Third party logistics provider (3PL) DHL Supply Chain will hire 7,000 workers through the end of 2020 as it prepares for the “most unpredictable fourth quarter ever,” with typical peak shopping season patterns being disrupted by the pandemic.
The move is intended help meet an anticipated surge in demand in the fourth quarter, as Westerville, Ohio-based DHL Supply Chain deploys the additional workers alongside previous investments in technology and infrastructure. DHL is specifically positioning itself to handle traffic increases in its retail sector and its life sciences and healthcare industry.
Earlier this year, the company expanded its fleet of collaborative robots (co-bots) from Locus Robotics in a move that will bring DHL’s fleet of the autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) to 1,000 by the end of 2020. The company also invested $60 million in its life sciences and healthcare network, building on a $150 million investment that it committed to the same sector last year.
“’Peak season’ for contract logistics providers typically takes place in the late summer months and is driven principally by a surge in retail inventory, which has increasingly moved to online channels in recent years,” Scott Sureddin, CEO of DHL Supply Chain North America, said in a release. “This year, with an accelerated shift toward e-commerce, non-retail industries potentially seeing a resurgence in pent-up demand, and consumer goods and life sciences and healthcare companies continuing to ramp up their production capabilities, many of our customers are facing their most unpredictable fourth quarter ever.”
The greatest force behind the change in shopping patterns is the Covid-19 pandemic, which has triggered a “massive shift in volume dynamics and channels to customers across all industries,” DHL said. At the same time, the health crisis has forced DHL Supply Chain to make a number of adjustments within its facilities to allow for proper social distancing to keep the increased number of employees safe. Those safety protocols will be supported by the additional co-bots, as well as accelerated digitalization in many of the company’s operations, DHL said.