The chief of DHL Sub Saharan Africa Hennie Heymans explains that technology will become widespread in logistics as the cost-performance-ratio tips for key trends such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the next years. Photo file.

JOHANNESBURG – DHL, an international express services provider, recently showcased the key trends that could impact the logistics industry in the next five to ten years, at an event held in Sandton, Johannesburg. 

Speaking at the event, Denis Niezgoda, DHL Customer Solutions and Innovation said: “We grow into future logistics verticals by partnering with think-tanks and academia, industry giants and start-ups alike, to incubate ideas and invest in new business models, catalysing business transformation.”

Attendees were able to interact directly with some of the groundbreaking technologies coming out of the Deutsche Post DHL Innovation Centre showcased on the day.

Among them, new internet of things (IoT) sensors, enabling connected processes that ensure end-to-end visibility; the Effibot – a collaborative follow-me robot assisting employees in their picking tasks and sensor technology.

Examples such as low-cost dimensioning sensor technology which can dimension any object within seconds, removing the need for time-consuming manual measuring processes using the measuring tape or existing but expensive industrial dimensioning systems.

Attendees also had the opportunity to take a virtual reality tour of the DHL Innovation Centre in Germany.

Key findings of the fourth edition of the DHL Logistics Trend Radar 2018/19 were also revealed.

Hennie Heymans, chief executive of DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa, says that digitisation is driving transformation in the logistics sector, making innovation more important than ever before.

Roadmap for innovation

“Our 2018/19 Logistics Trend Radar acts as a roadmap for innovation, helping to catalyze further industry-leading research and projects together with our customers and partners. In this edition, we have a strong focus on the digital revolution currently taking place in the industry, and its impact across four key elements defining the future of logistics: customer-centricity, sustainability, technology and people.”

“This Fresh Chain will require new innovations in packaging, storage and delivery of goods, such as groceries and pharmaceuticals. A key area for innovation in the last mile will be the integration of logistics services into smart home environments captured as the trend of Connected Life," said Heymans.

According to Heymans, Sustainability will become a mandate to operate in the logistics industry, as governments, cities and solution providers commit to sweeping agreements to cut down on CO2 emissions and waste. 

Heymans explains that technology will become widespread in logistics as the cost-performance-ratio tips for key trends such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the next years. 

One trend that can accelerate this is the spread of next-generation wireless networks that can significantly increase the economics and value derived from connectivity in the supply chain.

“Another trend highlighted in this edition is blockchain where there has been a lot of hype and promise for the technology, but achieving industry buy-in may prove a significant hurdle to adoption.”

 “Highly repetitive, physically intensive tasks will be aided by technology, enabling people to do more meaningful tasks that require management, analysis and innovation. Digital work concepts will be required to attract and retain millennial talent in logistics as well as to support the existing, aging logistics workforce,” said Heymens.

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