DHL Shares Strategy for Peak Season and Beyond
E-commerce is up 65% year over year, and expected to surge more than 50% during the busiest peak week, according to Chet Paul, senior vice president at DHL Express; Kraig Foreman, president at DHL Supply Chain; and Craig Morris, chief information officer at DHL eCommerce Solutions.
In a media call, the DHL execs shared how the company adjusted to meet peak demand:
Capacity. DHL revamped operations to gain capacity, opening six annex facilities for spillover capacity in Dallas, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Phoenix, and adding 6,000 associates.
Forecasting. Helping customers understand what to expect is especially important during peak season. DHL worked with customers on forecasting strategies to understand the capacity levels needed. Understanding how consumers adjusted their buying habits during the pandemic and spreading out buying habits helped customers prepare.
New technology. On the fulfillment side, technology changed the game, moving away from large-scale investments to systemic intelligence on mobile robotics that allow for surge. DHL is encouraged by technology that allows for quick scaling based on consumer behaviors.
Some merchants were caught flat-footed working with only one carrier and experienced high surcharges and volume caps. Software capabilities will automate the carrier decision process.
Customer needs. DHL expanded its on-demand delivery services so customers could control the final mile from a mobile device on the fly. Customers were more reliant on the 2020 peak season for success, so executing deliveries across the United States was crucial.
Post office partnership. DHL works closely with the U.S. Postal Service for final-mile delivery, especially during peak season. Most volumes were delivered to the destination delivery unit, the final stop in the USPS network, to ensure maximum efficiency.