DHL publishes report on digitalization in the supply chain

DHL publishes report on digitalization in the supply chain

DHL has published a new report which argues that 95% of companies are yet to realize the full benefits of digitalization technologies for their supply chains.

The report, authored by by Lisa Harrington, President of the lharrington group LLC, found that next-generation robotics, AI, AVs, blockchain, big data analytics and sensors are among the technologies which businesses must now consider integrating into their operations and supply chain strategies.

The researchers polled nearly 350 supply chain and operations professionals  and found that respondents ranked big data analytics as the most important information solution with 73% reporting that their company was investing in this technology, ahead of cloud-based applications at 63%, the Internet of Things (IOT) at 54%, blockchain at 51%, machine learning at 46% and the sharing economy at 34%. Robotics  ranked as the most important physical technology with 63% of respondents, beating AVs at 40%, 3D printing at 33%, and augmented reality and drones at 28%.

Harrington commented: “There is no doubt that digitalization is having an incredible impact on supply chains and operations across the globe and is here to stay. Companies are faced with many options as new products and applications enter the market and gain acceptance in the industry. Having a purposeful strategy for supply chain digitalization is now essential to assess the new technological landscape and chart a way forward to reap the benefits and stay ahead of the competition.”

In a statement sent to Post&Parcel, DHL commented: “It is vital for companies to digitalize processes to meet an ever-increasing demand to drive efficiency and flexibility and improve the customer experience.

“The results of the research will help to further shape the DHL digitalization strategy. With a clear vision and a comprehensive portfolio of key technologies to capitalize on, DHL has already embarked on its digitalization journey, focussing its investment on innovations that have potential to solve real business problems and exploit new opportunities.

“For example, DHL already uses augmented reality in warehouses to drive efficiencies in picking and warehouse robots are improving picking times and supporting employees in repetitive tasks such as Packaging Services.

“Software robots (robotics process automation) are taking over selected back-office processes. New sensors are providing our customers with real time information about the location and condition of their goods, using Internet of Things.”

DHL also highlighted the progress is it is making with blockchain – currently one of the most talked-about new digital technology. The company is partnering with Accenture to test a concept that is aimed at preventing the counterfeiting of drugs. According to DHL: “This trial incorporates blockchain into the pharmaceutical supply chain via a track-and-trace serialization system. This allows us to securely capture the unique identifier of each unit of a pharmaceutical shipment as it moves through the supply chain. The technology is nascent, yet promising, and we are excited about the opportunities it could bring to our customers in the future.”

“Digitalization and the supply chain: Where are we and what’s next?” research report can be downloaded here.

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