DHL & Hewlett Packard Enterprise take aim at invoice process improvement

Through a joint collaboration, DHL Global Forwarding and HPE invest in the automation of administrative and shipment processing, offering more transparency and a better customer experience

DHL Global Forwarding, the air and ocean freight specialist of Deutsche Post DHL Group, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) have worked to deploy a blockchain solution supporting logistics payment processing. Based upon smart contracts and blockchain technology, this solution offers a more robust alternative to back-end processes which are often error-prone and tedious. DHL believes blockchain has significant potential in this area and (by deploying a solution in conjunction with a major customer) intends to take a leading position in the application of this technology. The growing number of digital solutions and services deployed by DHL Global Forwarding is fully in line with Deutsche Post DHL Group's recently presented new corporate "Strategy 2025 - Delivering excellence in a digital world".

"Blockchain and other innovative technologies can be seen as key differentiators in removing significant layers of complexity from global supply chains," said Eugenius Otte, Head of Product Management, DHL Global Forwarding, Netherlands. "We are extremely excited to work with HPE, a long-standing customer, on this joint venture with the goal of delivering significant service enhancements, productivity improvements and savings in the supply chain."

Live since July 1, this Minimum Viable Product (MVP) solution links multiple entities of HPE and DHL Global Forwarding for one-off order management. One-offs are defined as requests for shipments that can be supported by the DHL network, but that are not part of the standard contract. The MVP aims to address some of the pain points in the approval process by making use of the inherent functionality of a distributed ledger. It simplifies the approval process and clearly identifies the shipment quotes that are approved (by whom, and when) - all in immutable records.

"Based on the initial results, HPE has observed a number of inherent benefits, including 100% invoice accuracy and paid on agreed terms, less days payment aging, and little to no manual intervention," according to Kim Masone, HPE Vice President, Global Logistics.

By eliminating the post -delivery checks for shipment approval, considerable time is gained by both HPE and DHL. In addition to facilitating shipment quote approvals, use of the MVP offers customers insight into expected payments, improves accounts receivable, and offers a single source of transparency for all parties. Invoices are triggered immediately following POD and can be paid to contractual payment terms.

According to Masone, "We see great benefits in using this tool and look forward to expanding its use to other non-contractual business globally."


Saloodo! becomes the first international digital road freight platform on the African continent

One-stop platform for road freight connections for domestic shipments within South Africa and international movements to several neighbouring countries
Further expansion to connect shippers and carriers within Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is planned for early 2020
Collectively, the service has grown to more than 30,000 shippers and over 12,000 carriers covering 35 countries

The logistics start-up Saloodo! today launched its platform for shippers and transport providers in South Africa, bringing the first digital road freight platform to the region. The intuitive and simple-to-use digital solution was first launched in 2017 in Germany and is now also represented in the Netherlands and Poland. Moving swiftly into emerging markets outside of Europe, the subsidiary of Deutsche Post DHL Group was introduced in the Middle East just six months ago and continues now on its growth path by offering its digital services in Africa.

An efficient road freight network is a key conduit of trade within a geographically wide-spread country such as South Africa but also with 16 landlocked countries within Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). However, much of the region's road freight operations remain fragmented and highly traditional, missing out on the visibility, efficiency and security that technology offers.

"After successfully entering the Middle East we have taken the decision to continue on our growth path by expanding to the African continent," said Thomas Grunau, CEO of Saloodo! "As the world's youngest continent with 60% of the population below 25 economic decisions and growth are increasingly driven by a dynamic generation of digitally-minded young adults. These are ideal conditions for offering and further developing our smart solution."

With South Africa as its launch pad into Sub-Saharan Africa, Saloodo! is the first digital platform available in the region that offers a single, simple and reliable interface for shippers and transport providers to best optimize cost, routes, cargo and transit times. Backed by DHL's global and regional footprint and expertise, all contractual relationships on the platform are organized via the existing local DHL entity, providing trust and peace of mind to carriers and shippers alike.

"With real-time visibility, Saloodo! will inject greater transparency and efficiency to the road network in the region, enabling shippers - from small enterprises and start-ups to large multinational groups - to find trusted and reliable freight carriers in South Africa. This will in turn help carriers manage existing fleets and optimize capacity with full truckload shipments," added Tobias Maier, CEO of Saloodo! Middle East and Africa.

With a market value of R 121.1 billion (~EUR7.5 billion) in 2018, road freight volumes in South Africa have been increasing steadily, exhibiting a growth of 5.6% in June 2019 when compared to the previous corresponding period.

Equally, intra-Africa exports already accounted for 26 per cent and 12 per cent of South Africa's 2018 total exports and imports respectively - almost 50% of which are with neighbouring countries in this landlocked region.

Collectively, the service has grown to more than 30,000 shippers and over 12,000 carriers covering 35 countries.



Panalpina Urban mobility: first aerial vehicle prototypes for aerospace group FACC transported

Global freight forwarding and logistics company DSV Panalpina is transporting some futuristic freight ? autonomous aerial vehicles (AAVs) for moving people or goods efficiently in cities. Under a partnership between Austrian aerospace group FACC and Chinese technology company EHang, specialists transported the first prototypes by air freight, also taking care of customs brokerage and last-mile delivery.

Flying to work could become a reality in the next years, thanks to autonomous aerial vehicles (AAVs) or air taxis that help relieve traffic congestion in cities by using airspace as a “third dimension” for transport in urban areas.

AAVs are environmentally friendly: they are electric-driven using high-performance batteries with short charging times. EHang, the Chinese technology company specializing in air mobility that built the world’s first electric AAV, offers one-seat and two-seat models. Weighing between 300 and 360 kg, these can take maximum payloads between 440 and 620 kg, and reach speeds of up to 130 km/h.

AAVs need minimal space for take-off and landing. Besides transporting people or goods, these auto-pilot vehicles can be used to fly emergency goods or to perform high-risk operations in the event of environmental catastrophes. Paired with fast computers and big data, they promise a smart and viable solution for low-airspace, short-distance urban mobility within and between cities.

EHang entered into a strategic partnership at the end of 2018 with the leading Austrian aerospace group FACC, under which the AAVs will be optimized and made ready for serial production. A total of 300 aerial vehicles will be produced until the end of 2020 at FACC. DSV Panalpina has been tasked with transporting the first prototypes by air freight, including customs brokerage and last-mile delivery.

The business relations of former Panalpina with FACC go back to 15+ years. The first AAV prototype was transported in October 2018 and the freight forwarder’s teams have been helping to move them from Hong Kong airport to Linz, Austria.

The outlook for air mobility is promising. As the population of the world’s cities keeps growing, it is projected that 5.2 billion people will live in urban regions by 2050, about one billion more than today. The proportion of urban dwellers will then be 68 percent of the world’s population, meaning that people will be affected by space constraints and traffic congestion on the roads each day.

Taking to the air and flying to work could be the next smart and sustainable solution for urban mobility. Demand for aerial vehicles is expected to soar to EUR 32 billion over the next decade, according to the Aerospace & Defense Radar report by consultancy firm Roland Berger.



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