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DHL Launches Program To Develop Next-Gen Technology

DHL Launches Program To Develop Next-Gen Technology

DHL explores whether RFID can monitor the temperature of crucial medical shipments.

Global logistics provider DHL has teamed up with technology giants IBM Corp., Intel Corp. and SAP to establish the DHL Innovation Center in Germany, headquarters of DHL parent Deutsche Post World Net. The goal of the center, according to DHL, is "to develop environment-protecting and resource-sparing solutions to handle rising transport streams," with plans to address such technologies as radio frequency identification (RFID), telematics, geoinformation and data synchronization.

One of DHL's goals is to shorten its couriers' delivery times and trips by employing up-to-date traffic information and a satellite-supported, dynamic route planning system. If successful, "we will increase efficiency and reduce our vehicles' carbon-dioxide emissions at the same time," notes Frank Appel, a member of Deutsche Post's board of management.

Frank Appel

In one pilot project for the pharmaceutical industry, DHL and IBM have developed an RFID sensor tag that can monitor and record the temperature of a shipment during the entire transport. "The shipment does not have to be opened for this monitoring to be carried out," Appel explains. "Medications and diagnostic products that have lost their effectiveness can be immediately removed from the supply chain."

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