Kenco Logistics: Mass Expansion for Leading 3PL Provider
Earlier this week, , a leading third-party logistics (3PL) provider, celebrated its Innovation Labs’ first year in its expanded warehouse space. This year alone, Kenco’s Innovation Labs have tested and created new technologies that have identified over US$5mn in savings for customers and successfully launched DaVinci AI, Kenco’s proprietary advanced analytics product.
With solutions including data-driven robotics, augmented reality, drones, vision picking, automation, and employee engagement mobile apps, the solutions executed at the Innovation Labs have empowered customers to transform their supply chains. Working with a rich ecosystem of partners, Kenco’s Innovation Labs provide customers with a large selection of digitally transformative solutions. Kenco’s innovation specialists help them shape their products by providing regular feedback on functionality, connectivity, user experience, and how each technology will work best for customers in their supply chains. One example of a positive partnership is the Innovation Labs’ collaboration with to improve the company’s inventory accuracy.
“Kenco had a track record of bringing us innovative ideas that were out of the box,” said Brian Tomchick, senior manager of operations at Whirlpool Corporation. “We knew we needed to make a substantial change, so a partner that had already established that credibility with us was a natural fit to move forward. Having a trusted partner to take this risk with, the credibility that we had with them, the fact that it was comforting that they thought it was a good idea and we were going in the right direction, really allowed us to do something that if I was totally honest, we probably wouldn’t have done on our own.”
The Innovation Labs’ expanded space is a crucial component of Kenco’s role as a trusted industry advisor, providing agnostic opinions on what will truly move the needle for customers. The 10,000-square-foot facility on the campus of Kenco’s corporate headquarters in Chattanooga, Tennessee, serves as a real-world warehouse setting where innovation specialists explore emerging technologies by researching and testing solutions for Kenco customers, averaging 20 new projects a year. Once tested, these technologies are moved to implementation to drive efficiency, employee engagement, safety, and cost savings for customers. Recent successes delivered by the Labs include:
— US$120,000 in annual savings for a global consumer goods customer using a custom combination of start-up technology to transform and increase the accuracy of their inventory management.
— US$50,000 in annual savings for a construction machinery and equipment customer by digitising the kitting audit process with a customer application and dashboard.
— US$40,000 in annual savings for a large consumer product goods (CPG) customer in sanitation costs after implementing Avidbots technologies in their facilities.
— US$177,000 in annual savings for an appliance manufacturer transforming visual management into real-time digital signage to drive proactive dock management and improve door turn times.
“Within the first year of our Innovations Labs expansion, we’ve seen our customers achieve success throughout their supply chains, discovering broad new technology applications,” said Kristi Montgomery, VP of Innovation, Research, and Development at Kenco Logistics. “Our customers are more committed to digital transformation than ever and often come to us first when looking for technology adoption guidance. This year’s work included helping customers respond to the COVID-19 pandemic with contact tracing, automated temperature capture and reporting, robotic cleaning devices, and 3D printing protective gear, as well as virtual tour capabilities. The agile and flexible nature of our Innovation Labs means we can deliver solutions that quickly address customers’ changing needs with a broad range of emerging technologies.”
Currently, Kenco’s Innovation Labs are finalising a project with LogistiVIEW to fine-tune its vision picking technology and deliver enhanced picking accuracy and productivity savings for customers. Working with the Labs, LogistiVIEW’s vision picking solution was vigorously tested with Kenco seeing significant accuracy improvement in the early stages of implementation. Through this collaboration, LogistiVIEW achieved its performance goals, and Kenco fortified its ability to provide customers with another industry-leading innovation. Once completed, project results will be shared as part of Kenco’s commitment to advance the digital transformation of supply chains.
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.