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DHL invites creatives to join Innovation Challenges 2017

dhl innovation challenge 2017 postal and parcel technologyDHL students, startup companies and forward thinkers to submit their solutions for the Innovation Challenges 2017.

DHL’s second Innovation Challenges focus on the two logistics-related tasks, with participants asked to either develop a prototype robot or solution to a logistics problem using a sharing economy business model, platform or concept.

The robotics part of the challenge asks startups and budding engineers to create a prototype of a mobile piece-picking robot that can navigate through traditional warehouse rack systems and autonomously pick items into a cart.

Other requirements for the prototype is the ability to move in walking speed and autonomously steer back the fully loaded cart to a packing area. The entries will be tested live at the DHL Innovation Day.

Matthias Heutger, senior vice president of strategy, marketing and innovation for DHL Customer Solutions and Innovation, said, “We estimate that the implementation of robotics will be the norm in the industry within less than five years.

“Their application will facilitate the order-picking process and relieve warehouse staff from carrying heavy weight and manually pushing trolleys through the rack systems. At DHL, we encourage concepts that support employees in daily operations and unburden them from physical strain.”

The second pillar of the challenge focuses on the trend of sharing economy logistics, and requires applicants to develop original ideas or practical solutions that may leverage a sharing economy business model and challenge conventional concepts of asset ownership and access.

The submitted product or service solution should strive to create value for all stakeholders, including business as well as the society, because of new and innovative logistics-based business models.

Markus Kückelhaus, vice president of innovation and trend research at DHL Customer Solutions and Innovation, commented, “Sharing economy models are best known for hospitality and mobility. As digital technology continues to drive down transaction costs and increase transparency, though, we believe that there is virtually no limit to what these models can be applied to.

“We aim to create a shared value, fully utilizing resources to turn logistics assets into sustainable, fair and potentially profitable services for consumers and businesses.”

Applicants must submit a written document and video explaining their idea by September through the competition’s website, which you can find here. The DHL Innovation Day will be held on November 16, with a total prize pool of €20,000 (US$21,471) available to invest in winning entries.

March 16, 2017

Written by Kirstie Pickering

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