DIGITAL INGENUITY TRIUMPHS OVER LOGISTICS CHALLENGES AT DHL ASIA PACIFIC INNOVATION DAY

Press Release: Singapore 03/16/2017

  • DHL Asia Pacific Innovation Day award winners include a web-based platform for tracking highly complicated elevator shipments; and a digital payment solution that enables cash-on-delivery payments in India
  • Infinium Robotics wins the vote from 140+ logistics and business leaders for its use of intelligent and autonomous solutions in robotics and unmanned aerial systems to automate warehouse stocktake and inventory processes

Supply chain optimization platforms, digital payment, and robotics and unmanned aerial solutions were amongst the inventions which took center stage at the DHL Asia Pacific Innovation Day yesterday, hosted at the DHL Asia Pacific Innovation Center in Singapore. Focused on driving the future, DHL Asia Pacific Innovation Day showcased some of the latest trends and technologies shaping the logistics industry, awarding projects that have already applied these ideas to real-world challenges.

One such project, which received the Most Innovative Customer Award, involved DHL collaborating with Schindler Lifts to develop a bespoke web-based tracking and optimization platform for their operations in Australia. Based on two years’ worth of past shipment data, the platform allows the elevator manufacturer to shave more than AU$500,000 from their annual running costs. The platform gives Schindler Lifts full visibility over the warehousing, shipping, and last-mile delivery of its elevator shipments, allowing the business to optimize end-to-end supply chain movements based on their required delivery dates. 

“The platform has enabled visibility at every stage of the process from collection to final delivery at the specified site address. Should any unexpected changes occur, both DHL and Schindler have the ability to instantly adjust with the amended delivery dates,” said George Lekkas, Strategic Procurement Manager, Schindler Lifts Australia. “Many logistics players are touting the potential of real-time tracking and data analytics to transform supply chains, but DHL has put those ideas into practice in a way that not only overcomes our unique shipment handling challenges, but can easily scale to meet ongoing growth in the Australian construction industry.”

The Innovation Day also saw an award go to a digital payment solution developed by DHL eCommerce subsidiary Blue Dart, which enables couriers in India to collect cash-on-delivery (COD) payments through mobile Point of Sale devices and 15 different secure digital wallet options instead of physical cash. The system, which rolled out just as the Indian government took INR 500 and 1,000 notes out of circulation, enabled delivery staff to not only continue but significantly increase collection of COD payments, saving them more than 29 man-months between October 2016 and February 2017.

“The digital payment solution enables Blue Dart and DHL to continue providing Indian consumers and merchants with the COD options that they prefer, in a way that minimizes many of the security and handling risks associated with cash handling,” said Daniel Matthews, General Manager, Systems, Blue Dart. “Given the significant impact of the demonetization on COD throughout India, the system’s success highlights how merchants can maintain sales and differentiate themselves by bringing traditional delivery processes into the digital era.”

Infinium Robotics won the popular vote in the DHL Innovation Day’s Startup Challenge, with the majority of the event’s over 140 attendees being convinced by the company’s vision to automate warehouse stocktake and inventory processes with autonomous drones. Infinium Robotics will be exhibiting its drone guidance platform in the DHL Innovation Center. The platform and Infinium's drone hardware will be further explored by DHL for piloting in real operations. 

"When flying indoors, drones face none of the regulatory issues that have stymied their widespread adoption for last-mile deliveries and other outdoor applications," said Junyang Woon, CEO, Infinium Robotics. "Infinium's platform automates everything from highly precise indoor navigation to recharging at a network of charge points, allowing warehouse operators to reliably track, manage, and optimize their inventories in real-time and at significantly reduced costs. That, in turn, improves everything from worker safety - often put at risk due to the sheer height of warehouse racks - to the productivity of warehouses in today's 24/7 fulfilment environment."

Other highlights of DHL Asia Pacific Innovation Day included keynote sessions on artificial intelligence, electric vehicles, and new models for innovation being applied in Asia’s cities. 

“Asian businesses have a growing appetite and risk threshold when it comes to innovation,” said Pang Mei Yee, Vice President, Innovation, Solution Delivery & Service Management, Asia Pacific, DHL. “With more than 4,000 people visiting our Asia Pacific Innovation Center last year, we continue to explore the possibilities of technologies like robotics, electric vehicles, and data analytics for next-generation logistics, developing them into practical applications that businesses can use to improve their performance in the here and now.”