DHL Parcel

Logistics leader handles peak customer demand with scalable global network from Cloudflare

DHL is the first international delivery service, and since its founding in 1969, it has grown into one of the largest logistics companies in the world. In the Netherlands, DHL Parcel delivers 1.5 million parcels every day to businesses and homes using Europe’s largest fleet of zero-emissions electric vehicles. Globally, the company has more than 650,000 employees, including 6,000 in Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

Reshaping last-mile logistics

Package delivery has always been seasonal, surging during big holidays and mega-shopping days, but at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, DHL Parcel saw its volumes nearly double. Well positioned for post-pandemic growth, DHL saw revenue increase 22% in 2021, its highest ever.

Consumers are buying more online, and they want to know exactly when their packages are arriving. Businesses need real-time tracking of their deliveries to improve efficiency, maintain traceability, and meet their customers’ expectations in a changed world.

As the pandemic upended last-mile logistics virtually overnight, DHL Parcel Netherlands was ready for the surge.

“Managing peaks is in our nature,” says Jan De Groot, Vice President of Digital and Business Process Optimization at DHL Parcel Netherlands. “We didn’t need to change anything because we were prepared.”

DHL Parcel Netherlands had already moved key applications to the cloud, including track and trace, and had designed its microservices environment for maximum scalability. “All of our microservices can scale indefinitely,” he says.

DHL Parcel Netherlands partnered with Cloudflare to ensure scalability, simplify security, and maintain operational efficiency as the business continues to grow.

Delivering a better customer experience

DHL Parcel leverages Cloudflare Content Delivery Network (CDN), Cloudflare Web Application Firewall (WAF), and Cloudflare TLS Encryption for its operations in the Benelux.

Cloudflare CDN allows DHL Parcel to deliver its content over the global Cloudflare edge network. Cloudflare Argo Smart Routing provides a unique vantage point to detect real-time congestion and route traffic across the fastest and most reliable paths, ensuring customers have real-time, personalized visibility into their package deliveries.

“With Cloudflare, we can serve content from the edge,” says De Groot. “The closer the content is to the edge, the better the user experience is.”

The global Cloudflare network provides DHL Parcel with precise control over how both dynamic and static content is cached. Delivering content from the edge improves the user experience and drives down bandwidth costs because it reduces the need to source content from DHL’s backend databases and web systems.

“We can reduce the amount of traffic we get from bots and crawlers who hit our site,” says De Groot. “Cloudflare helps us manage our traffic and avoid getting a flood of requests that would limit our ability to serve new information to customers.”

Reducing automated traffic reduces costs and preserves bandwidth for legitimate business use.

Ensuring strong security and compliance

“We have zero tolerance for security breaches,” says De Groot. “We protect customer data and make sure all communications with our clients are secure.”

With Cloudflare TLS, DHL Parcel can extend strong encryption to its consumer and business-to-business customer communications, regardless of which web browser they use.

From malicious browser plug-ins to the latest application and network threats, Cloudflare helps DHL Parcel protect its business and customers against data breaches and business disruption.

Even as attacks rise, DHL Parcel can simplify compliance requirements for customer-facing applications who need to comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Requirements (GDPR) as well as Germany’s even more stringent data protection laws.

“Cloudflare helps DHL Parcel protect our customer data and client communications, simplifying compliance with data privacy regulations like GDPR,” says de Groot.

Cloudflare WAF protects the company’s web applications and APIs from zero-day vulnerability exploits as well as attacks such as cross-site forgery, cross-site scripting, and SQL injection. This way, DHL can protect its web applications — even as attacks become more complex and diverse.

Cloudflare Rate Limiting automatically identifies and mitigates excessive requests. “We can block certain IP addresses where people are trying to hack our systems,” he says. “It’s a big advantage that we don’t have to bother with the malicious traffic,” de Groot says.

Unmetered DDoS, built into Cloudflare CDN, provides powerful protection for the company’s cloud-native applications and websites and ensures the performance of legitimate traffic is not compromised.

A relationship built on proven value

DHL Parcel initially looked to Cloudflare to protect its web operations from rising DDoS attacks, but over the years, the relationship has grown. “We collaborate well with Cloudflare,” says De Groot. “Cloudflare is constantly delivering new features,” he says. “We can play with new technologies easily, and if there’s a benefit, we can enable them.”

That agility and innovation adds value as ecommerce continues to grow for both businesses and consumers. DHL sees a bright future for business-to-business ecommerce, predicting that 80% of sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will take place through digital channels by 2025.

DHL Parcel Netherlands is ready to adapt to changing consumer tastes and keep global economies running as it delivers more packages to homes and businesses. DHL Parcel’s operations in Sweden, Poland, Portugal and other regions rely on the cloud applications created by the Netherlands team.

“Cloudflare is a growth enabler for DHL Parcel,” says De Groot. “Cloudflare provides out-of-the-box security that helps alleviate my team’s workload and allows us to focus on the business.”

DHL Parcel
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Key Results
  • Accommodate 30% growth for package tracking and tracing requests with a large reduction in automated traffic and content caching

  • Enable horizontal scalability of cloud-native application over Cloudflare's secure, global network

  • Encrypt all customer communications to maintain compliance with data privacy laws

“Cloudflare helps DHL Parcel protect our customer data and client communications, simplifying compliance with data privacy regulations like GDPR.”

Jan De Groot
Vice President of Digital and Business Process Optimization

“Cloudflare is a growth enabler for DHL Parcel. Cloudflare provides security out-of-the-box that helps alleviate my team’s workload and allows us to focus on the business.”

Jan De Groot
Vice President of Digital and Business Process Optimization