DHL Supply Chain, the contract logistics specialist within the Deutsche Post DHL Group, forges ahead on its path of digitalization by implementing Internet of Things technology into warehousing to optimize operational efficiency and lay the foundations for safer work practices. Together with Cisco and start-up Conduce, DHL is testing the technology at three pilot sites in Germany, the Netherlands and Poland.
The solution enables DHL to monitor operational activities in real-time through a responsive graphical visualization of operational data aggregated from sensors on scanners and material handling equipment, and DHL’s warehouse management system. Visualizing operational data with heat maps has changed the way data is analyzed and used at the pilot sites, and is expected to contribute to operational efficiencies and improve employee safety.
“Through our collaboration with Cisco and Conduce, we are integrating innovative solutions to build the digital supply chain of tomorrow today. This is changing the way we collect, analyze and use data, and ultimately, our ways of working at these sites. By monitoring operational activities in real-time rather than retrospectively, we can interpret data more meaningfully, and immediately re-engineer processes or warehouse layouts to boost operational efficiency and address potential safety blind spots in a warehouse,” says Markus Voss, Chief Information Officer & Chief Operating Officer, DHL Supply Chain.
DHL customers will benefit from Cisco’s and Conduce’s industry expertise in Wi-Fi infrastructure and operational data visualization respectively. The pilots have revealed valuable insights on activity peaks, warehouse layouts and processes by displaying concentrations of pickers and material handling equipment against a backdrop of warehouse orders in real time.
“In 2015, DHL and Cisco published a joint Trend Report on the ‘Internet of Things in Logistics’. Continuing jointly on the topic of digital transformation, we are turning IoT into reality within the warehouse environment. This is made possible by leveraging existing Cisco® Wi-Fi infrastructure within the warehouse to obtain location services together with the Conduce solution,” says Chris Dedicoat, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Sales & Field Operations, Cisco.
“The platform does not just display operational data, it unlocks insights on how well warehouses are running. By pulling together data of all elements in a warehouse environment into one unified, engaging interface, Conduce helps decision makers at DHL to achieve improved, measurable results in the real world,” says Kevin Parent, CEO, Conduce.
DHL actively drives digitalization into its supply chains to revolutionize processes across the entire value chain and reinvent the customer experience. Although many businesses have yet to tap the potential of a digitalized supply chain, DHL collaborates closely with customers, technology experts and think tanks to proactively develop digital solutions and transform the industry.