DHL CEO Expects ‘Major Acceleration of Trends’ Post-Virus
This time appears to be different. Previous major events have disrupted global supply chains (the 2011 tsunami in Japan, for example), but the COVID-19 pandemic looks like it will have a lasting impact on supply chain management.
One person with a front-row seat to the pandemic’s logistics repercussions is Oscar de Bok, global CEO of DHL Supply Chain. Earlier this month, DHL Group was transporting about 100,000 COVID test tubes a day from China to Germany and the Czech Republic.
“Indeed, during the crisis, it has become more clear that the essential role of the logistics industry is to keep supply chains operating around the globe,” de Bok told The Korea Herald. “We expect to see major acceleration of trends that started before the pandemic, such as ensuring that supply chains are more flexible, not dependent on one location or market, and are more flexible to swiftly respond to changes such as volume fluctuations or unpredictable events.”
de Bok is a proponent of using technology solutions such as robotics to address inefficiencies. But he cautioned that an organization must be all-in if it expects its technology efforts to bear fruit.
“In order to really move the needle forward, it is not enough to implement some robotics in one or two facilities,” he said. “What makes the difference is that with the use of data, you can implement collaborative robotics at scale using the findings from one side of the world and apply it to similar operations around the globe.”
Another area of focus for DHL is to make its logistics operations “emissions neutral” in the next three decades. “With the help of new technologies, the dedication and expertise of our employees and through collaboration with our customers and partners, we are already able to offset emissions for certain aspects of our operations by installing solar panels and LED lights, and also reduce water wastage,” de Bok told the Herald.