Robots vs humans, last-mile and innovation were hot topics at Nordic Delivery Conference 2016

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

Robots vs humans, last-mile and innovation were hot topics at NDC 2016

Get an overview of the hot topics and themes among speakers, participants and exhibitors at this year’s NDC in this #NDC16 summary.

Anna kirah ndc

Anthropologist Anna Kirah’s human-centric approach to business and product development was popular among the audience.

Nordic Delivery Conference, NDC 2016 took place 9 June in Copenhagen and was hosted by Delivery Management software company Consignor. 600 participants from the e-commerce, logistics, transport and software industry attended the conference where the program featured speakers from around the world right from Silicon Valley in California to Shanghai in China. The main theme for the conference was competitive delivery, which each speaker had his or her own approach that shaped the focus of the day.

The main focus of the day became robot technology vs human contact. Where many speakers focused on the timesaving, quality and economic benefits of introducing more robot technology in the delivery industry. The main speaker, Anna Kirah, remained critical towards the increasing use of robot technology.

Anna Kirah from Making Waves, showed in her presentation how a human-centric approach to business and technology development is far more valuable to a company than a one-sided focus on systems, numbers and economics. Anna Kirah’s message really hit home among the participants, who agreed with Anna Kirah in the importance of remembering the human being in our increasingly technological world.

Read more about Anna Kirah’s presentation here.


Participants also raised questions about the growing use of robot technology in the delivery industry. What will happen to the employees where robots take over their tasks? And will we as consumers rather be serviced by robots instead of people? In what situations is one more relevant than the other?

These questions set the agenda for the conference’s panel debate where current and future challenges within the delivery industry were discussed. Anthropologist Anna Kirah and Innovation Strategist Bill O’Connor were afraid that we lose the human touch in delivery services in line with the increasing use of robots, and as a result become more isolated and depressed as human beings. In response to this, Sandrine Lagrost from UPS and Markus Kückelhaus from DHL believed, that it was not a question of one or the other, but about how we can get the human touch to work together with the technology.

This cooperation was one of the focal points in Markus Kückelhaus‘ presentation of the trends and technologies they work with at DHL’s innovation center in Bonn.

Panel debat

The panel debate with hostess Ulla Ussendrop (left), Anthropologist Anna Kirah, Innovation Strategist Bill O’Connor, Sandrine Lagrost from UPS and Markus Kückelhaus from DHL.

Funny robots and the largest innovations in history
3D printing, Big Data, augmented reality, parcel-copters and driverless cars can help in streamlining logistics and delivery in the future, if you ask DHL, who is already well underway with testing the new technologies. The test results are positive and show that technologies not only help to improve efficiency, but also make the employees’ working day more enjoyable as well as improve customer service levels.

Read here, how you improve your online return policy and methods through these 7 tips from ReBOUND.


Allan ndc

Allan Martinson on stage with the delivery robot Starship.

To the excitement of the audience Allan Martinson from Starship demonstrated in his presentation how the delivery robot Starship, which is not only designed to look cute, optimizes the last-mile in delivery. Allan Martinson told how Starship is far more effective in last-mile delivery than delivery trucks because it requires less maintenance, and one person can monitor several robots at the same time.

Read here how Damco handles the last-mile in delivery to the world’s trouble spots.


There was a broad agreement among participants and exhibitors about the fact that robot technology in the last-mile of delivery is a good idea. However, there were different opinions as to whether the robot technology will be in the form of the delivery robot Starship. While some participants were skeptical and thought that Starship was nothing more than a fun gimmick, others were quite sure that we are going to see Starship rolling in the streets in the near future. All participants and exhibitors expressed that innovation in one way or another is needed in order to survive in the industry, but many experienced that innovation is often limited by a negative mindset in the company regarding the fear of making mistakes.

Bill ndc

Fast talking Bill O’Connor makes innovation simple and easy.

Bill O’Connor from Autodesk, however, had the answer to this in his presentation where he unveiled the latest innovation techniques based on the 1,000 largest innovations in human history. Bill O’Connor boiled the innovation process down to 7 questions that are essential to ask when working with innovation. In the end, he pointed out that innovation only has to take 21 minutes a week, for example, at a meeting with your colleagues every Tuesday at 10 am.

This summary is a part of a series of articles on the speakers and topics at the Nordic Delivery Conference 2016. In the following articles, we go more in depth with how to innovate in delivering according to Bill O’Connor, the robot vs human aspect, entry into the e-commerce, logistics and transport industry in China, Starship and the DHL innovation center in Bonn.



Text by: Consignor,