DHL has broken ground for a new Innovation Center in Rosemont, Ill., that will exhibit the technologies and innovations in logistics that DHL is already implementing across the region, and drive development of future logistics and supply chain solutions.
When it opens–slated for summer 2019–it will join the DHL Innovation Center in Troisdorf, Germany, and the Asia Pacific Innovation Center in Singapore, to serve as a regional platform for collaborative innovation for the Americas region.
“With our third Innovation Center worldwide, we will be able to create a platform for research and collaborative innovation between DHL customers, start-ups, academia, industry partners and innovation experts in the Americas region,” Matthias Heutger, senior vice president and global head of innovation and commercial development at DHL. “This visionary innovation center will further promote and nurture our worldwide leading position as the logistics innovation frontrunner in one of our key markets. It will also help us to further build on successful partnerships that we have established with technology leaders and innovative start-ups in the region.”
DHL said the new center elevates its logistic innovation footprint in the Americas, where it has already implemented advanced technologies in all of its operations to boost productivity and serve the evolving needs of customers. For example, DHL Supply Chain, the contract logistics unit of DHL Group, has seen 15 percent average productivity increases in trials of augmented reality technology in warehouses using smart glasses that provide visual displays of order picking instructions and item locations. It has also deployed drones with surveillance cameras to improve security at warehousing sites in Brazil and Mexico.
Robotics, ranked the most important physical technology with 63 percent in a recent global survey by DHL, also play a key role in DHL’s innovation activities. DHL Supply Chain uses collaborative robots designed to help with repetitive and precise tasks, such as picking and packing, in a number of its North American warehouses. DHL Global Forwarding and DHL Express also use virtual reality and artificial intelligence in countries like the U.S. and Chile for employee training programs, and to optimize customer service, the company noted.
The Americas Innovation Center will house DHL’s logistic innovations and robotics, and will offer customers and partners a look into the future of logistics, showcasing visions of what the world and its transport infrastructure might look like in 2050. It will also feature the latest technology trends in robotics and automation, artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles, the Internet of Things and virtual reality.
The 24,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility will be able to host trend and innovation events for up to 300 guests with high-tech features, futuristic designs and significant meeting spaces that will be available to the public.
“While inspiring our visitors in a unique environment and connecting them with logistics and innovation experts, we aim to support strategic customer engagement that has the potential to create new business and leverage thought leadership to explore the different ways in which technological development can benefit DHL and our customers in the future,” Heutger added. “Our new Americas Innovation Center–in close proximity to some of the world’s most dynamic technology and innovation hubs–will help us to shape the future of logistics.”