DHL Express Design Challenge

Smart Logistics

Design Challenge 1: Enhanced Customer Experience

Problem statement from a DHL Express customer:

“I am a customer of DHL Express. I make collectibles and sell them online. I have many followers and receive many orders from Malaysia and overseas. I operate from home mostly and sometimes I need to travel around to source for materials to complete customer orders. I also buy a lot of materials online especially customized items and I use DHL Express to deliver them to me. I rely on DHL Express to send out completed orders to my customers. DHL Express is very reliable, but I wish that they can provide me with more visibility on where the courier is and a more exact time of arrival so that I can plan my time better.”


To design a solution that leverages on existing GPS technology which is installed on every DHL courier vehicle, to provide better visibility & a more accurate ETA (estimated time of arrival) to the customers. The solution would eventually be integrated into existing DHL Express shipment tracking platform, i.e. website and app.

For this challenge, constraint the problem to pickup or delivery timing of packages within a city. GPS data from DHL courier vehicles can be provided.


Design Challenge 2: Improving Operational Efficiency

Problem statement from a DHL Express courier delivery personnel:

“As a courier, I have to plan my route everyday depending on the packages I have to pick-up and deliver at various locations. Although I rely mostly on my experience to determine the sequence by which I will deliver or pick-up shipments, often I get caught in bad traffic condition as traffic nowadays is so unpredictable; a sudden heavy downpour will make life most difficult! As a result, I am constantly under stress because my customers are waiting for me and I have a strict timeline to meet. If I am late, I would need to rush but this is not safe. My van is installed with telematics and I often wonder how good it would be if I could have an app that plans the route for me daily, considering the time it takes to deliver or pick-up at certain locations e.g. office tower, condominium, shop lots, or industrial area, the number of packages I would need to deliver, the calculated traffic condition – to tell me how I should sequence my stops and how to avoid traffic congestion. This would make me more efficient so that I can keep our customer promise and be able to drive at a safe pace.”


To design an app for the couriers that plans out his route based on the day’s shipment volume, locations to stop for pick-up or delivery, and traffic condition. This challenge should leverage on traffic condition at any specific time, use historical pick-up or delivery data to calculate time per stop (based on number of packages to pick-up or deliver), and forecast time of departure to next stop to propose the courier’s route.

Data sets of specific area of coverage, GPS data from DHL courier vans, historical pick-up or delivery times, and shipment volume can be provided.



Design Challenge 3: Improving Planning through Predictive Analysis

Problem statement from a DHL Express operations department:

“I work in DHL Express’ business planning team and we have a lot of data across different departments and systems. I am responsible to do forecasting and support business planning for Sales and Operations e.g. to determine customers shipping needs and develop products and services that would meet those needs, and to plan resources and capacity required to be operationally efficient. It is a hassle having to pull data from different systems and trying to make sense out of it. I wish we can use some AI algorithms to do predictive analysis more effectively.”


To design a solution to do predictive analysis specifically for the Operations department. The solution should help them plan resources (number of staff to be on duty) for every day of the week and during seasonal peaks.

For this challenge, constraint the problem to a DHL Express Service Centre (a facility that does pick-up and delivery). Data from time & motion study, annual shipment volumes identifiable by day, number of staffs per role, leave entitlement, etc. can be provided.



DHL is present in over 220 countries and territories across the globe, making it the most international company in the world. With a workforce exceeding 350,000 employees, we provide solutions for an almost infinite number of logistics needs.

DHL is part of the world’s leading postal and logistics company Deutsche Post DHL Group, and encompasses the business units DHL Express, DHL Parcel, DHL eCommerce, DHL Global Forwarding, DHL Freight and DHL Supply Chain.