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Innovation is shaping post-covid supply chains

A changing logistics world demands new ideas

Image: Nicholas Diemont, General Manager – Business Change Management 

Covid19 is disrupting economies and changing the way supply chains work – and while the full impact is some way off from being fully understood, supply chains will need to be innovative and adapt to a new way of working.

Nicholas Diemont, General Manager – Business Change Management at DSV, says supply chains were already dealing with shorter product lifecycles, rising consumer expectations and online trading radically disrupting the retail landscape. But Covid19 has flagged many other challenges, from resilience and design to visibility and an obsession with minimising cost and reducing inventories.

All this means constant innovation is now a necessary part of the logistics business.

Innovation, quite simply, is about introducing something new or different. “In our world, that means turning new ideas and creative thoughts into products or solutions which meet new or existing needs. And it’s never been more important than right now”, he says.

Tough and competitive economic conditions mean old, out-dated businesses which don’t give customers what they want are in trouble – and DSV’s relentless commitment to innovation – which can be incremental (a step at a time) or radical (disruptive activity which signals major change) – drives both our competitive advantage and the sustainability of our operations”.

Incremental steps can be just as innovative as bold paradigm shifts in improving performance. “Supply chain design and mapping has never been more topical, and it is a competency we have been evolving over time to ensure every material, process and shipment is documented and integrated into a compelling customer supply chain strategy.”

Then, our electronic data interchange (EDI) automates the exchange of data between DSV and our customers’ transport and warehousing systems and handles invoices and enables customer partners to book transport with DSV. It is simple and efficient, reduces administrative time and increases security and efficiency and drives effectiveness for both customers and DSV.

DSV’s Africa Innovation Hub is working on a number of exciting projects which are changing – or might change – the way we and our customers work, at least for a while. They include:

  • Applying the Internet of Things to logistics to counter increasing risk of theft and pilferage
  • Developing and launching the DSV Locker, which has quickly become a favourite way for consumers to send and receive parcels. There are more than 300 DSV Lockers countryside and plans are to roll out another 100 by the end of 2020
  • Using biometric verification to validate an identity without the need for physical identification
  • Automating mundane, repetitive tasks and enhances efficiency and accuracy through Robotics Process Automation. We are applying RPA in our shared services in a number of ways. And finally,
  • A number of DSV staffers are doubling up as “citizen developers” and developing user-friendly digital business applications to streamline aspects of our business – and positively impact our customers.

We are introducing an automated ETA service in South Africa for Road distribution deliveries, and this follows its success in Europe. The service was developed to meet specific customer needs, and proactively provides ETA to consignees and vastly improves our customer service.

*This content is based on an article which appeared recently in


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