Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

DHL upgrades risk management platform to give view of supply chain

Steve Rogerson
March 3, 2015
DHL is adding capabilities to its Resilience 360 end-to-end supply chain risk management platform. It alerts customers about global incidents and risks to their global supply chain in almost real time so they can immediately respond to incidents and pre-empt or reduce business interruption.
Since its launch, it has been used across Asia, Europe and the Americas. The largest uptake has been in the automotive industry, followed closely by chemicals, life sciences and the technology sector.
“Corporate supply chain organisations are siloed, operate on a regional basis, and are disconnected among regions and even sites,” said Tobias Larsson, head of DHL’s Resilience team. “As a result, they lack visibility and span of control beyond their part of the operation. That may work day to day, but when you’re in crisis, it can be a problem.”
The enhancements will let users visualise the route of their supply chain by integrating Resilience 360 with their transport management system. They can then scan the latest position and status of all their shipments worldwide. This will make it easier for them to correlate shipments with disruptive incidents and identify potentially affected areas that require corrective actions.
A country-specific risk page will also provide them with an overview of supply chain relevant risk scores and incident trends. A global incident report will be compiled into a weekly supply chain risk intelligence bulletin, which is available free of charge to subscribers.
The added features coincide with a whitepaper that argues that the globalisation rush has led to lean, complex and highly intertwined supply chains at a time when the risk of disruption has never been greater. It details how supply chain operators are seeking alternative efficiency and resilience by partnering with lead logistics providers (LLPs). These partnerships go beyond transaction-based service providers of the past to strategic partners who deliver competitive advantage and growth through their supply chain and technological capabilities.
Lisa Harrington, president of LHarrington group, prepared the report in collaboration with DHL to identify the challenges and developments affecting supply chain operators globally. She said: “A seemingly small event or outage in one region can and does quickly escalate into full-blown business interruption half way across the world. The cost, complexity and expertise required to enact mitigation strategies can pose big challenges for companies with constrained staff and budgetary resources. At the same time, competitive pressures make realising them essential. These realities are fuelling the move to more strategic approaches to supply chain management, including the next-gen LLP model.”
The threat of the ash cloud from the Bardarbunga Volcano, Iceland, in 2014 was a major incident that was picked up and monitored by Resilience 360, as were the fall-out from Russian sanctions and the ebola crisis. The volcano’s unpredictability meant incident alerts changed frequently in severity. Resilience 360’s near real-time information and global mapping device made it possible for customers to anticipate and avert knock-on disruptions elsewhere in the supply chain, such as flight disruptions if they are operating in another region.
“As strategic partners to our customers, we provide them with the visibility that is essential for running a global supply chain,” said Larsson. “Solutions like Resilience 360 are integral for this and the supply chain risk intelligence bulletin by DHL is yet another way we are helping our customers stay ahead of the competition. Whether it’s strike action in Marseilles or a border dispute in Asia, we are keeping our ears on the ground to detect disruption and work with customers to convert the event into a competitive advantage by capitalising on opportunities that competitors simply do not see. To ensure our customers stay ahead, we will always invest in building the best-in-class supply chain risk management solutions and develop further enhancements this year.”
The whitepaper points to the success of this evolved model in which an expert LLP manages the tactical as well as the strategic aspects of a global supply chain, serving as lead operator and primary tactician. Equipped with people, process and technology such as Resilience 360, the LLP ensures day-to-day operations while protecting against the risks and disruptions inherent in a global supply chain. If there is disruption in the supply chain, the LLP using Resilience 360 sees it immediately and can resolve it quickly, before it endangers the business.