Visit to DHL Innovation Center

by Alwyn Loh, Global MBA Student Ambassador
Thanks to the Career Services Team at ESSEC Asia-Pacific, we were lucky to have the opportunity to go on a private tour of the DHL Innovation Center in Singapore. Located at DHL’s Asia headquarters, the Innovation Center is the second of its kind in the world, and first outside of Germany. Innovation manager Tamara Sanchez led us around, explaining in extensive detail DHL’s current thrust to integrate cutting-edge technology across its operations. With the increasing pace of digital transformation and technological disruption, it was interesting to note that even a giant in the global logistics industry is not immune to such changes and has to make a concerted effort to renew itself in order to remain economically competitive.

I was amazed at the amount of effort that DHL has taken to streamline and optimize its overall operations across every stage of the package handling process. From smart sensors integrated into the engines of its delivery vehicles that would reduce servicing downtime; to the use of augmented reality eyepieces in its warehouses to eliminate human-misplaced packages; to the increased adoption of robotics with object-recognition capabilities into its sorting process; to specially designed shipping containers for critical cold supply chain or explosion-prone flammable cargo; and even designing and building its own durable last-mile electric delivery vehicle. It was very insightful, to say the least.
To top it off, all of these advancements are taking place under the corporate challenge of becoming a completely carbon neutral company by the middle of the 21 st century. In addition to logistics, DHL has also taken steps to market its in-house, real-time risk-management data to external parties as an early warning tool for potential product chain disruptions. We saw how DHL continues to be vigilant against challenges to its business model in a sea of technological disruption in the logistics industry. At the same time, DHL has also quickly integrated such advancements to bolster its operational capabilities. Overall, it was an impressive overview of how DHL tackles classic logistical challenges with renewed vigor.

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