Logistics giant DHL has showcased some of the new technologies it is developing at its new innovation center in the US.
Based in the Chicago area, the center will serve as a gathering point for DHL technology partners and customers to explore new solutions.
DHL is expanding its global innovation footprint to the Americas region with the grand opening its “Americas Innovation Center”.
Joining the DHL Innovation Center in Troisdorf near Bonn, Germany, and the Asia Pacific Innovation Center in Singapore, the Americas Innovation Center will exhibit technologies that DHL is already implementing across the region as well as investigate future solutions that can provide significant productivity and efficiency gains.
“Innovation has been a driving force for DHL since its inception in 1969,” says Ken Allen, CEO of DHL e-commerce solutions and board member for customer solutions and innovation at Deutsche Post DHL Group, which looks after DHL’s largest customers.
“Now with three Innovation Centers around the world, DHL can leverage the power of innovation to serve customers and play an active role in shaping the future of logistics.
“DHL is an organization that prioritizes thinking differently to deliver excellence, and I’m proud we now have this platform in the Americas to extend these capabilities to partners in their own backyard.”
The state-of-the-art 28,000 square foot facility provides a collaborative space for DHL to work with its customers, its technology partners, and academics as well as tap the innovative power of its employees.
Establishing the new center in the Americas is a high point in the celebration of DHL’s 50th anniversary this year.
The opening event drew more than 300 guests including technology and logistics industry leaders, customers from across the region, local officials and DHL senior leadership.
“Innovation enables DHL to be at the forefront of game-changing solutions for the supply chain industry,” says Matthias Heutger, global head of innovation and commercial development at DHL.
“The Innovation Centers are the nucleus of our customer-centric innovation approach. They provide the platform for understanding emerging trends and discovering insights with the potential to drive real-world business impacts.
“DHL was the first player to utilize picking robots, for example, in North American warehouses. Self-driving robots to support order picking can increase picking rates up to 200 percent which is significant in a fast-moving, globalized e-commerce environment.”
The four DHL business units operating in the Americas are committed to investing in coming years in the development and adoption of new technologies that can improve operations, better the customer experience, lower costs and facilitate better workplace processes for its employees.
As a global leader in logistics, DHL continuously evaluates innovative customer-centric solutions, already implementing a variety of advanced technologies to boost productivity, lower costs and better serve evolving customer needs.
For instance, DHL Supply Chain, the contract logistics specialist within Deutsche Post DHL Group, has already seen significant productivity increases, especially in peak season, by using various robotic solutions including automated guided vehicles that can ferry goods through warehouses, mobile robots that can facilitate order fulfillment in e-commerce operations and collaborative robots designed to help with repetitive tasks, such as picking and packing.
As part of its commitment to invest in new technologies, DHL Supply Chain said last November it would be investing $300 million in 2018 and through this year to deploy emerging technologies to 350 of its 430 North American facilities and transportation control towers.
The company is also investing in the development of a new digital platform to manage its transportations operations.
DHL Express, the world’s leading international express delivery company, will continue to add more automation at its regional hubs, gateways and service centers, introduce robotics to help with shipment loading / unloading, expand the use of AI and machine learning for better route optimization, apply repetitive process automation for billing tasks as well as continue the addition of chatbots and voice recognition tools for bookings, order tracking and improved customer service.
DHL Global Forwarding, the top specialist in air and ocean transport, is working with improved technology to track packages and handle temperature-sensitive shipments as well as implementing warehouse automation with RFID tracking to track cargo location, shipment consolidation and shipping schedules.
DHL Global Forwarding unveiled yesterday a new advanced data analytics tool designed for clients with highly sensitive cargo such as the life sciences and healthcare sector.
It provides quick analysis and insights for better decision-making such as the optimal trade lanes to utilize, verification of temperature controls in transit, and the ability to analyze and reduce risks.
Like DHL Express, DHL Global Forwarding is using virtual reality for employee training programs in several countries in the Americas.
DHL eCommerce Solutions, a major provider of domestic and cross-border delivery services for online retailers, is also using automation and robotics to improve productivity in its distribution centers.
It’s utilizing new software solutions to optimize inventory management for its merchants and improve the last-mile delivery experience for consumers.