DHL is investing in initiatives to further digitize the supply chain through new industry partnerships and an expanded rollout of robotic process automation technologies.
Today, 71 percent of businesses consider transportation to be strategic to their operations rather than merely a “commodity” and cost center, DHL found in a recent report. Most (75 percent) believe investing in transportation correlates to an increase in sales and more than 60 percent see the benefit of incorporating big data and artificial intelligence into the industry.
DHL’s partnership with Turvo, a collaborative logistics platform, will offer clients “contextual visibility,” enabling supply chain stakeholders to see and react to shipment data in real time.
Jim Monkmeyer, president of transportation for DHL Supply Chain, North America, described Turvo as a “critical component of our digitization efforts.”
“It enables easier collaboration and transparency for shippers and carriers,” he added. “By improving the way we work together across the entire supply chain we can improve efficiency and customer service simultaneously.”
And DHL has integrated digital freight network Convoy’s coterie of carriers into its application so that shippers have access to the latter’s real-time automated pricing. Not only that, but shippers also gain access to more capacity, DHL said, as well as guaranteed coverage.
Brooks McMahon, Convoy’s vice president of partnerships, noted the companies’ “shared emphasis on moving freight more efficiently.”
“Now DHL can easily access Convoy’s automated real-time pricing and secure capacity that can flex with their customers’ needs,” McMahon added.
DHL said results from a pilot of robotic process automation (RPA) have been so successful that it’s expanding the technologies throughout its business. RPA reduces many of the repetitive and manual processes that while necessary requires little human intuition or creative input, thereby freeing up personnel to focus on value-added tasks.
At DHL, RPA software assumes responsibility for tracking events, accumulating proof of delivery documents, and ensuring loads are scheduled. Allowing “machines” to manage these tasks decreases the frequency of errors stemming from manual input and increases the speed at which these duties are accomplished.
DHL said RPA eliminated 5,000 hours of manual work in North America and 30,000 hours worldwide.
“Before RPA many basic, day-to-day tasks would need to wait to be completed until capacity allowed,” Monkmeyer explained. “Now they are done quickly and with a high level of accuracy, freeing our employees to spend less time doing busy work and more time doing the strategic value-added work they enjoy.”