6 technologies that will change the logistics industry by 2030

Posted: 20. September 2016-Likes: 0-Comments: 0-Categories: Ikke kategoriseret

6 technologies that will change the logistics industry by 2030


Big data, sensor technology, augmented reality, 3D printing, robots and drones. Markus Kückelhaus from DHL reveals how these technology trends affect the logistics industry in the next 5-15 years.

“Logistics used to be a quite boring industry with a very low level of innovation. But now we see many start-up companies that try to improve efficiency in different areas of logistics. This makes the industry much more interesting than in the past, ” says Markus Kückelhaus at the beginning of his presentation at Nordic Delivery Conference 2016 powered by Consignor, where he reveals how new trends affect the logistics and supply chain industry.

Markus Kückelhaus is Vice President Innovation & Trend Research at DHL’s innovation center in Bonn, where he along with a dedicated team of trend researchers investigate and develop new trends in logistics:

“We believe that you as company must help to drive changes within your industry in order not to lag behind. We are continuously investigating trends that we think will affect the future of the logistics industry. Along with external researchers and technology companies we are developing and testing these trends at DHL‘s innovation centers in Bonn and Singapore. With more than 6,000 annual customer visits at the innovation centers, we are able to capture feedback as an indicator of whether customers find our innovations relevant. ”

Read more: how to innovate based on the 1,000 greatest innovations in history


DHL believes that an open approach to innovation helps in developing the logistics industry. Therefore, they share their trend research and development in their annual Logistics Trends Radar report. Markus Kückelhaus presented the following 6 technologies that DHL believes will affect the logistics industry within the next 5-15 years at the Nordic Delivery Conference 2016:

Big data:
Big data can be used in several ways depending on the type of data, i.e. you can use data from your shipments to show what type of delivery is the most popular. DHL has tested big data in risk management, where they have collected internal and external logistics statistic reports on failed shipments and risks in logistics. DHL has collated this data, which they can use to manage risk in several ways, i.e. when risk arises they can advise their customers and suppliers proactively on potentially failed shipments.

Sensor technology:
DHL wants to increase the use of sensors in logistics by looking at how we use sensors in our daily lives. They have studied the sensors in the X-box game console, which has motion and depth sensors. DHL sees a potential in using such sensors within logistics to tell how much available capacity there is on a pallet, truck or at a warehouse.

Augmented reality:
DHL has successfully tested augmented reality glasses on warehouse staff, when they pick goods. The glasses can scan barcodes and show the warehouse operative their picking list, where on the shelf the goods are located, and show where the goods should be placed in the picking trolley. This way the picker has their hands free and the need for a physical pick list or hand scanner is obsolete. DHL is now launching the smart glasses in warehouses across Europe, USA and Asia.

3D printing:
DHL has tested 3D printing on the types of goods they have at their own warehouses, and identified a number of challenges in terms of quality, cost and product liability, which means that up to 80% of the goods at DHL‘s warehouses are not suitable for 3D printing as yet. However, DHL see a great potential in 3D printing in niche healthcare markets such as hearing aids and tooth implants.

80% of the world’s warehouses are manually managed today. There is a great potential in using robots to automate warehouse processes. DHL is currently testing robots that integrate with the warehouse operators, i.e. the self-driving picking trolley, which automatically follows the operator around the warehouse, and with the push of a button the self-automated trolley drives to the packing station when it is full and simultaneously sends an empty picking trolley back to the picking operative. This makes the picking more efficient and less ergonomic burdensome.

Drones have gotten massive media attention the last few years. DHL has successfully tested drone delivery in areas with a lack of infrastructure. DHL finds rural areas most relevant for drone deliveries, since drone delivery in cities is associated with many challenges. A lot is already possible with drones, but the biggest challenge is the regulatory aspect, especially in Germany and European countries in general.

Read more: how Starship robots make last-mile delivery cheaper and more efficient


Markus Kückelhaus concludes:
“We believe that the future starts today, let’s shape it together.”

Watch Markus Kückelhaus’ presentation at Nordic Delivery Conference 2016, powered by Consignor, on how big data, sensor technology, augmented reality, 3D printing, robots and drones change the logistics industry within the next 5-15 years:

Read more: how modern technology and the willingness to pay creates debate in the fulfilment and delivery industry



  • DHL is represented in over 220 countries and is the world’s most international logistics company.
  • DHL is especially known for their global express shipping network.
  • DHL‘s innovation centers in Bonn and Singapore serves as a base for the trend research team.
  • The innovation centers provide DHL‘s customers and partners the opportunity to see the latest innovations from DHL and meet and exchange ideas with the trend research team.
  • Markus Kückelhaus presented technology trends for the future’s logistics industry at Nordic Delivery Conference 2016 in Copenhagen, 9 June.
  • Nordic Delivery Conference is an annual conference for the e-commerce, logistics and transport industry, which focuses on all aspects in competitive delivery. The conference is hosted by Delivery Management software company Consignor.

Text by: Consignor, news@consignor.com