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DHL to employ new handheld scanners to enhance shipment visibility for customers

xpress delivery and logistics company DHL is adopting the latest next-generation scanning technology, deploying a single system across the entire DHL U.S. network to provide enhanced shipment visibility for DHL customers.

The new scanning devices, used to capture shipment information by couriers and other operations personnel and using a Wi-Fi (wireless local area network connectivity) communications system, will be deployed nationwide by third quarter 2007, according to Plantation, FL-based DHL.

The technology will provide immediate visibility and real-time tracking for customers, and increase the speed in which personnel can process shipments at both customer locations and DHL facilities. This is designed to provide timely, accurate, and up-to-the-minute status of packages.

DHL said that unlike many systems used throughout the transportation industry, the DHL wireless scanners leverage the latest GPRS (general packet radio service ) and WLAN (wireless local area network) technologies, enabling DHL to transmit customer shipment information automatically – from pickup to final delivery – without the need to wait and place a device within a transmission cradle.

The information will be immediately fed into DHL back-end systems, providing instant visibility to customers looking for shipment status through calls to customer service, the DHL Web site, or DHL shipping systems.

The new handheld (Motorola HC 700) system will provide the same functionality as current DHL scanning devices such as electronic signature capture, barcode scanning, and instant communication links to dispatchers. But it has expandable memory to allow for future applications such as image capturing to ensure DHL is responsive to customer needs.

In addition, the new DHL scanning technology is RFID-ready (Radio Frequency Identification), affording DHL the ability to integrate the new technology with future RFID products already in development.

RFID is used to read and store data without the need for contact or direct line of sight, and promises improvements in supply chain management for industries worldwide.

DHL will be integrating its Microsoft Windows-based courier application within the Motorola HC 700 device. Over 20,000 of the new scanners will be placed into operation throughout the DHL U.S. network over the next nine months.

DHL Express International Americas also announced the implementation of the wireless technology to be used throughout Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America, with plans for completion by the second quarter of 2007.

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