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“Digitization and the supply chain: Where do we stand and what’s next?” was the title given by Lisa Harrington, president of the Iharrington group , to the logistics study commissioned by DHL. One result: Only 39% of respondents are currently developing one or more information or analysis solution(s) of their own. A mere 31% are relying on physical applications to do so. According to the responses of around two thirds of those surveyed, this reluctance can primarily be blamed on reliability concerns, resistance from within the organization, and an insufficient or too-slow return on investment. Outdated processes or systems and a lack of specialist expertise were also named by survey respondents as other reasons why companies are dragging their feet. In preparing the report, the experts interviewed around 350 supply-chain and operations experts.

Those surveyed believe that the optimization potential for the supply chain lies in a wide bandwidth of technical developments: As for information and analytical solutions, big data analytics ranked first, followed by the cloud, the Internet of Things and blockchain technology. Just about two thirds of respondents consider the most important physical technology to be robotics, with AVs (autonomous vehicles) and 3D printing coming in next. DHL will also be incorporating the results of the study internally. For example, the logistics behemoth is already using augmented reality to increase picking efficiency, and collaborative warehouse robots to assist human employees with routine tasks such as packing.