DHL partners with Microsoft and AI specialist to ease automation integration

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Greater automation is seen as a route toward increased efficiency in postal and logistics services. To this end, DHL Supply Chain has launched a plug-and-play robotics platform in collaboration with Microsoft and AI specialists Blue Yonder.

The company said its new platform will reduce the time taken to integrate new automated processes into warehouse facilities. “The global deployment of robots and robotic systems is integral to our strategy to support our employees and improve customer operations,” said Markus Voss, global CIO and COO, DHL Supply Chain.

“Automation and collaborative robotics help us make operational processes more flexible, ergonomic and more attractive to our employees by replacing monotonous, repetitive and particularly strenuous activities. The aim is not to replace employees over time, but to assign the more attractive and interesting tasks to our human workforce.

“We have more than 2,000 operational sites across DHL Supply Chain, so we know how complex, time-consuming and costly it can be to integrate new robots into existing platforms and connect to our clients’ various warehouse management systems. This is exactly where the new platform is so effective. Our first implementation on the new platform with 6 River Systems at one of our Madrid sites is already showing a 60% reduction in integration times, but with subsequent deployments we foresee further improvements of up to 90%.”

The robotics platform is powered by Blue Yonder’s Luminate Platform with machine-learning-driven task management capabilities that enable the greater levels of warehouse operational efficiency. DHL pointed out that the new software platform is just one part of its company-wide digitization strategy which includes the use of technologies such as robots, smart operations through wearable devices and data analytics.

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