DHL Is Investing $300 Million In Robotics Process Automation, IoT, And AR

By Dan Anderson ● November 30, 2018

DHL’s logistics division DHL Supply Chain has announced that it is going to invest $300 million to accelerate the integration of emerging technologies in its facilities across North America. Of DHL’s 430 facilities, 350 of them will receive a technology upgrade.

The selected technologies will vary based on customer needs and pilot programs are going to be completed by DHL’s internal innovation teams along with collaboration with dozens of external innovators such as Locus RoboticsSome of the selected technologies include robotics, augmented reality, robotics process automation, Internet of Things devices, and DHL’s proprietary end-to-end visibility solution known as MySupplyChain.

“This investment is about a holistic view of emerging technologies that enables our customers to achieve their growth and profitability goals,” said DHL Supply Chain North America CEO Scott Sureddin in a statement. “Our customers’ needs are not homogenous as each business and segment has unique challenges and levels of maturity. Therefore, it is important that our customers can benefit from our experiences and expertise with a variety of emerging technologies.”

According to DHL’s research, the exponential growth of e-commerce and its implications on service has been identified by 65% of responding companies as having a major impact on supply chains. So executives have been turning to technology to provide faster delivery times in order to efficiently manage fluctuating demand. And DHL is leveraging emerging technologies at approximately 85 of its 430 North America facilities to keep up with e-commerce growth.

Sureddin added that technologies such as collaborative piece-picking robots, artificial intelligence applications, and self-driving vehicles are showing the most promise. These technologies will drive productivity gains and throughput capacity for customers’ businesses.

“These technologies enhance the value of our people; they don’t replace them,” explained DHL Supply Chain’s SVP of Human Resources Tim Sprosty. “Our team will be equipped with the most advanced technologies, trained on emerging ones and retained through a culture of innovation, collaboration and recognition. We believe this approach is a winning strategy not just for our business but for our customers’ businesses as well.”

This year, DHL broke ground on a 24,000-square-foot Americas Innovation Center outside of Chicago, which will exhibit the innovations that the business is implementing across the region. And the facility will foster the development of future logistics and supply chain solutions. This facility is expected to be opened next year.