DHL Supply Chain integrating new software platform for warehouse robotics

Software platform – built with Blue Yonder on Microsoft cloud – aims to accelerate implementation of warehouse robotics in DHL facilities

DHL Supply Chain is hoping a new software platform will transform how it brings robotics into its warehouses.

The platform, which DHL is calling a "plug & play" system, which runs on Microsoft Azure IoT and cloud platform services, is powered by Blue Yonder's Luminate Platform.

The goal is that the machine-learning (ML)-driven task management capabilities reduces the amount of time it takes to introduce and get automated systems up and running inside warehouses. It does this by reducing the complexity of training systems and reducing the workload of integrating robotic systems into an existing warehouse management system.

The system has had a trial implementation at a DHL Supply Chain facility in Madrid. DHL claims that the platform has reduced integration time by 60%.

DHL said in a press release that “The new platform gives customers greater flexibility in selecting and integrating different robotics vendors into a single solution.

"The global deployment of robots and robotic systems is integral to our strategy to support our employees and improve customer operations," says Markus Voss, Global CIO and COO at 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."

Voss adds: "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%." 

"Building a resilient and flexible supply chain is essential to respond to constantly changing customer needs. By digitizing their warehouse solutions, DHL is dramatically simplifying the integration of complex IoT systems and unlocking new business opportunities for the logistics industry. The result: greater advancements in speed, global scale, cost reduction, and security," says Sam George, Corporate Vice President Azure IoT at Microsoft. 

"By using Blue Yonder's Luminate Platform, DHL was able to offer a solution that can be implemented across all of its distribution center sites seamlessly through a cloud SaaS application. In the age of labor market shortages during peak season, DHL sites can now bring on a robotics vendor quickly to augment its resource capacity and support its workforce," said Girish Rishi, CEO, Blue Yonder. "This project was a true collaboration across all stakeholders."


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