Agustín Croche
President Mexico
DHL Supply Chain
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View from the Top

Global Logistics Leader Bets on Digitalization and Innovation

By Gabriela Mastache | Fri, 06/12/2020 - 15:46

Q: What are the challenges of having a vast network that can cater to the needs of different industries?

A: DHL is a logistics company for the world and has become a global leader in the logistics arena. Thanks to its specialized solutions for growing industries such as technology, biological sciences and health services, energy, the automotive sector, consumption and retail, in addition to the company’s corporate responsibility and its presence in development markets, DHL has positioned as the best logistics company with an offering for the entire world.

We collaborate with many global companies and we help them make their local and global supply chains more efficient, agile and resilient. We are convinced that any industry requires better logistic processes to optimize its operations. We offer end-to-end services, with the commitment of providing operational excellence. We understand the logistics needs of our clients, we connect people and improve their lives and we support clients to make their supply chain more reliable, quick and flexible, especially in these times of global contingency. We also design and optimize the supply chain of our clients with the premise of continuous improvement to maximize value.

Each industry and each client has its own challenges, which may vary by geographical region. In this scenario, the global experience of DHL Supply Chain, as well as the solutions it has developed for each sector and the local knowledge it possesses, make it an ally to overcome any challenge and difficulty the company might face. Which is why is important to signal the emergence of new technologies that play an important role in optimizing operations, reducing costs and improving customer service, which are among the most important challenges that we currently face.

Q: What are the strategies that DHL is implementing in Mexico to ensure that its operations are as sustainable as possible?

A: We know that our clients, regardless of their size, are looking for new ways to becoming more ecologic and sustainable and we know that if we want the planet to be habitable for future generations, we need to work together to identify and reduce emissions, improve business sustainability and achieve a circular economy.

Given the role logistics has at a global level, we have committed to the objective of completely eliminating our emissions by 2050, in an attempt to become a reference point in the industry regarding commercially responsible practices. Moreover, by the year 2025, we expect to increase our carbon efficiency by 50% compared to 2007 levels, reducing local air pollution emissions by operating 70 percent of our own first and last mile services with clean pick-up and delivery solutions, such as bicycles and electric vehicles. We also want to have more than 50 percent of our sales incorporate Green Solutions and certify 80 percent of our employees as GoGreen specialists to get them involved in our environmental and climate protection activities.

DHL Supply Chain Mexico has increased its efforts to use alternative energies. One of our first priorities is electric mobility and automation, with devices developed in-house to boost optimization and development of the supply chain. An example of this is Sawyer, a next-generation collaborative robot that was designed to help the workforce in cero-defect processes, making more reliable the manufacturing line. Another example is the electric motorbike, an easy access vehicle that is not subject to the no-driving restrictions. In 2019 we launched our SPEC vehicles, which are hybrid and of Mexican creation and are also designed to optimize merchandise transfer and last-mile deliveries.

Q: How advanced is the digitalization of logistics services in Mexico and how can the country speed up this process?

A: Digitalization represents the largest logistics opportunity since globalization. Tools like the Logistics Trend Radar, published by DHL, allows to capture the development of trends for businesses, society and technology and has become a reference point for designing supply chain strategies. In past years, the adoption of these trends has transformed supply chains, making them 100 percent technological, increasing their response capability in a faster way.

The logistics industry already operates using solutions like Big Data analytics, omnichannel logistics, Internet of Things, and Order Management Systems that aim to make distribution centers more mechanic and to provide visibility to the logistics chain. There are important investments in the physical part of the chain, but even more, in the technological part to define what to do in the digitalization arena of every unit that is part of the logistics process. At DHL Supply Chain we have already incorporated these technologies alongside augmented reality, robots, automation, IA, 3D printers and autonomous vehicles.

In the transport sector, we use Robotic Process Automation (RPA), a “software robot” where code scripts are working on the interface of the users’ systems ¿ to automate workflows that are mundane, repetitive and non-cognitive. This is very different to physical robots like Sawyer or Effibot, which are collaborative machines inside warehouses.

Q: What are the challenges that last-mile services entail for logistic companies in Mexico?

A: We believe there are four key challenges for last-mile deliveries: security, trustworthiness, visibility and cost optimization. In 2017, DHL launched the Perfect Lane initiative, which entails the design of safe, direct, non-stops routes that allow for resource and time optimization, in addition to reducing delivery times from 72 to 24hr. So far, DHL has installed 21 consolidation nodes for this program, which has doubled the service offering to the primary transport network and has taken to a new level the transport of merchandise in our country. 

Our SPEC vehicles, depending on the clients’ configuration, are the ones that provide support to the supply chain, specifically in last-mile deliveries. These trucks can carry up to 17ft3 with their double cabin, which allows to make five deliveries in a single tour consecutively, avoiding any circulation restriction in metropolitan areas. These specifications allow for an efficient delivery, mainly in malls, while reducing our carbon footprint and optimizing costs for clients. We expect to deliver 100 units to our transport partners in the next months and to also include this solution for other sectors that the company tends to in Mexico.

Also, DHL’s Total Visibility program offers an integral IT tools solution to improve the service we provide to our clients, as well as traceability and operation control. We want to make our clients’ operations easier with Connected View, a platform that provides global visibility and real-time information. This information system is connected with all DHL Supply Chain systems that manage transport and warehouses and offers tracking solutions for all its clients.

Q: What are the challenges that logistic providers face to maintain their operations uninterrupted in emergencies like the COVID-19 outbreak?

A: Against the backdrop of the global COVID-19 outbreak, Deutsche Post DHL Group’s business operations are continuously adapting to mitigate potential impacts. As a global company, epidemic and pandemic risk scenarios are an integral part of the Group's continuous risk planning. The Group follows a holistic management process that enables our business units to ensure the best possible operations for our customers with the help of so-called business continuity planning, even in an emergency. The safety of our employees and customers is paramount. The Group's task force monitors the situation daily, coordinates with international organizations such as WHO, CDC, ECDC and the Robert Koch Institute and provides the necessary information to all employees.

 

DHL Supply Chain is part of the Deutsche Post DHL Group and the global leader for logistics solutions. It has presence in over 55 countries and territories and more than 146,000 employees focused in supply chain

Photo by:   DHL
Gabriela Mastache Gabriela Mastache Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst