DHL Supply Chain is preparing for an anticipated surge in demand in the fourth quarter of 2020 by hiring additional workers and leveraging its investments in technology and infrastructure to support customers. The third-party logistics provider will hire 7,000 associates through the end of 2020 to meet demand fueled both by the peak holiday shopping season and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“’Peak season’ for contract logistics providers typically takes place in the late summer months and is driven principally by a surge in retail inventory, which has increasingly moved to online channels in recent years,” said Scott Sureddin, CEO, DHL Supply Chain North America. “This year, with an accelerated shift toward e-commerce, non-retail industries potentially seeing a resurgence in pent-up demand, and consumer goods and life sciences and healthcare companies continuing to ramp up their production capabilities, many of our customers are facing their most unpredictable fourth quarter ever.”
DHL Supply Chain has announced a number of investments in technology and infrastructure in 2020 that are targeted in particular at the retail and life sciences and healthcare industries. In March, it committed to expanding its fleet of LocusBot collaborative robots to 1,000 by the end of the year in order to boost productivity and throughput, primarily in its retail and life sciences and healthcare operations.
The company also established a dedicated E-Commerce sector this year to strengthen its operational and commercial focus on this fast-growing segment and to support customers who are building out new online and omnichannel offerings.
While contributing to a massive shift in volume dynamics and channels to customers across all industries, the COVID-19 pandemic has also added a new layer of operational complexity to this year’s peak season. DHL Supply Chain has been forced to make a number of adjustments within its facilities to allow for the proper social distancing to keep the increased number of associates safe. The use of collaborative robots and accelerated digitalization in many of the company’s operations will help to ensure that safety protocols are followed even with higher volumes. DHL Supply Chain’s Operations and Engineering teams in North America have also taken steps to redesign existing infrastructure and processes and to build out additional capacity to handle the upcoming peak.