Inside Logistics

DHL opens innovation centre for the Americas

The 28,000-square-foot facility provides a collaborative space to explore innovation

September 20, 2019

ROSEMONT, Illinois – DHL has opened its Americas Innovation Center. Joining the DHL Innovation Center in Cologne, Germany, and the Asia Pacific Innovation Center in Singapore, the Americas Innovation Center will exhibit technologies that DHL is implementing across the region.

The 28,000-square-foot facility provides a collaborative space for DHL to work with its customers, its technology partners, staff and academics.

Establishing the new centre in the Americas is a high point in the celebration of DHL’s 50th anniversary this year. The opening event drew more than 300 guests including technology and logistics industry leaders, customers from across the region, local officials and DHL senior leadership.

“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.

“The Innovation Centers are the nucleus of our customer-centric innovation approach. They provide the platform for understanding emerging trends and discovering insights with the potential to drive real-world business impacts. 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 percent 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 facilitate better workplace processes for its employees.

DHL is implementing a variety of advanced technologies to boost productivity, lower costs and better serve evolving customer needs. 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 including 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 US$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 transportation operations.

DHL Express will continue to add more automation at its regional hubs, gateways and service centres, introduce robotics to help with shipment loading/unloading, expand the use of AI and machine learning for route optimization, apply repetitive process automation for billing tasks as well as continue the addition of chatbots and voice recognition tools for bookings, order tracking and improved customer service.