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DHL to leverage Internet of Things in Logistics

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Paul Stone, CEO Africa and MD South Africa, DHL Supply Chain.
Paul Stone, CEO Africa and MD South Africa, DHL Supply Chain.

DHL Supply Chain, the contract logistics specialist within the Deutsche Post DHL Group, in collaboration with Cisco and start-up Conduce, have forged ahead on their path of digitalisation by implementing Internet of Things technology into warehousing to optimise operational efficiency, and lay the foundations for safer work practices.

DHL has begun testing the technology at three different pilot sites in Germany, the Netherlands and Poland.

Improved operational efficiency and safety

The solution enables DHL to monitor operational activities in real-time through a responsive graphical visualisation of operational data aggregated from sensors on scanners and material handling equipment, and DHL’s warehouse management system. Visualising operational data with heat maps has changed the way data is analysed and used at the pilot sites, and is expected to contribute to operational efficiencies and improve employee safety.

“I am excited to be at the forefront of this innovative digital supply chain solution. The ability to monitor operational activities in the warehouse in real-time provides DHL the opportunity to proactively re-engineer processes. This way we further enhance the service levels provided to our customers, improve productivity, and provide a platform for our people to be safe in the workplace,” says Paul Stone, CEO Africa and MD South Africa, DHL Supply Chain.

DHL customers benefit with visualised operational data

“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.

DHL customers will benefit from Cisco and Conduce’s industry expertise in Wi-Fi infrastructure and operational data visualisation respectively. The pilot sites 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.

“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 achieve improved, measurable results in the real world,” says Kevin Parent, CEO, Conduce.

DHL actively drives digitalisation into its supply chains to revolutionise processes across the entire value chain and reinvent the customer experience. Although many businesses have yet to tap into the potential of a digitalised supply chain, DHL collaborates closely with customers, technology experts and think tanks to proactively develop digital solutions and transform the industry.

Staff Writer

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