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DHL Supply Chain accelerates integration of emerging technologies in North America 30 November 2018

350 of its 430 facilities to receive a technology upgrade

DHL Supply Chain has announced plans to deploy emerging technologies in 350 of its 430 facilities in North America and transportation control towers as part of a US$300.0 million investment. Selected technologies will vary by customer needs, based on the outcomes of research and pilot programmes completed by DHL's internal innovation teams and collaboration with dozens of external innovators.

The availability, and practical utilisation, of these technologies is expected to help the diverse customer base including those addressing eCommerce and omnichannel challenges to minimise complexity, remove capacity constraints, and maximise service to their customers. Accelerating the implementation of selected technologies such as robotics, augmented reality, robotics process automation, IoT and DHL's proprietary end-to-end visibility solution, MySupplyChain, is the objective of DHL Supply Chain's global digitalisation strategy.

This investment is about a holistic view of emerging technologies that enables customers to achieve their growth and profitability goals. Customers' needs are not homogenous as each business and segment has unique challenges and levels of maturity. Therefore, it is important that customers can benefit from DHL’s experiences and expertise with a variety of emerging technologies.

While many technologies are already in active deployment, collaborative piece-picking robots, artificial intelligence applications and self-driving vehicles stand to have the most promise today. The potential impact on customers' businesses, which in some deployments have produced productivity gains upwards of 25.0% and throughput capacity gains of 30.0%, are two of the main drivers for accelerated investment in the coming years. DHL's experience with these technologies stands to minimise infrastructure costs and maximise service levels.

Another motivation is based on the workforce itself, which is widely regarded as one of the most significant challenges facing the logistics industry. Technology is one of the many levers DHL is utilising to attract and retain its team.