How digitalization has transformed DHL Express’ operations

SINGAPORE, June 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Embarking on digital transformation projects has driven greater efficiencies and higher productivity for DHL Express. CEO Ken Lee and CIO Jimmy Yeoh from DHL Express Asia Pacific share more:

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DHLBot that helps to sort parcels
DHLBot that helps to sort parcels


DHL Express Central Asia Hub in Hong Kong
DHL Express Central Asia Hub in Hong Kong


DHL Boeing B757
DHL Boeing B757

Red warning lights pop up simultaneously on the dashboard of the Advanced Quality Control Center (AQCC) system at DHL Express’ operations centers across the network, but the atmosphere at each facility remains calm.

The data analytics prowess of the Artificial Intelligence-powered AQCC system — designed to monitor shipment movements and flag issues in real time — is in full control.

Locations of the shipments stalled in transit, also known as exceptions, are quickly identified and its projected routes mapped. The team’s analysts then hunker down to implement corrective actions to ensure these shipments can still arrive at their destinations on time.

The seemingly effortless task was once a laborious responsibility for logistics providers like DHL Express, but digitalization is slowly turning things around.

Logistics has long been known as a traditional industry associated with manual labor and repetitive tasks. Often held back by legacy processes and dated IT systems, logistics companies are increasingly aware of the need to harness technology to stay competitive in a fast-moving industry.

Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL Group) — in line with its Strategy 2025 goal of delivering excellence in a digital world — is investing over EUR2 billion on digital transformation projects from 2021 to 2025 to improve the experience of customers and employees, while also increasing operational excellence.

In its 3,200 facilities across more than 220 countries and territories worldwide, DHL Express relies on best-in-class technology solutions to deliver close to 500 million shipments a year (according to 2020 figures).

"By constantly listening to our customers’ needs, we have implemented technological innovations that are relevant and sensible for our customers, employees and operations," said Ken Lee, CEO, DHL Express Asia Pacific.

"We’ve introduced solutions to streamline vital processes, automate time-consuming repetitive tasks, and helped our teams become more productive. These include autonomous guided vehicles to enhance our operations, chatbots to complement customer service operations, and shipment sensors with track-and-trace capabilities," he shared.


The Covid-19 pandemic has further proven how essential the company’s digital transformation efforts and investments are to addressing the surge in cross-border e-commerce demand and driving greater efficiency and productivity.

"Before the pandemic, we were cognizant that digital transformation was an imperative to maintain and elevate our service levels as a logistics provider. The pandemic accelerated our plans to allow our work force to collaborate and work virtually from any location. We also fast-tracked our adoption and rollout of technologies, such as live chat and digital assistants, which were crucial in helping us cope with an unprecedented demand surge worldwide," explained Jimmy Yeoh, Chief Information Officer, DHL Express Asia Pacific.

To better understand the impact of digitalization on DHL Express, Logistics of Things takes a closer look at the notable digital transformation projects undertaken in recent years:

DHL Express Digitalization in Asia Pacific infographic
DHL Express Digitalization in Asia Pacific infographic


At a glance: Digital transformation in DHL Express

Advanced Quality Control Center (AQCC)

  • Utilizes big data and predictive analytics to monitor shipment movements, flag issues in real-time and identify alternative flight and network routes to ensure timely deliveries
  • Leverages Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to identify root causes and recommend actions for continuous improvement

Automatic flyer sorting with DHLBot

  • Sorts flyers to route level with 99 percent accuracy
  • Improves sorting efficiency while minimizing human interaction (for safety during Covid-19)

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs)

  • Intelligently senses the environment and ferries shipments, cargo pallets, and containers safely and efficiently
  • Helps to scale throughput capacity as and when needed

Autonomous mobile robots

  • Serves as an autonomous "courier" that provides on-demand deliveries
  • Equipped with sensors and AI-powered avoidance system to navigate to its destination

Chatbots for 24/7 customer service

  • Allows customers to receive bite-sized shipping information and track shipments on the go
  • Designed to instantly address commonly asked questions

On-Demand Delivery (ODD) online portal

  • Offers customers the flexibility to schedule contactless deliveries for shipments at their own convenience
  • Customers can choose from 6 alternative delivery options if they are unable to receive the shipment on the estimated delivery date

QR code labelers for parcel returns

  • Allows customers to manage parcel returns digitally by getting a QR code online
  • Reduces physical contact for ad-hoc customers by replacing physical airway bills

Route optimization for faster deliveries

  • Enables couriers to plan their routes more effectively, thus improving productivity and fuel efficiency
  • Shortens delivery time to customers

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