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Celosphere 2022: DHL improves warehouse performance with Celonis EMS

DHL has deployed Celonis to improve its warehouse performance, quality and throughput in its logistics operations. 

Speaking at Celosphere 2022, Dr. Bastian Schäffer, Chief Information Officer at Germany & Alps DHL Supply Chain, outlined how DHL leveraged Process Mining and Execution Management to improve throughput at its warehouses. DHL's supply chain division has revenue of EUR 14.2 billion and 147,000 full-time employees. 

Schäffer outlined how DHL chose use cases for its warehouse performance improvement program for the most impact. The first use case revolved around incomplete cartons and sorting improvements. A second use case focused on retrospective workload distribution. IBM implemented the project in 5 phases at DHL's Unna, Germany facility between June and October 2022.

Also: Deutsche Post DHL outlines Celonis EMS use cases for its HR processes

At the Unna facility, Celonis and DHL IT set up a data pipeline connecting DHL's on-premise infrastructure, an extractor server and a secure gateway to Celonis Execution Management System (EMS).  

Warehouse processes are complex and feature receiving and putaway processes inbound and picking, induction, sorting, packing and shipping outbound. Schäffer said the primary goal was to use Celonis to monitor wave completion status and notify DHL if intervention was required. 

For instance, Celonis Action Flows monitored open waves with a release date older than 2 hours. These Action Flows sent emails to open picks for long-run waves, prioritize them, alert DHL about stock below required levels and open cartons. 

Schäffer said that the goals were to reduce canceled cartons and accelerate processing time. He added that DHL used Celonis Process Explorer to analyze throughput time and subprocesses to spot outliers. These outliers pointed to cartons that took too long in the sorting process, said Schäffer. 

With this approach, DHL was better equipped to analyze warehouse performance, distribute staff, allocate resources and increase throughput, said Schäffer. Workload distribution was optimized for picking, packing, split and induction and palletize and loading processes. 

Schäffer said the value equation includes the following three objectives:

  • Reduce cost by focusing on improvement opportunities such as non-shipped rates, lowering rework steps related to unpicked cartons and canceled sorter picks. 

  • Sustainability with optimized freight volume and under capacity shipments. 

  • Increased labor productivity via workload distribution and throughput time. 

Schäffer also noted that there are a bevy of qualitative benefits including a standardized line of communication, transparency on processes, the ability to handle urgent orders and automated reports that require less manual work. 

Larry Dignan mugshot 2022
Larry Dignan
Editor in Chief (former)

Larry Dignan is the former Editor in Chief of Celonis Media. Before joining Celonis, he was Editor in Chief of ZDNet and has covered the technology industry and transformation trends for more than two decades, publishing articles in WallStreetWeek.com, Inter@ctive Week, The New York Times, and Financial Planning magazine.

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