DHL and Singapore Management University launch Green Lab
DHL has launched a new sustainable logistics research facility in a new partnership with the Singapore Management University (SMU). In a bid to accelerate the evolution of sustainable logistics across Asia Pacific the logistics company has released the Green Transformation Lab, a S$2million initiative which will be hosted at the SMU School of Information Systems on the University’s city campus.
Opening in May 2013, the Green Transformation Lab will have two full time directors – Mr Stephan Schablinski from DHL will serve as Director. Ms Kar Way Tan from SMU will serve as Academic Director. The Lab research will focus on the creation of innovative solutions to help organisations transform their businesses towards sustainable green growth and drive beneficial change in supply chains across the region, with the aim to fulfil its mission through education, research and best practice development.
Mr Bruce Edwards, Global CEO, DHL Supply Chain, said: “DHL has long recognized the need for supply chains in Asia Pacific to adopt more sustainable logistics models. Green momentum is growing amongst policy makers, companies and consumers but more can be done to spearhead the application of Green solutions throughout the supply chain. The Green Transformation Lab will help these organisations move beyond measuring and planning by creating more sustainable solutions for companies and supply chains that lead to large-scale adoption and subsequent economies of scale. We’ll achieve this by leveraging SMU’s multi-faculty academic excellence, DHL’s GOGREEN sustainability services and our expertise and capability in supply chains. DHL is committed to creating a more sustainable world today for the benefit of tomorrow.”
The fact that logistics costs as a percentage of GDP are significantly higher in Asia Pacific than in the US and Europe*, calls for more sustainable logistics operations and makes it a real catalyst to sustainable, economic growth. Singapore’s position as one of the world’s biggest logistics hubs and its prospect of developing into a mega city with more than 6 million residents by 2017 means supply chain sustainability is vital to Singapore’s continued economic success, as the value of merchandise imports and exports is three times greater than Singapore’s GDP (Source: World Bank).
Professor Arnoud De Meyer, SMU President, said, “Singapore is a regional hub for supply chain management and this puts us in a unique position when it comes to finding solutions for tomorrow’s world. We possess the knowledge and are able to provide a conducive environment for generating ideas and solutions that are vendor-neutral and interdisciplinary to help companies steer a green transformation of their business. SMU’s strength in information systems, operations and risk management, business strategies, law, economics and social sciences, allied to DHL’s global leadership in logistics, is a powerful combination. We are confident that the outcome of our collaboration with DHL will be transformational thought-leadership and practical tools that Asia can use to evolve green supply chains that will contribute significantly to the long-term business growth of the region with Singapore as the driver.”
DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID
Since January, global logistics leader DHL has distributed more than 200 million doses of the COVID vaccine to 120+ countries around the globe. While the US and UK recently rolled out immunisation plans to most citizens, countries with less developed infrastructure still desperately need more doses. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently has one of the highest per-capita immunisation rates, the government set up storage facilities to cover domestic and international demand. But storage, as we’ve learned, is little help if you can’t transport the goods.
This is where logistics leaders such as DHL make their impact. The company built over 50 new partnerships, bilateral and multilateral, to collaborate with pharmaceutical and private sector firms. With more than 350 DHL centres pressed into service, the group operated 9,000+ flights to ship the vaccine where it needed to go.
With new pandemic knowledge, DHL just released its “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” white paper, which examined the role of logistics and supply chain companies in handling COVID-19. As Thomas Ellman, Head of Clinical Trials Logistics at DHL, said: “The past one year has highlighted the importance of logistics and supply chain management to manage the pandemic, ensure business continuity and protect public health. It has also shown us that together we are stronger”.
Multisector partnerships, DHL said, enabled rapid, effective vaccine distribution. While international scientists developed a vaccine in record time—five times faster than any other vaccine in history—manufacturers ramped up production and logistics teams rolled out distribution three times faster than expected. When commercial routes faced backups, logistics operators worked with military officers to transport vaccines via helicopters and boats.
In the UAE, the public-private HOPE Consortium distributed billions of COVID-19 doses to its civilians as well as other countries in need by partnering with commercial organisations such as DHL. For the first time, apropo for an unprecedented pandemic, logistics companies made strong connections with public health and government.
“While the race against the virus continues, leveraging the power of such collaborations and data analytics will be key”, said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come”.
How Do We Sustain Immunisation?
By the end of 2021, experts estimate that we need approximately 10 billion doses of vaccines—many of which will be shipped to areas of the world, such as India, South Africa, and Brazil, that lack significant infrastructure. This is perhaps the greatest divide between countries that have rolled out successful immunisation programmes and those that have not. As Busch noted, “the UAE’s significant investments in creating robust air, sea, and land infrastructure facilitated logistics and vaccine distribution, helping us keep supply chains resilient”.
Neither is the novel coronavirus a one-time affair. If predictions hold, COVID will be similar to seasonal colds or the flu: here to stay. When fall comes around each year, governments will need to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible to ensure long-term immunisation against the virus. This time, logistics companies must be better prepared.
Yet global immunisation, year after year, is no small order. To keep reinfection rates low and slow the spread of COVID, governments will likely need 7-9 billion annual doses of the vaccine to meet that mark. And if DHL’s white paper is any judge of success, multi-sector supply chain partnerships will set the gold standard.