Deutsche Post DHL Group to Foster Global Growth Through Pioneering Innovation Approach

Deutsche Post DHL, the world’s leading logistics provider, is investing in innovation to play a leadership role in the global development of the logistics industry and shape a sustainable future.


  • DHL Innovation Center redesigned to speed development of game-changing new services and collaboration with customers and academia
  • The Internet of Things alone will give logistics industry an US$1.9 trillion boost, generating US$8 trillion worldwide in value over the next decade
  • Global distance selling of €616 billion (in 2013) will grow annually by 10.7 percent until 2018: innovations in eCommerce to change the way we live
  • Group commits to extending logistics industry leadership position in innovation with its structured ‘Trend Research Value Chain’ development approach


A recent Trend report* revealed huge growth potential in more efficient and transparent supply chains - the Internet of Things alone is estimated to deliver a US$1.9 trillion boost to supply chain and logistics operations by 2020. Spearheading the move are DHL’s Innovation Centers in Germany, which opened today in a redesigned set up, and the new Asia Pacific Innovation Center, which will open later in the year in Singapore in collaboration with Singapore’s Economic Development Board.

Frank Appel, CEO Deutsche Post DHL Group, said at the opening ceremony: “I believe that while capital and experience are undoubtedly important, it is innovative ideas that will steer our future. At Deutsche Post DHL Group, customer-centric innovation is key to two of our major ambitions. One is to play a pioneering role in spearheading the global evolution of logistics which is at the core for the sustainability of our planet. Second, to remain the logistics leader by innovating products and services that our customers need most – whether that is to make an e-commerce delivery, design a global supply chain or ship temperature sensitive pharmaceuticals. To achieve this, we will continue to look far into the future, where our goal is to continually strive to convert our innovations into marketable solutions, to make our customers more successful.” 

The new concept of the DHL Innovation Center in Troisdorf, near Bonn, is designed to work even more collaboratively with customers, experts and academics in many fields. Together with its over 50 DHL experts this network of partners pioneer sustainable solutions to keep world trade on the move, creating innovative services and solutions. Since first opening in 2007, the Center has helped to shape logistics innovations together with well-known brands from all over the world as well as leading global research and development institutions. In Singapore, the new DHL Innovation Center will be located within the new US$100 million DHL Supply Chain Advanced Regional Center currently under construction.

Bill Meahl, Chief Commercial Officer DHL, said: “Being a frontrunner in innovation has made us a market leader. The objective of the DHL Innovation Centers is to maintain that lead by developing highly innovative products and services based on technological, social and logistics trends of the future. The DHL Trend Research team continuously analyses and identifies new developments and their potential impact on the logistics industry along the entire value chain. Together with the Innovation Center’s improved features, they will help us explore new opportunities for our customers and lead our industry. As a trade enabler, innovation in logistics is very powerful as it has the potential to transform industries worldwide.”


DHL Innovation Center – new features

The Innovation Center in Troisdorf was completely redesigned around DHL’s idea of developing innovations in cooperation with customers and a network of industry and research partners. In addition to event space for meetings and workshops, customers can enjoy customized guided tours through the showroom. As the center and laboratory for DHL’s Trend Research team, the facility plays a crucial role for the Group in maintaining its position as the world’s most innovative company in the logistics industry. 

The building is structured in several areas. The state-of-the-art center-piece currently showcases a Formula E car, representing DHL’s commitment towards e-mobility as well as sustainable logistics and automotive solutions. Vision, trends and solutions for today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow are combined in the center piece. This exhibit will regularly change, depending on current social and business trends. The center piece also functions as a link to other exhibits such as the Vision Suite, in which visitors explore different scenarios on what the world might look like in 2050. The scenarios are based on DHL’s Logistics 2050 study and mega trends such as globalization, urbanization, climate and demographic change.


Trend Research Value Chain – the customer centric approach

The DHL Trend Research team is dedicated to researching and leveraging trends in the logistics industry. The researchers capture the top logistics developments on a yearly basis in DHL’s Logistics Trend Radar. The dedicated ‘Trend Research Value Chain’ outlines a structured approach towards sustainable and innovative business solutions: Starting with the identification of relevant topics in the Logistics Trend Radar, followed by more detailed Trend Reports on certain themes which thereafter will be translated into Proof of Concepts as well as tangible exhibits in the Innovation Center. At the end of this process, these products and solutions will be completely handed over to the respective business unit for implementation into their operations or business processes. 

Only recently DHL Supply Chain together with its partner Ricoh has successfully tested smart glasses and augmented reality software in the Netherlands – the resultant warehouse picking process improved by 25 percent. And now, DHL is exploring the use of wearables in additional areas and in collaboration with further partners. Another promising innovation was covered by the trend report on ‘Self-Driving Vehicles in Logistics’. This highlights the key elements and significant potential of autonomous technologies in the logistics sector with various best-practice applications from different industries. It also examines concrete examples of self-driving vehicles across the entire logistics value chain from autonomous transport and assisted picking in warehouses to last-mile delivery.


Internet of Things and eCommerce – innovation drives economy

The latest trend report released with Cisco Systems focusing on the Internet of Things (IoT), estimates there will be 50 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020 compared to 15 billion today – with game-changing consequences from creating more last mile delivery options for customers to more efficient warehousing operations and freight transportation. According to Cisco’s economic analysis, IoT by itself will generate US$8 trillion worldwide in value over the next decade, with an impact of about US$1.9 trillion for supply chain and logistics activities. 

Over the next ten years, online retail will gain even more importance than expected so far - not just in developed countries, but also in emerging markets. E-commerce share on overall trade volume of developed countries will reach up to 40 percent by 2025, in emerging markets up to 30 percent, and logistics will play a key role in this. This was one of the key findings of Deutsche Post in their Global E-Tailing 2025 study. In 2013 the global distance selling market was worth €616 billion, but will grow annually by 10.7 percent until 2018. Therefore the Deutsche Post DHL Group is also focusing its development efforts on solutions which support the increasing demand of businesses and consumers for online shopping. Applications for a simplified and secure access to our offers or innovations on last mile delivery services are part of this approach.

Matthias Heutger, SVP Strategy, Marketing & Development, DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation, said: “Experience has taught us that innovation must always be customer-focused. A company innovates best by: listening to customer needs, proactively sharing best practice and solution information across various sectors and industries and collaborating. The DHL Innovation Center aims to be a creative environment where bright ideas turn into real solutions, are developed and tested, and ultimately go to market.”


Pioneer in the industry through a diverse range of innovations

Deutsche Post DHL Group has a long and impressive portfolio of innovations. The Express unit in 1969 was the founder of its industry, being the first company to launch a regular operating time definite international network. More recently, DHL Thermonet was introduced to provide a seamless temperature visibility along the entire supply chain 24-7 – critical, especially for life sciences and healthcare clients. Additional SmartSensor solutions and the Resilience360 application provide extra benefits when safe and secure transport services are mandatory customer requests from typical high-value good industries. And, responding to environmental issues, urban congestion and the challenges concerning last mile delivery, the Deutsche Post DHL Group established the Packstation, with 2,750 parcel lockers currently available across more than 1,600 German towns; introduced the StreetScooter, the company’s own electric and zero-emission vehicle, with more than 140 of these cars making the city of Bonn a model for carbon-free delivery; or the Parcelcopter, which was only recently tested in a project on the first regular drone delivery service to the North Sea island of Juist.


* DHL and Cisco Trend Report: “Internet of Things in Logistics”


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