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Artificial Intelligence: DHL algorithm makes e-fulfillment more effective

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Artificial Intelligence: DHL algorithm makes e-fulfillment more effective. Image: DHL
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The COVID crisis has resulted in steadily growing online sales. Especially online orders of everyday staples, such as food, medicines and other drugstore products, are higher today than before the pandemic.

The trend poses challenges for retailers worldwide. In many cases, orders have increased, but the size of shipments is smaller. New and more diversified product ranges means more stock keeping units for online retailers. Moreover, end customers expect fast, sometimes even same-day delivery with high transparency and traceability.

To meet these challenging e-commerce needs, DHL Supply Chain – market leader in contract logistics and part of Deutsche Post DHL Group – is increasingly relying on intelligent, IT-based forecasting and analysis tools to optimize warehousing and processing of online orders for major e-sellers.

“The COVID crisis has shown us that unforeseen volume fluctuations for individual products can put enormous stress on supply chains. Lack of clarity regarding stock levels and incorrect data on availability can lead to bottlenecks for individual products and then delays in delivering to end customers,” explains Markus Voss, CIO & COO at DHL Supply Chain.

“We are working with our customers – large online stores and retail companies – on more stress-resilient, reliable algorithms and tools to better anticipate demand fluctuations, optimize the allocation of manpower and thereby accelerate the throughput of goods and order cycles.”

“Our IDEA analysis tool is one of our many answers to these e-commerce challenges,” says Dietmar Steins, EVP Solutions Design at DHL Supply Chain. “With its algorithm, this ‘artificial intelligence’ solution helps optimize picking routes within the warehouse. Orders are also clustered logically, which helps optimize picking by our colleagues in the warehouses. The integrated, intelligent task planning can also optimize workload distribution for warehouse staff and help prioritize more time-critical shipments. Moreover, IDEA reduces error rates as well as the time required for employee training.”

Overall, the IDEA algorithm can significantly improve order-picking processes in DHL-operated warehouses. The costs involved are comparatively low since the software, developed by DHL, is compatible with most traditional warehouse management systems and can be integrated easily into existing IT infrastructure. In its first commercial deployments, the solution has reduced distance traveled by warehouse employees by up to 50% and increased productivity of individual DHL locations by up to 30%.

DHL Supply Chain developed and designed the IDEA software solution specifically for use in e-fulfillment warehouses. The contract logistic specialist employs a dedicated team of some 350 developers, engineers and solutions designers to develop and optimize warehouse logistics processes on behalf of its clients.

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Logistics & Supply Chain

Metapack launches new shipping plans for retailers

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Metapack launches new shipping plans for retailers. Image: Unsplash
Metapack launches new shipping plans for retailers. Image: Unsplash
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Metapack, the global leader in ecommerce delivery technology, announced that it has launched new shipping plans for retailers around the world. From small and medium businesses to large global enterprises, the new transparent pricing models from Metapack have been launched to help retailers expand their business by providing quick and direct access to its Delivery Manager platform.

As the shift to ecommerce becomes more prevalent, it’s essential for all retailers to have access to the right scalable shipping technology and infrastructure to meet the growing delivery experience demands from consumers. Recent research highlights that 86% of consumers plan to continue shopping more online after the pandemic, with 42% planning to make fewer trips to stores. Sitting alongside Metapack’s Enterprise plan, the new Essential and Professional shipping bundles are transparent and easy-to-use, providing retailers with the shipping tools needed to make order fulfillment effortless. In addition, Metapack also integrates seamlessly with ecommerce technologies, including warehouse management systems like Peoplevox and shopping cart platforms like Magento.

“We’ve created the new Essential and Professional shipping plans with small and medium businesses in mind. The retail ecosystem has rapidly evolved over the last 18 months, and businesses now need to ensure they have the capabilities to deliver easily and provide great delivery experiences to their consumers moving forward,” said Bruce Fair, CRO at Metapack. “Our new pricing plans are debunking the myth that you need to be huge corporation to access world-class shipping solutions. Access to our Delivery Manager platform isn’t expensive or complex, we’ve made it simple and easy for retailers of all shapes and sizes who are looking to grow their ecommerce business.”

Delivery Manager: Access to 400+ carriers and 4,900+ delivery service

Metapack’s Delivery Manager enables easy access to the world’s largest carrier network from a single integration, providing retailers with different delivery choices, while removing the need for costly multiple integrations. Using Delivery Manager, retailers are able leverage Metapack’s technology and intelligently select the right delivery service for each order, and quickly generate carrier compliant labels and customs documents for all shipments.

Ahead of an expected strong ecommerce peak season, it’s crucial that retailers can deliver on their promise to consumers, especially as research found that almost 40% of consumers said they would not return to a retailer following a bad delivery experience. By leveraging Metapack’s technology, retailers are not only able provide more delivery choice, but also retain and create new customers.

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DSV inaugurates the largest integrated logistics centre in Africa

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DSV inaugurates the largest integrated logistics centre in Africa. Image: DSV
DSV inaugurates the largest integrated logistics centre in Africa. Image: DSV
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DSV inaugurates the new Gauteng HQ in South Africa, DSV Park Gauteng, which is Africa’s largest integrated logistics centre. With this centralised facility DSV will be able to provide more seamless service to customers which is an integral part of creating a strengthened and more efficient logistics network in South Africa.

DSV has consolidated its Gauteng operations in South Africa into a new, centralised facility which is the largest of its kind in Africa. It is situated near O.R. Tambo International Airport between Johannesburg and Pretoria and with easy access to the East and West Rand. The logistics centre consists of approx. 130,000 m2 of buildings and covers supply chain solutions from first to last mile controlled and managed under one roof, by DSV.

The investment in DSV Park Gauteng is a testament to DSV’s commitment to South Africa and to continuing to strengthen the logistics infrastructure in the country to the benefit of DSV customers and the South African society.

The new DSV logistics centre is officially being inaugurated at a virtual ceremony today, and the ceremony host and CEO of DSV Africa, Keith Pienaar, says:

“The inauguration of DSV Park Gauteng once again underlines DSV’s strong commitment to South Africa and our will to grow the business in the region. DSV Park Gauteng consolidates several smaller offices and warehouses around Johannesburg into one large, modern logistics centre.

The foundation of our values and culture is to promote an inclusive workforce and sustainable business practices. One consolidated facility will enhance collaboration and offer truly integrated supply chain solutions for our clients and customers.”

A large-scale and modern logistics facility

The sprawling complex houses a logistics warehouse of 79,000 m², a cross-dock facility of 41,000 m² and office space of 10,000 m². DSV’s divisions Air & Sea, Road, Solutions as well as the Shared Services function will be inhabiting the new logistics centre while other specific units such as Healthcare and parts of Mounties and Solutions will continue out of their current specialised facilities.

“With DSV Park Gauteng, DSV has developed a large-scale modern logistics centre which captures the essence of our consolidation strategy to create larger and more efficient facilities, enabling us to have many of our business units together under one single roof.”

“We have packed the new DSV facility with solutions such as an innovative sorter that can handle 12,000 packages every single hour. Throughout the whole building process, we have also utilised our global experience to construct buildings where sustainability and resource optimisation have been fundamental in all processes,” says Brian Almind Winther, EVP and Head of Group Property, DSV.

DSV Park Cape Town

To further improve the infrastructure nationally in South Africa, DSV is also building a consolidating logistics centre in the Western Cape called DSV Park Cape Town. This site will be located near the Cape Town International Airport, and close to the harbour and industrial and commercial hubs.

Building for the future

Innovation, sustainability and employee safety are key to the design of the buildings. The implementation of biometrics, solar power, translucent roof sheeting, recycling stations, LED motion lighting, boreholes and water filtration systems ensure that the facility is aligned to DSV’s global strategy of sustainable operations, reducing our impact on the environment.

Local community

DSV worked closely with contractors and the local community to ensure they were included in the development of DSV Park Gauteng. DSV has sourced vehicles and created opportunities for people from the local community to work on site.

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Logistics & Supply Chain

GEODIS Partners with AHS to Implement Exotec Robotic Solution

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GEODIS Partners with AHS to Implement Exotec Robotic Solution. Image: GEODIS
GEODIS Partners with AHS to Implement Exotec Robotic Solution. Image: GEODIS
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GEODIS announced the expansion of its eLogistics service in the U.S. to provide best-in-class e-Commerce fulfillment solutions for startups and growing e-Commerce retailers from four new strategic GEODIS eLogistics locations. GEODIS will partner with AHS to integrate the Exotec Skypod System into GEODIS’ state-of-the-art automated eLogistics facility that will go live in Nashville, Tenn., in Q1 of 2022. An agile and high-performing automated goods-to-person solution for the retail and e-Commerce industries, the Exotec Skypod System is the first of its kind to use mobile robots that can move in three dimensions and reach heights of 36 feet to enable efficient, high-density inventory storage.

“eLogistics is an important strategic initiative for our company, and collaborating with our long-term partners at AHS in new technology with Exotec will be winning formula for our exciting new product,” said Eric Douglas, Executive Vice President of Technology and Engineering at GEODIS in Americas. “By implementing the Exotec Skypod System into our GEODIS eLogistics site, we can enable an even faster shipping experience for our customers as e-Commerce continues to drive demand.”

Exotec has revolutionized the fulfillment industry in Europe and Japan and continues to grow its presence in the U.S. market with customers like Gap Inc., Ariat International and Comoto Holdings recently adopting the Skypod system. The Exotec Skypod uses laser scanner navigation and robust software to increase warehouse throughput by up to five times with a two-minute response time for all SKUs. The system is designed to improve working conditions and foster more sustainable warehouse productivity by reducing highly repetitive, physically intensive tasks like walking, lifting and bending.

“The hockey-stick growth of e-Commerce coupled with the growing importance of supply chain resilience continue to be a massive tailwind for scalable robotics solutions like Exotec,” said Romain Moulin, CEO of Exotec. “We are delighted to join forces with AHS and GEODIS to better serve the rapidly evolving needs of the North American market.”

“AHS has been working with GEODIS for several years and has formed a strategic partnership to provide ground-breaking solutions to assist the company with best-in-class offerings,” said Chuck Frank, President of AHS. “The AHS team is committed to being on the cutting edge of technology and expanding its market share by investing in the training, deployment and post go-live support of trending technologies. Exotec is a great strategic partner of AHS, and we are excited about yet another successful installation of an Exotec solution. AHS is thrilled to be a part of GEODIS’ eLogistics service, and we congratulate their team on their commitment to pushing technology to new levels.”

The leading integrator of the Exotec solution in North America, AHS will complete the installation of the system into GEODIS’ eLogistics facility with guidance from Exotec’s execution team. AHS and GEODIS collaborated on the design of the construction build for the GEODIS eLogistics site so it can be easily expanded, with plans to double its initial size in the future.

“As we continue to see a significant increase in direct-to-consumer e-Commerce brands today, GEODIS remains dedicated to providing cutting-edge technology solutions that will best meet our customers’ unique needs when it comes to enabling fast and flexible operations,” said Drew Bailey, Senior Director of Design Engineering at GEODIS in Americas. “The integration of the Exotec Skypod System will allow us to further optimize our e-Commerce fulfillment process on behalf of our customers thanks to its efficient, scalable and responsive goods-to-person technology.”

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