DHL leverages tech to deliver smart logistics

by Nilesh Wadhwa 04 Sep 2018


DHL SmarTrucking is the company's first official move to accelerate technology-enabled logistics globally.

Deutsche Post DHLGroup, the world’s leading mail and logistics company, is upping the ante in its Indian operations. With auto sales on the upswing, GST driving improved logistics and transportation industry benefits, and demand growing furiously for inter-state shipments, the company has launched its new DHL SmarTrucking business in India. The new vertical aims to provide an innovative trucking solution across an extensive line-haul express road network in India.

DHL SmarTrucking is the company’s first official move to accelerate the development of technology-enabled logistics solutions around the world, under the newly formed board department, corporate incubations, which was launched in April this year. “India is an incredibly important market for Deutsche Post DHL Group. Presently, road freight comprises the majority of the total freight movement and is the largest transportation segment in India,” said Juergen Gerdes, Board member for corporate incubations, Deutsche Post DHL Group. “With greater efficiency from DHL SmarTrucking, we expect to transport 100,000 tonnes of cargo and cover a distance of approximately 4 million kilometres across India daily,” he added.

Cutting transit times, reducing driver workload

DHL SmarTrucking's ‘TechLog’ is logistics made smarter through the use of new and emerging technologies. Following a successful, three-month pilot that covered over 2,770,000 kilometres, DHL SmarTrucking leverages Internet of Things (IoT) technology and data-driven insights for route customisation.

The company believes that using telematics will have tremendous benefits for the company, for its driver partners called SmarTruckers and for the logistics sector in India as a whole. The company states that TechLog is the future of logistics, and telematics is an important part of its foundation. It believes that using telematics significantly improves efficiencies of operation, resource allocation and asset-tracking and ensures transparency and consistency in the shipping process. The data that is collected will help DHL in all aspects, from route planning, backhaul scheduling and prevention of theft and delays to consignment ambient control, driver behaviour analysis, and real-time alerts and updates to the customers, drivers as well as the operations team.

Utilising an innovative and agile model, drivers are rotated at predetermined stops located across the country, with the original driver returning to the point of origin with another truckload.

“This transportation model not only helps optimise efficiency but also reduces fatigue among drivers who spend less time on the road, enabling them to go home to their families every two or three days,” said Malcolm Monteiro, CEO, DHL eCommerce India. “Additionally, with the demand for temperature-controlled transportation estimated to grow at 15 percent per annum from 2016 to 2020, DHL SmarTrucking allows our customers in India to scale up and streamline their business operations to meet consumers’ needs.”

DHL, which aims to build a cost-efficient fleet,  is looking to forge long-term relationships with all OEMs

“DHL SmarTrucking’s emphasis on TechLog will change the game for customers in India,” said Neeraj Bansal, CEO, DHLSmarTrucking, who will be responsible for leading the company’s growth in India.

“Leveraging the potential of the infrastructural transformation in India’s logistics ecosystem and our innovations through DHL SmarTrucking, we can help Indian businesses reach customers and markets in a faster and more secure manner.”

The road ahead

DHL says that with the help of telematics and other necessary underpinnings of TechLog, the company aims to exceed its promise of 95 percent on-time reliability and upto 50 percent reduction in transit times compared to the trucking industry standard. The company states it prefers to be agile in its thinking and operations. It aims to build a fleet that is cost-efficient and most optimally equipped to solve its customers’ pain points. DHL is looking to forge long-term relationships in this area and will be happy to do business with all OEMs who share its vision of transformation and its drive for excellence. It says it is open to adopting anything that helps it achieve its vision and remain ahead of the curve.

In fact, according to Monteiro, the logistics sector is geared to gain from the government’s push towards infrastructure and various multi-modal projects. He states that the whole process initiated by the government will start showing results in a “matter of time”. 

Monteiro says while the government has a lot on its agenda, and to take things forward the industry will also need to step-up. He mentions that DHL has started setting up processes, its own training mechanism and IoT which will also help improve driver behaviour, and it would continue to work on this. “The government only complements what is being done, we cannot say to the government that you have to do all this, they have started the process it will
go at a certain pace. And
we at least know who to reach for what,” said Monteiro.

According to Sandeep Pingle, senior director – Sales, DHL Global Forwarding India, there is an opportunity for further development of the road infrastructure, coupled with an improvement in cargo handling facilities at airports as well as sea ports.  Steps are being taken to improve the infrastructure, and DHL is confident that this will in turn help transform the logistics industry in India, to keep pace with the economic growth.

 

(This article was first published in the 15 June 2018 issue of Autocar Professional)