Caressing the pillow in a dreamlike state, a tugging sensation fills the senses as you are pulled into a state of consciousness. The blaring alarm on the nightstand is quickly subdued with a swipe of a finger. The same motion convokes a calendar of to-dos and as you rise the day begins.
This familiar scenario has been a staple morning routine for many but taking a looking further this touch of innovation has evolved and enhanced the way we go about our daily lives. What was once mechanical alarm clocks and paper planners is now all on our increasingly important smartphones. From the moment we wake up, to when our head touches the pillow, we are filled with moments where new innovations are helping to enhance our lives.
This extends into the workplace as well, as industries around the world are conforming to the wave of innovations we are experiencing. Through disruptive ideas and advancements, we are given opportunities to seize and harness the power of evermore present innovations.
For the automotive industry, leaders like DHL are in a unique position to invest into areas of innovation and that’s what they have been demonstrating with their Auto-Mobility initiative. The group recently held a highly attended event in Thailand where all parts of the automotive industry were in attendance. The event successfully helped many of them to understand more about the current opportunities at hand and to be aware of the potential disruptors on the horizon.
At the event, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to speak further with two leaders for DHL, Mr. Fathi Tlatli, Auto-Mobility Sector President, DHL Customer Solutions and Innovation; and Mr. Ilhami Arslanoglu, Vice President Auto-Mobility Asia Pacific & Regional Head Asia Pacific at DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation.
The logistics industry encapsulates a number of sectors and is something that is very visible in large organizations such as DHL. Within the company, there are numerous divisions all with distinct goals. While overarching trends affect the entire organization, each segment with in the organization has been given a level of freedom to operate and innovate. As seen with recent initiatives, the entire organization is embracing change and innovation which is enabling entrepreneurial attitudes within the company.
For the Auto-Mobility sector, Mr. Tlatli explained, “There are large trends like globalization, sustainability and digitalization that are all linked and are reinforcing each other. Because of this, innovation is becoming ever more important. However, when we talk about innovation it’s not just about improving processes, it’s also about developing products and solutions that we can utilize for the betterment of our customers. When it comes to automotive, it’s a convergence of different elements that makes it innovative.”
The ‘Auto-Mobility’ name is in itself indicative of the type of innovations their organization is looking to embrace, enabling movement for the entire world and the goods people need. However, Mr. Tlatli explained that the automotive industry is still traditional in many ways. Automobiles are still built upon the same types of wheels and chassis that have formed the backbone of automotive products for many years, but around that all types of parts like the power trains and other items are evolving. It’s to the point now that some people buy certain models not based on functional reasons, but purely because of technology offered on a model.
“We’re well aware of the role that technology is playing in the auto industry currently, but we’re also very mindful of what’s on the horizon. There are already new multimodal approaches appearing that are changing how automobiles are used around the world. In the near future we may even end up dropping the ‘Auto’ part from Auto-Mobility altogether as it will not involve just cars and commercial vehicles; it may also involve more than that. With a focus on overall mobility, modes like trains, aircraft, and even new technology like Hyperloop; all of these technologies are converging to make the world more mobile.”
Evolving the Industry
Digitalizing paper processes and creating new innovative solutions for the industry are powerful in their own right, but when it comes down to it, the logistics industry is still and will always be based around a process of getting an item moved from Point A to Point B. However, this doesn’t mean that new innovations aren’t already having an impact.
Mr. Arslanoglu said, “The fundamentals don’t change, you still have to move and store goods but the way it’s being done is changing quite a lot. For example, automated warehouses and technology inside like ring scanners and Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) are much more commonplace. These types of technology are changing the whole process and way companies go about their business.”
This is leading to a changing business model for many, and segments of the automotive industry like after sales segment are expanding rapidly. Mr. Arslanoglu continued, “We’re beginning to see e-commerce make its way further into the automotive industry, especially for companies serving the after sales market. They can make use of already existing marketplaces to start selling their products through a retail model, or they just use that platform to deliver, sell, and get materials delivered to the final customer. The other approach that many suppliers and tire manufacturers have realized is there’s a need to get into e-commerce and are developing different distribution channels. Meaning they are setting up their own online platforms where dealers or even the final end customers are able to procure goods, which is all quite a big change. The supply chain overall is changing, logistics is changing, and the whole ecosystem around it is changing; we need to be prepared for what’s ahead.”
All of this is coalescing into real world applications with technology acting as an enabler to utilizing mobility. The famous Uber application changed the way taxi services are used forever, disrupting an industry in its wake. This is just the tip of the iceberg as Mr. Arslanoglu said, “Amongst the younger generation new IT advancements are huge, and they are keen to quickly adopt the latest tech. We’re already predicting that car ownership will drop slightly in the future and this is due in part to new technologies that will enable mobility options such as car sharing. For logistics solutions providers like DHL, this means we will be putting a larger focus on providing management services for the shared economy.”
While disruption is normally thought of as a negative to established industries, Mr. Tlatli explained, “While car ownership may be dip in the future, there are new opportunities that technologies like car sharing open up to us. Look at what happened with low cost airlines, by going after an underserved demographic a whole new market was created. What we may see is a new market for people thanks to shared driving, not only in emerging countries, but also in developed countries where we see more young people using this option. This means companies like ours need to be on our toes and ready to serve these new markets. To do this means that we need to be able to predict consumer demands and think on our feet. This is truly an obsession for us, turning our ideas into action, but in the end, we have to make all of our solutions relevant for the end customer.” As DHL continues to drive innovation and co-creation together with their customers and partners, they look to not only deliver solutions but aim to add true value to the entire supply chain.