center (APIC), DHL’s first innovation center outside of Germany and a joint development with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).
Launched in 2015, APIC is the first dedicated center for innovative logistics services in the Asia Pacific region and showcases futuristic technologies.
Mr Kelvin Wong, assistant managing director of the Singapore Economic Development Board, says: “We are witnessing a pivotal chapter in the transformation of the Singapore logistics industry, as these best-in-class supply chain practices exemplified by DHL’s Advanced Regional Center start to take off in Singapore.
“DHL’s decision to locate their first innovation center outside of Germany in Singapore is another testimony to Singapore’s commitment to promote supply chain innovation.
“It is also a vote of confidence that Singapore is well-placed to support companies in their efforts to explore and create new businesses here to serve Asia. These developments are significant milestones in DHL’s partnership with Singapore,”
Singapore: a base for regional logistics hubs
As a multi-customer facility, the Advanced Regional Center also offers bespoke solutions to cater to specific industry needs. For example, the facility boasts clean rooms for Life Sciences & Healthcare businesses, specialized infrastructure for aerospace operations and customized storage solutions for managing service parts for technology customers.
Purpose-built to industry-leading standards, the ARC facility has been awarded “gold status” for its energy and environmental design. The company has also implemented robust security measures that are in accordance with global TAPA standards.
Oscar de Bok, chief executive officer, Asia Pacific, DHL Supply Chain, says: “We’ve seen swift take-up from multinational companies using the Advanced Regional Center (ARC) as their regional or global logistics hub.
“It also includes a multi-customer automated solution – solutions like this have previously shown within DHL to provide a space optimization of up to 40 per cent and substantial productivity improvements, and are especially useful for customers with high value, fast moving goods which need to be processed in high volumes on a daily basis, ensuring speed, accuracy and security.
“By providing this solution in a multi-customer environment, it uniquely opens these types of solutions and advantages to a wider customer base. The system is modular in design and can be expanded depending on customer needs.”
Jason Goh, managing director, Singapore, DHL Supply Chain, says: “The ARC is at the cutting-edge of supply chain innovation and employs in excess of 1,000 colleagues across the Country Office, Operations and Regional Office.
“In addition, we also operate an award-winning regional contact center which operates 24 hours every day, offering customer support in 10 languages. When advanced technology meets great customer service, that’s the winning formula we bring to our customers.”