Robotics, AI, autonomous vehicles, renewable energy all grab headlines and promise great things as we move into the next year. Some of the projects that are in play are truly remarkable in the ways they are expected to change how we do things. The supply chain runs in the background of consumer activities and is more complex than most people who aren’t involved with the supply chain imagine. But when issues slow the process of getting goods to their final destinations everyone has opinions about what should be done to make things better. Global delivery giant DHL has some ideas of their own that leverage its presence and the technology available.
DHL is showing that it’s serious about changing how it manages and delivers supply chain services. The company is looking to spend some $300 million in a majority of its North American facilities in a bid to customize its services based on the needs of its individual customers. The specifics are still undefined but that seems to be part of the overall strategy.
Customization seems to be at the heart of this effort as the company looks to string together a variety of technologies that it’s been researching and piloting. The tech includes augmented reality, IoT, robotics, and process automation. And DHL hopes to deliver a configurable set of features and processes that deliver on a flexible and scalable resource that will meet changing needs of its current customers and draw in new ones.
E-commerce and omnichannel are increasingly part of everyday reality for companies trying to meet customer demands in a complex environment. DHL’s recent report identifies the exponential growth of e-commerce as having significant impact on 65 percent of companies responding to their query. Executives want faster delivery times that can more directly match changes in demand.
For its part DHL has already implemented technology changes in 85 of its 430 North American locations so it is gaining experience in selecting the appropriate technologies for its varied efforts. While robotics and automation are certainly part of the effort, the company is taking care to emphasize that the focus is on leveraging employees’ capabilities with more efficient ways to improve productivity.
Trend in place
DHL is putting its considerable resources behind innovation and the use of leading edge technologies. This is a trend we expect to see accelerate in the next year as workforce issues continue to tighten and consumer demand for immediate response and delivery impact every retailer and the companies that supply them. What kind of new tech initiatives are you pursuing for 2019?