DHL study shows visibility gaps in logistics

60% of industry professionals have an inadequate level of supply chain visibility and 75% plan to deploy IoT to solve problems

Edson Perin

DHL launched the study “Next-Generation Wireless in Logistics“, a new study that offers a comprehensive view on the evolution of wireless networks and the future of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the logistics sector. The report summarizes the prospects for the logistics industry and the latest figures, paving the way for a common understanding of different wireless technologies, presenting examples and predicting future possibilities for next generation wireless networks.

Even before the current Covid-19 crisis, wireless communication technologies were already making headlines around the world. Much of the recent interest has focused on 5G mobile data networks, which are already being implemented in many countries. 5G promises a series of benefits that will extend to end users, companies and telecommunications system operators, such as higher speeds, greater operability and personalized services for a new generation of connected smart devices.

Estudo da DHL mostra falhas de visibilidade na logística

In addition to 5G, advances in a wide variety of wireless communication technologies are creating opportunities for the logistics industry to improve visibility levels, increase operational efficiency and accelerate automation. Widely known technologies, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and lesser-known technologies, such as low-power long-distance networks (LPWAN) and low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites, have been enhanced for industrial use. These state-of-the-art wireless technologies should enable a new stage in the communication revolution, towards a new world in which all people, things and places will be able to connect.

In a recent survey of 800 Supply Chain leaders, DHL found that 60% of respondents said that their visibility on the supply chain is insufficient. The three main challenges for respondents are achieving real end-to-end visibility; the lack of a single centralized platform to drive IoT initiatives; and the fragmented collection of data from inherently heterogeneous supply chains.

The three main priorities identified to shape the strategies in this area are end-to-end visibility on transport, visibility on stock and the implementation of analytical solutions on Supply Chain data. Of those interviewed, 75% stated that they intend to deploy at least a state-of-the-art wireless network technology in the near future to meet their visibility goals.

“Having transformed the industries that have fewer assets in their structure (asset-light industries), the digital revolution is now rapidly changing the industries with more physical assets (asset-heavy industries) – from car manufacturers and manufacturing companies even healthcare service providers, ”says Markus Kückelhaus, vice president of innovation research at DHL.

“Our logistics sector will be both one of the main beneficiaries of the digital revolution enabled for IoT, as well as a major facilitator of this trend. Although some parts of the logistics sector are already permeated by smart and connected devices, next generation wireless networks are expected to start the next wave of IoT in the sector ”. In a future where people, things and places are all connected, three important things will become possible for the logistics industry:

1 – Total visibility: All shipments, logistics assets, infrastructure and physical facilities will be connected thanks to widely available networks and low-cost, high-performance sensors. This will allow for highly efficient automation, process improvement, faster and more transparent incident resolution and, ultimately, better possible service quality for both B2B and B2C customers.

2 – Large-scale autonomy: All autonomous vehicles, whether internal robots or logistics vehicles that run on public roads, have ultra-fast and reliable wireless communication to navigate and navigate their universes effectively. As these solutions are on the rise today, state-of-the-art wireless networks will be an essential factor in driving the widespread use of these technologies and driving the world into autonomous supply chains.

3 – Perfect Forecast: With so many things online, the volume, speed and variety of data we collect will triple the big data that is already generated today. The continued progress of machine learning and artificial intelligence systems, combined with the ultra-low latency of next-generation wireless networks, indicate that data-based forecasting systems with a focus on delivery time and routing may no longer be limited the latency and performance of wireless networks.

While much of the anticipated growth can be achieved using technologies that many of us already know, truly universal connectivity will require approaches that are capable of offering new features, such as greater capacity, greater range, faster speeds, better energy efficiency and lower costs. low.

“Large-scale connectivity is an extraordinary case of technological and social success. Although IoT is not a novelty in the logistics industry (since there are already 20 billion connected devices in use worldwide in this segment), this story is only just beginning. A multitude of profitable and increasingly ubiquitous technologies are simultaneously advancing at a very rapid pace. They are now becoming more accessible, which opens up countless new opportunities for developing applications and use cases at unprecedented speed, ”explains Matthias Heutger, senior vice president of innovation at DHL.

“Our trend report illustrates each of these state-of-the-art wireless networking technologies, describing and comparing them with each other, punctuating their limitations and practical applications. In addition, we highlight how the potential associated with these technologies is rapidly becoming a key part of the supply chain of the future. ”

State-of-the-art wireless networks comprise a broad portfolio of technologies that promise to achieve these diverse and often competing objectives. The DHL study includes a specialized section on how the latest wireless technologies work, as well as highlighting some innovative projects underway in the industry and providing implementation guidelines for Supply Chain organizations. The full study, entitled “Next-Generation Wireless in Logistics”, is available for free download at



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