Technology of DHL warehouses

Today in e-commerce, customers expect a shorter turnaround time after they buy, and most are accustomed to and want free shipping. Shorter order processing time is key in making that work, and Deutsche Post DHL Group is using everything from helper robots to routing apps of a sort to cut down the time it takes to pack a shipment at the warehouse. DHL nowadays is using some technologies in its warehousing business to be more efficient as :

Sensor technology

DHL wants to increase the use of sensors in logistics and sees a potential in using sensors, such as motion and depth sensors, to tell how much room there is left on a pallet, truck or at a warehouse.

Locus Robotics

Wheeled bin-carrying robots take lists of items that need to be added to shipments, optimize their route around the warehouse to get those items, and whisk themselves off to each one. The autonomous Locus helper robots have led to a reduction in order cycle time of 50% and new employee training time of 80%.

Faster order processing time is critical in being able to serve customers as quickly as possible, noted Ilaria Raniero, a senior supply chain analyst at DHL, and so is the faster training. “When it’s peak season, you want to be able to support higher volume right away by training employees quicker,” she said.  

Augmented reality (AR)

Vision Picking process  (AR) has helped to reduce new employee training time and streamline the order-packing process. DHL has conducted successful tests with augmented reality glasses on warehouse staff, when they pick goods. These glasses can scan barcodes, show the picking list, where goods are located and where the goods should be places. The picker can scan each item using the smart glasses’ camera, verifying that the item has been added. the following video to see more how they use the AR :

Group Smart

How do you reduce order cycle time as much as possible?  You’ve got to carve out any excess time in the warehouse you can find. 

DHL’s Group Smart software automatically takes orders that need to be packed and groups them for pickers to shorten the distance between bins for pickers to travel, It’s a kind of routing software — instead of walking up and down, up and down warehouse aisle after warehouse aisle, Group Smart creates a better path for the picker to minimize distance and time spent in packing.

People + Technology = A ‘more flexible’ supply chain

Rather than use technology to replace humans, DHL is using a “people + technology” philosophy that combines both to create a “simpler, more flexible, more capable” supply chain. Carl Behn, vice president of IT at DHL Supply Chain, told “One example of this is in the deployment of cobots to work side-by-side with humans. The combination increases productivity two-fold and enables DHL to accommodate its e-commerce peak day demand while reducing short-term labor dependencies”, Behn said

Finally, you may find the following video interesting to know more about all technologies that DHL is using to have ” Smart Warehouses”.

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