Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Cisco helps DHL bring IoT to logistics

Steve Rogerson
May 24, 2017



Cisco is helping DHL implement IoT technology into warehousing to optimise operational efficiency and lay the foundations for safer work practices.
 
Together with Cisco and start-up Conduce, DHL is testing the technology at three pilot sites in Germany, the Netherlands and Poland.
 
The German logistics company wants to monitor operational activities in real time through a responsive graphical visualisation of operational data aggregated from sensors on scanners and material handling equipment, and DHL's warehouse management system. Visualising operational data with heat maps has changed the way data are analysed and used at the pilot sites, and is expected to contribute to operational efficiencies and improve employee safety.
 
"Through our collaboration with Cisco and Conduce, we are integrating innovations to build the digital supply chain of tomorrow today," said Markus Voss, chief operating officer of DHL Supply Chain. “This is changing the way we collect, analyse and use data and, ultimately, our ways of working at these sites. By monitoring operational activities in real time rather than retrospectively, we can interpret data more meaningfully, and immediately re-engineer processes or warehouse layouts to boost operational efficiency and address potential safety blind spots in a warehouse.”
 
DHL customers should benefit from Cisco's and California-based Conduce's industry expertise in wifi infrastructure and operational data visualisation, respectively. The pilots have revealed insights on activity peaks, warehouse layouts and processes by displaying concentrations of pickers and material handling equipment against a backdrop of warehouse orders in real time.
 
"In 2015, DHL and Cisco published a joint trend report on the IoT in logistics," said Chris Dedicoat, executive vice president at Cisco. “Continuing jointly on the topic of digital transformation, we are turning IoT into reality within the warehouse environment. This is made possible by leveraging existing Cisco wifi infrastructure within the warehouse to obtain location services together with the Conduce solution.”
 
Kevin Parent, CEO of Conduce, added: "The platform does not just display operational data, it unlocks insights on how well warehouses are running. By pulling together data of all elements in a warehouse environment into one unified, engaging interface, Conduce helps decision makers at DHL to achieve improved, measurable results in the real world."