DHL Supply Chain, the contract logistics specialist within the Deutsche Post DHL Group, is forging ahead with digitalisation by implementing Internet of Things (IoT) technology into its warehousing.
Together with Cisco and start-up Conduce, DHL is testing technology to optimise operational efficiency and lay the foundations for safer work practices 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 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,” says Paul Stone, CEO: Africa and MD: South Africa at DHL Supply Chain. “The ability to monitor operational activities in the warehouse in realtime 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.”
Chris Dedicoat, executive vice-president: worldwide sales and field operations at Cisco, adds: “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(r) Wi-Fi infrastructure within the warehouse to obtain location services together with the Conduce solution.”
DHL customers will benefit from Cisco and Conduce’s industry expertise in WiFi 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 realtime.
“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 of Conduce.