Global parcel delivery company DHL has opened its new Americas Innovation Center, which will exhibit technologies that DHL is already implementing across the region as well as investigate future solutions that can provide productivity and efficiency gains.
The new facility, located in Rosemont, Illinois, joins the DHL Innovation Center in Troisdorf near Bonn, Germany, and the Asia Pacific Innovation Center in Singapore.
The 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.
“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. “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%, 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 create better workplace processes for employees, said the company.
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. These new systems include 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.
“Innovation has been a driving force for DHL since its inception in 1969,” said Ken Allen, CEO of DHL eCommerce Solutions and board member for customer solutions and innovation at Deutsche Post DHL Group. “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 Express said it 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 to add chatbots and voice recognition tools for bookings, order tracking and improved customer service.