95 percent of companies are yet to realize the full benefits of digitalization technologies for their supply chains

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95 percent of companies are yet to realize the full benefits of digitalization technologies for their supply chains

DHL, the world's leading logistics company, today launched its latest research report on digitalization in the supply chain. The report reveals that new technologies and solutions are developing at a fast-pace and disrupting industries on multiple fronts, with supply chains struggling to keep up. The global survey of nearly 350 supply chain and operations professionals reveals that 95 percent of respondents are not fully capitalizing on the potential cost-reduction benefits that physical innovations and analytics offer.

'Digitalization and the supply chain: Where are we and what's next?' is a report by Lisa Harrington, President of the lharrington group LLC, commissioned by DHL to identify how the industry is coping with the fast-changing and disruptive environment posed by the rise of digitalization in the supply chain. Next-generation robotics, AI, AVs, blockchain, big data analytics and sensors are just some of the technologies that businesses must now consider integrating into their operations and supply chain strategies.

Respondents ranked big data analytics as the most important information solution with 73 percent reporting that their company was investing in this technology, ahead of cloud-based applications at 63 percent, the Internet of Things (IoT) at 54 percent, blockchain at 51 percent, machine learning at 46 percent and the sharing economy at 34 percent. Importance in physical hardware has focused on robotics with 63 percent of respondents ranking it as the most important physical technology, beating AVs at 40 percent, 3D printing at 33 percent, and augmented reality and drones at 28 percent.

Businesses are beginning to test the waters with 39 percent reporting that they are developing one or more information or analytics solution, but only 31 percent are doing the same for physical applications. The underlying reasons for the slow pace are symptomatic of traditional organizational change scenarios. For hardware technology applications, 68 percent of respondents said that reliability was the top concern, while 65 percent reported a resistance to change in their organization, followed by insufficient or prolonged return on investment at 64 percent. Comparatively, for information and analytics solutions, 78 percent of respondents reported that organizational siloes and legacy systems were the top impediments, followed by a lack of specialized talent expertise at 70 percent.

José F. Nava, Chief Development Officer, DHL Supply Chain, said, "This is a transformative juncture for the supply chain industry. The traditional model is facing unprecedented levels of disruption from new hardware technologies combined with information and analytics solutions. Technology offers considerable opportunity to reduce cost and improve profitability but it also means businesses that fail to adapt risk getting left behind. Our customers are increasingly looking to us to lead the way during this transition. One example demonstrating how DHL is also looking into future technologies is blockchain, where we are partnering with Accenture to test a concept that is aimed at preventing the counterfeiting of drugs, which Interpol estimates kills one million people each year. This trial incorporates blockchain into the pharmaceutical supply chain via a track-and-trace serialization system. This allows us to securely capture the unique identifier of each unit of a pharmaceutical shipment as it moves through the supply chain. The technology is nascent, yet promising, and we are excited about the opportunities it could bring to our customers in the future." 

It is vital for companies to digitalize processes to meet an ever-increasing demand to drive efficiency and flexibility, and improve the customer experience. The results of the research will help to further shape the DHL digitalization strategy. With a clear vision and a comprehensive portfolio of key technologies to capitalize on, DHL has already embarked on its digitalization journey, focusing its investment on innovations that have potential to solve real business problems and exploit new opportunities. For example, DHL already uses augmented reality in warehouses to drive efficiencies in picking, and warehouse robots are improving picking times and supporting employees in repetitive tasks such as Packaging Services. Software robots (robotics process automation) are taking over selected back-office processes. New sensors are providing our customers with real-time information about the location and condition of their goods, using IoT.

Adrian Kumar, Vice President, Solutions Design, North America at DHL Supply Chain, said, "It's evident that there's progress to be made on the digitalization front. Through proper analysis and leveraging smart optimization tools, DHL Supply Chain can digest data for customers and provide answers to help companies leverage technology and ultimately create a more intelligent and efficient supply chain."

You can download the "Digitalization and the supply chain: Where are we and what's next?" research report here.

Notes to Editors                                             

  •      The 335 respondents from around the world represented a range of sectors, including, automotive, consumer, life sciences, technology, engineering and manufacturing and more.  
  •      When respondents were asked about their adoption of both physical and information/analytics technologies, only 5 percent responded they were at a transformation supply chain-wide level of application leaving 95 percent as not yet realizing the full benefits.
  •      When respondents were asked on their anticipated top benefit from physical technologies, 82 percent reported reduced costs and improved profitability while 77 percent said the same for analytics-based digitalization.


Media Contact:

Nicole Porter

DHL Supply Chain

Phone: 614-865-8437

E-mail: nicole.porter@dhl.com


DHL – The logistics company for the world

DHL is the leading global brand in the logistics industry. Our DHL family of divisions offer an unrivalled portfolio of logistics services ranging from national and international parcel delivery, e-commerce shipping and fulfillment solutions, international express, road, air and ocean transport to industrial supply chain management. With about 350,000 employees in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide, DHL connects people and businesses securely and reliably, enabling global trade flows. With specialized solutions for growth markets and industries including technology, life sciences and healthcare, energy, automotive and retail, a proven commitment to corporate responsibility and an unrivalled presence in developing markets, DHL is decisively positioned as "The logistics company for the world".

DHL is part of Deutsche Post DHL Group. The Group generated revenues of more than 57 billion euros in 2016.

Media Contact: Courtenay Hollington, Fahlgren Mortine, 614.383.1626, courtenay.hollington@fahlgren.com

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