DHL celebrates outstanding inventions with Innovation Awards
German logistics giants DHL celebrated a number of outstanding inventions in the fifth annual DHL Innovation Awards this week, which celebrated scientists, entrepreneurs, customers and employees related to the firm.
Hosted by the company’s Chief Commercial Officer, Bill Meahl, the awards ceremony awarded Volvo for the most innovative customer solution, DHL employee Harald Lemke as the most innovative employee, and members of the Ruhr University Bochrum, the Technical University of Denmark and French company Orange Labs for jointly developing the crypto algorithm PRESENT.
The awards ceremony, formed part of DHL’s Innovation Day, which invites experts from the worlds of science, industry and media discuss current logistics trends and topics around the use of ’big data’ and cloud computing.
Meahl introduced the ceremony and DHL’s coming Innovation Day with the following speech:
“In this year’s event we aim to present you with some of our current thinking and solutions but also to give you a glimpse at what is out there, and is potentially game-changing going forward, that might be the next big thing. There are trends and innovations that still have the power to fundamentally change the way we assume and transport that are not too long term… With these awards, with DHL, what we’re trying to do is view, select and honour a number of forward-looking innovations and innovators that have particularly impressed us”
Improved CO2 efficiency
Volvo received the award as most innovative customer for a project called Maintenance on Demand (MoDe). It brought together 11 companies and institutions from all over Europe and focused on developing a commercially viable truck that identifies where and when maintenance is required. Thus, instead of today’s common ’just-in-case’ set-up, just-in-time deliveries of spare parts are feasible. The implementation of MoDe benefits customers as they can decrease their logistics costs, reduce the risk of breakdowns and improve their CO2 efficiency.
Deutsche Post’s Harald Lemke was honored as the most innovative employee. He pressed ahead with DocWallet, an app for mobile devices that ensures document security by fully encrypting files. The application was developed in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Research Institute for Applied and Integrated Security. The patented invention went live at the end of 2012.
Award for algorithm
In the category most innovative scientist / entrepreneur, the team of Prof. Gregor Leander, Prof. Dr. Christof Paar and Dr. Axel Poschmann was awarded for developing the algorithm PRESENT, which is a secure and energy efficient cipher tailored for RFID tags. It is one of the best-analyzed hardware-optimized cipher available and is considered to be absolute secure for at least two decades. PRESENT was accredited by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and will be implemented in the fields of logistics, medical engineering and vehicle manufacturing.
"The drive for innovation and finding solutions for today’s problems is a key element to overcome obstacles and establishing future growth,
"As a global player we’re committed to finding innovative logistics solutions and are delighted to discuss trends and ideas together with our customers, employees and external partners," Meahl continued.
FedEx is Reshaping Last Mile with Autonomous Vehicles
FedEx is embarking on an expanded test of autonomous, driver-less delivery vehicles to develop its last-mile logistics.
The US logistics firm piloted autonomous vehicles from Nuro in April this year, and the pair will now explore that further in a multi-year partnership. Cosimo Leipold, Nuro’s head of partnerships, said the collaboration "will enable innovative, industry-first product offerings that will better everyday life and help make communities safer and greener".
FedEx will explore a variety of on-road use cases for the autonomous fleet, including multi-stop and appointment-based deliveries, going beyond more traditional applications of the technology in single-route movement of goods from A-B. Exponential growth in ecommerce is spurring its broader experimentation in new autonomy solutions, Fed-Ex says, both in-warehouse and on-road.
“FedEx was built on innovation, and it continues to be an integral part of our culture and business strategy,” said Rebecca Yeung, Vice President, Advanced Technology and Innovation, FedEx Corporation. “We are excited to collaborate with an industry leader like Nuro as we continue to explore the use of autonomous technologies within our operations.”
The changing role of couriers
Unlike structured delivery networks, operating under long-term partnerships and contracts, agility is where couriers deliver true value - and their ability to deftly solve last-mile fulfilment has most acutely been felt during the pandemic. For the billions of people around the world forced to stay at home to protect themselves and their communities from the spreading COVID-19 virus, couriers have been a constant. They may have been the only knock at the door some people experienced for weeks or months at a time.
But the last-mile has been uprooted by a boom in ecommerce, a shift that has been most apparent in the UK, US, China and Japan, according to the Global Parcel Delivery Market Insight Report 2021 by Apex Insight. These are markets with dominant economies and populations used to running their lives with a tap of a screen or double-click of a mouse.
“Getting last mile delivery right has long been a challenge for retailers,” says Kees Jacobs, Vice President, Consumer Goods and Retail at Capgemini. “In 2019, 97% of retail organisations felt their last-mile delivery models were not sustainable for full-scale implementation across all locations. Despite increasing demand from customers, companies were struggling to make the last mile profitable and efficient.”
Jacobs says that the pandemic alleviated some of these stresses in the short term. With no other option, consumers were understanding and tolerant, if not entirely happy, with longer delivery times and less transparent tracking. “But, as extremely high delivery demand continues to be normal, customers will expect brands to contract their delivery times,” he adds.
Last mile's role in ESG
Demand and volume weren’t the only things that have changed during the pandemic - businesses looked closer to home and as a result became more sustainable. Bricks and mortar stores were transformed from mini-showrooms to quasi-fulfilment centres. Online retailers and other businesses sought local solutions to ship more faster. In densely populated London, UK alone, Accenture found that delivery van emissions dropped by 17%, while Chicago, USA and Sydney, Australia saw similar emissions savings.