Our Stories

It’s Worth it


Since starting in 2017, we have already accompanied some great ideas and some great people on their start-up journeys. Along the way, we’ve watched them climb the steep learning curves, go through the ups and downs of trying to create something people love and gain the insights they need to succeed. Get a feel for those journeys by reading about some of our start-ups below.

Using solar energy cleverly

A ground-breaking fuel conservation technology based on light-weight and durable photovoltaic modules mounted on commercial vehicles. By adding solar technology to harness the sun’s energy Trailar reduces the impact of each vehicle journey. Once fitted, the low-cost electricity generators help to recharge the vehicle’s on-board battery, thereby reducing alternator load and ultimately fuel consumption.

The aerodynamic flexible film solar mats are applied to the vehicle’s roof space and connected to the vehicle battery or additional on-board batteries. A charge controller specifically designed for transport applications is used. The controller allows for the highest possible charging efficiency which is important during the critical winter months where light is limited and it is a challenge to obtain sufficient energy to recharge the batteries. The controller also allows an interface with the vehicle alternator which is how the reduction in the alternator use is achieved.

The harvested solar energy is used to power all ancillary equipment on the vehicle including the tail lift, reducing normal fuel consumption and vehicle-related emissions.

The technology has been independently tested across a range of vehicles and been in use for over three years in the UK and Europe where fuel savings of around 5% are common-place.The future looks bright for TRAILAR, with a team of over 20 people located in the UK & Germany and with interest from all over the globe. The solutions are now been applied to smaller temperature controlled vehicles and even buses. With numerous awards under the teams belt including “Most Innovative Product”, “Supply Chain Innovation” and most recent “German Innovation Award” there is no stopping them now!

Current Status

After successful completion of the Start-up Lab program the team now is managing Trailar Ltd., a new entity of DPDHL Group, implementing its solutions within DPDHL as well as for external customers.

Find out more at trailar.co.uk

Digital Manufacturing Case

Industry 4.0 is here. Robotics in manufacturing and logistics is forecasted to grow at an accelerated pace over the coming years and many companies cannot keep pace with disruptive new technologies. Many have an engineering skills gap and face a productivity challenge.

The Digital Manufacturing Team has vast experience in Supply Chain and in understanding how difficult and expensive it is to piece together effective solutions, and solutions involve taking risk on capital investment. Very few integration companies offer all the services required and don’t always have relevant operations experience. DMS provides these services including flexible, zero-capital solutions to increase productivity and close the skills gap for customers.

They build on Trend Research and source new innovation from across our business. Digital Manufacturing by Deutsche Post DHL is a hub for innovative design, sourcing and integration of robotics and automation solutions.

Current status

DMS is now part of Deutsche Post DHL Supply Chain division and is offering its services to internal as well as external customers.

Find out more at robot4zero.com

Meerkat Inventory

Taking inventory in a warehouse is often costly, time-consuming and repetitive work. On top of this it can also be very dangerous for employees due to the need to work at heights. Meerkat automates the inventory checking process, using ground-based robots outfitted with state-of-the-art computer and camera technologies, as well as the ability to “reach up” to inventory in high racking locations to perform a complete warehouse check. Thus, even the highest high-bay racks can be inventoried, even in the middle of the night with lights off and alarms on, without personnel being present. Meerkat is a first-to-market innovation that combines multiple technologies, leveraging the expertise of key Deutsche Post DHL personnel and strategic partners.

Current status

Meerkat is now part of Deutsche Post DHL Supply Chain and is offering its services to internal as well as external customers.

Find out more at meerkatinventory.com


XPL targets the logistics industry with services and products related to the digitalization of supply chain processes and the management of supply chain networks. The team is focusing on validating the potential of Smart Contracts within DPDHL. The XPL portfolio is being built around solution frameworks based on distributed databases that are enabled by distributed ledger technologies (DLT) and Smart Contracts. The core of the XPL portfolio of products and services is a DLT (Blockchain) enabled Freight Payment Invoice Audit solution. This solution brings benefits for DPDHL and its customers in process efficiencies and improvements in Accounts Receivables (AR). Being a frontrunner on new technologies in the area of Smart Contracts and DLT, XPL aims to gain competitive advantages for DPDHL and DHL business units.

Current status

XPL is nearing completion of phase 2 of the Start-up Lab program.  A parallel run is planned for two pilot customers within DPDHL – both key components for the graduation in August.

Find out more at www.xpl.com


Pengwin is a platform- and carrier-agnostic Shipping 3PV for Social Commerce.
Pengwin facilitates parcel booking by engaging with social sellers and buyers simultaneously. It organizes order-related information, analyzes requirements and recommends the best shipping option.
By automating the process, Pengwin reduces manual errors, saves time and money and promotes trust in the Social Eco System.
It provides DHL access to an emerging market segment and creates possibilities for strategic partnerships with Social Commerce platforms like Facebook, Instagram and WeChat. 

Current status

Pengwin is nearing completion of phase 2 of the Start-up Lab program.

Find out more at www.pengwin.social


I.D.E.A is a centralized application that interacts with existing Warehouse management systems and identifies/suggests the optimal number of orders to wave or stream.

Additionally, it performs labor‐balancing by re‐allocation within or across functions. I.D.E.A improves labor utilization, cycle time, throughput and reduce labor cost at our warehouses. Currently labor costs are ~40‐60% in most warehousing operations. I.D.E.A provides opportunity to minimize labor costs and maximize throughput of DHL warehouses.

As a disruptive solution from DHL, it could be the game changer for small and medium size customers/warehouses.

Current status

I.D.E.A. is nearing completion of phase 2 of the Start-up Lab program.