DHL delivers new robotics platform

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DHL delivers new robotics platform

By Dan Berthiaume - 06/24/2020

DHL Supply Chain is rolling out a “plug and play” robotics solution designed to ease the integration of automation into warehouses.

The supply chain subsidiary of global logistics company Deutsche Post DHL Group is collaborating with Microsoft and enterprise systems provider Blue Yonder to release the new platform. The solution leverages Microsoft Azure IoT and cloud platform services, and is powered by Blue Yonder’s Luminate digital fulfillment platform, which provides machine-learning (ML)-driven task management capabilities for warehouse operations.

The robotics platform is designed to reduce integration time and programming efforts to on-board new automation devices into warehouse facilities, while giving DHL customers more flexibility in selecting robotics systems suited to their individual business needs. 

DHL Supply Chain has implemented the platform at more than 2,000 operational sites. The company says its first implementation with 6 River Systems at one of its sites in Madrid, Spain is already showing a 60% reduction in integration times, with further improvements of up to 90% expected for subsequent deployments.

“The global deployment of robots and robotic systems is integral to our strategy to support our employees and improve customer operations,” said Markus Voss, global CIO and COO at DHL Supply Chain. “Automation and collaborative robotics help us make operational processes more flexible, ergonomic and more attractive to our employees by replacing monotonous, repetitive and particularly strenuous activities. The aim is not to replace employees over time, but to assign the more attractive and interesting tasks to our human workforce.”

“Building a resilient and flexible supply chain is essential to respond to constantly changing customer needs,” said Sam George, corporate VP Azure IoT at Microsoft. “By digitizing their warehouse solutions, DHL is dramatically simplifying the integration of complex IoT systems and unlocking new business opportunities for the logistics industry. The result: greater advancements in speed, global scale, cost reduction, and security.”

“By using Blue Yonder’s Luminate Platform, DHL was able to offer a solution that can be implemented across all of its distribution center sites seamlessly through a cloud SaaS application,” said Girish Rishi, CEO, Blue Yonder. “In the age of labor market shortages during peak season, DHL sites can now bring on a robotics vendor quickly to augment its resource capacity and support its workforce. This project was a true collaboration across all stakeholders.”