While DHL’s red and yellow package delivery vehicles may be a familiar sight to most people, what may be less familiar is DHL’s long-standing reputation as a supply chain leader. Now, DHL is revolutionizing the supply chain industry with their “warehouse as a service” approach. Using both in-house solutions and technology from partners like Microsoft, they’re scaling their AI-driven logistics model to more than 2,000 warehouses and 10,000 vehicles around the world and supporting business-to-business, business-to-consumer, and last-mile/direct-to-consumer logistics.

Explore DHL’s story
2/5

I think of supply chain in the future as ‘supply chain in a minute.’ If a customer comes to us and has a new product that they want to launch, we are able [to]—within minutes, hours, maybe days—set up a whole new supply chain so that they can sell that product to their customers, and that the customers have their products in their hands the next day.

Markus Voss CIO & COO, DHL Supply Chain
Markus Voss
CIO & COO, DHL Supply Chain

AI in action

DHL’s business naturally exists in a physical world with material-handling equipment and trucks pulling up to their gates. “There’s a lot of physical interaction,” explains Stefan Rank, Director of Global Innovation for DHL Supply Chain. “We are trying to digitize these events and understand then, from that digitized data, what can we do more efficiently.”

Here’s how AI has been helping DHL advance their warehouse operations while allowing them to become more sustainable and accelerating their ability to respond to customer demand.

We are trying to digitize these events and understand ... what can we do more efficiently.

Stefan Rank Director of Global Innovation DHL Supply Chain
Stefan Rank
Director of Global Innovation
DHL Supply Chain

Robotics

Inventory

Sustainability

COVID response

From proof of concept to company-wide implementation

In scaling AI innovation across their organization, DHL anticipated the need for agility when implementing the new technology. “Books have not yet been written on what we’re doing,” offers Fekko Roelofs, Global Program Manager, Robotics Platform, at DHL Supply Chain. “That requires partners like Microsoft that are able to start thinking about where we want to move without having anything already in your hands.” By creating a strong infrastructure to take AI from proof of concept to company-wide implementation, DHL is able to put the right tools and information into the hands of those who need them.

Books have not yet been written on what we’re doing.

Fekko Roelofs Global Program Manager, Robotics Platform, DHL Supply Chain
Fekko Roelofs
Global Program Manager, Robotics Platform, DHL
Supply Chain

/01

Prioritizing innovation

/02

Measuring results

/03

Productization

/04

Applicability

/05

Communications

5/5

Learning from DHL

DHL follows a structured process for scaling AI innovation in their warehouses, allowing them to roll out a solution across multiple locations and geographies, so they can benefit from their investments in AI multiple times, investing in teams for assessing trends, owning innovation, and educating their employees about new solutions.

What process will you create for scaling AI innovation in your organization?

Discover more about DHL