German logistics giant DHL has been working with US tech specialist Cisco to bring IoT to three major warehouse operations across Europe.
DHL Supply Chain is testing the technology at three pilot sites in Germany, the Netherlands and Poland. The solution enables DHL to monitor operational activities in real-time through a responsive graphical visualization of operational data aggregated from sensors on scanners and material handling equipment, and DHL’s warehouse management system.
Visualizing operational data with heat maps has changed the way data is analyzed and used at the pilot sites, and is expected to contribute to operational efficiencies and improve employee safety.
“In 2015, DHL and Cisco published a joint Trend Report on the ‘Internet of Things in Logistics’. 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® Wi-Fi infrastructure within the warehouse to obtain location services together with the Conduce solution,” added Chris Dedicoat, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Sales & Field Operations, Cisco.
Markus Voss, Chief Information Officer & Chief Operating Officer, DHL Supply Chain, added: “Through our collaboration with Cisco and Conduce, we are integrating innovative solutions to build the digital supply chain of tomorrow today. This is changing the way we collect, analyze 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.”
The pilots have so far revealed valuable 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.