IoT 4 mins read

DHL meets the future of logistics head-on

The logistics industry has undergone huge transformation with Covid-19. Read how DHL Express is meeting the future of logistics head-on from Software AG.

Thomas Alberti Thomas Alberti

There is one company that is not only dealing with supply chain woes, but also making sure that they don’t happen in the future. That company is DHL Express.

The logistics industry has undergone tremendous transformation with Covid-19, and these challenges continue throughout the supply chain with delays and disruption to deliveries globally. Post-Covid demand for goods and services overwhelmed the ability of transport and logistics to supply them.

But, DHL Express, with its international shipping, courier services and dedicated air fleet, was better prepared than many – it could respond in an agile manner to emergency and important deliveries.

In a Connecting Minds conversation between our CEO Sanjay Brahmawar and Dirk Olufs, Global Chief Information Officer DHL Express, we addressed why – overall – supply chains remain so fragile.

Olufs said: “When the pandemic started in early 2020, no one was 100% prepared for such a global event. Borders were closed, harbors were closed. Warehouses, shops and regulations all struggled to accommodate the speed of change.”

He said the pandemic impacted supply chains in many other ways, too – some of them permanent. During Covid, the previous urbanization trend was radically reversed, with more and more people moving to suburban and even rural locations. This created all new logistics problems.

“There has been tremendous impact on how everyone utilizes workspace and living space, and this is a challenge for logistics companies. In a way, WFH was a boon to delivery companies, because customers were at home to get their direct deliveries,” he said.

But whether you are at home, at work, or a bit of both, the important thing is that you receive your package. For DHL Express, “That means managing the last mile, how we can reach customers in best possible way,” said Olufs.

Sustainability is a hot topic these days for businesses, and corporate investors and shareholders take a company’s efforts very seriously. The logistics industry is one of the most carbon-intensive of them all, with emissions (trucks, ships, motorbikes, etc. for deliveries) and packaging (plastic, paper) posing big challenges. So, what can logistics companies do to lower their carbon footprint?

Olufs said: “We are taking sustainability measures very seriously, having set ourselves a deadline of 2050 for achieving net-zero emissions. It is a long transformation to get there, and we will invest seven billion euros by 2030 to find new ways to serve our customers.”

An excellent example of this is all-electric cargo freighter airplanes. DHL Express has ordered 12 Alice eCargo aircraft, with a capacity of 1.2 tons and a range of 815 km (440 nautical miles) and can be flown by a single pilot. They are planned to enter the DHL Express fleet in 2024.

DHL is also researching other measures such as sustainable aviation fuel and how to reduce the weight and volume of packaging to fit more into each shipment.

Automation and AI

Obviously, all of DHL’s endeavors require the best possible technology solutions. Olufs said that data tools and software are a huge help to finding the best solutions.

“The best shipments and delivery options depend upon data automation. AI and machine learning play a huge role. We want to be as efficient as possible and also be able to offer the best options for our customers,” said Olufs.

Software AG and DHL have had a long-standing partnership. I am proud to say our software, tools and teams support a major part of DHL Express’s business, to power all the great work it is doing worldwide.

You can watch the entire interview with Dirk Olufs on LinkedIn and hear more about how this leader in the field of logistics is meeting the future head-on.

Or, you can watch it below: