Zebra and Barcoding Reform DHL’s Shipping Processes with a Strategic Label Initiative

Zebra Technologies and Barcoding, Inc. recently teamed up to provide an efficient and cost-effective solution to DHL Supply Chain. We teamed up with the global third-party logistics provider to develop a single-source solution for the purchase of consumables at the company’s internal procurement portal. Zebra and Barcoding were able to mitigate DHL’s unnecessary spending and better allocate their time, energy, and resources towards their strategic labels initiative, which offers crisp, readable labels that are easy to scan.

Before Barcoding & Zebra
Prior to DHL’s partnership with Zebra and Barcoding, their labels were of poor quality and were often unscannable. This would incur excessive shipping costs and chargebacks, putting DHL back a step in the shipping process. These labels were not only unreadable, but also counterproductive to DHL’s line of business.

DHL offers services in retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and consumer electronics industries. As the world’s largest logistics specialist, they needed to make a change with their labels in order to reform their shipping process in a cost-effective manner. With over 400 distribution centers across the US and Canada, DHL deemed their low-quality labels as unacceptable and inefficient across the board due to fiscal losses.

Sally Miller, CIO of DHL, explained that their company’s research uncovered that “several locations were purchasing products from across the country and spending excessive dollars in shipping.” Without a corporate purchasing contract, each of the 400+ locations were utilizing multiple suppliers. DHL struggled to maintain consistency without streamlined expectations for all locations.

Without direction and guidance from DHL (or Zebra and Barcoding), these locations worked to keep costs down in the short run, which often compromised quality—labels were being sourced from manufacturers or online discounters. DHL suffered from these losses, as many large retailers may refuse shipment altogether if a carton’s shipping label is unreadable or does not comply with their requirements. Cutting corners to save in the short-term was simply not worth it to DHL. One of their distribution centers was charged nearly $100,000 in chargebacks from a single receiving company.

Barcoding & Zebra to the Rescue
With Zebra and Barcoding, DHL has been able to put their best foot forward with their strategic labels initiative and a centralized purchasing platform. With over 900 Zebra printers at DHL’s distribution centers, they have been able to streamline and standardize “Zebra Certified” labels to create consistency and continuity.

Zebra also prioritized putting DHL’s purchasing power into the hands of corporate team members, granting the company a greater purchasing power. Keri Speciale Corbin, senior director of IT infrastructure service management at DHL, understands the need to rule out low-quality labels: “It is important to us to drive the use of quality Zebra labels to ensure quality delivery, quality of scans and fewer returns based on using lower-end inconsistent products.” Zebra’s labels are both readable and convenient, ranging in material, size, and adhesive type, and always promise durability through wear-and-tear during shipping processes.

When things don’t go right or need some fixing, we’re there to help—as part of the strategic initiative, participating DHL sites that use Zebra Certified Supplies exclusively can now receive replacement printheads at no additional charge. Miller estimates that if DHL is able to save the cost of one replacement printhead for each printer, their annual savings will exceed $400,000.

It’s important to analyze your company’s processes to ensure that you are receiving the best possible product and support. Established, well-known companies such as DHL trusted Zebra and Barcoding with their business as they were seeking help with the most crucial part of their supply chain process—reliable labels with functioning barcodes. Zebra and Barcoding were not only able to provide better labels, but also $100,000 in savings.

Dave Reba, director of consumable sales at Barcoding, says, “DHL recognized that the savings were possible, but realized that they had to be part of the solution.” With their hands-on participation in this initiative, combined with support from Zebra and Barcoding, DHL Supply Chain is seeing the beginning of savings and efficiency and we look forward to a productive future together to better assist in their shipping processes.

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