Some 98% of Australian transportation, logistics workers report tech trouble

As the effects of the pandemic continue to put pressure on supply chains, new research has revealed that over 70% of Australian transportation and logistics (T&L) companies made investments in new technology to support them during COVID-19.

While these investments have been a lifeline to T&L companies, almost all (98%) of their employees reported a loss of business-critical time spent dealing with system or device downtime.

The findings from the Mobilizing the Delivery Workforce: State of Mobility in Transportation and Logistics 2021 Report, by mobile and IoT management solutions provider, SOTI, also uncovered the significant impact these technology interruptions are having on operations. Over 44% of Australian T&L employees reporting that they lose at least three to four hours every week due to system downtime that consequently delays shipments.

The research found that 30% of Australian T&L employees stated that the main causes of downtime resulting in shipping delays is due to a lack of IT support to address mobile device downtime issues, as well as self-serve applications that allow drivers to diagnose and troubleshoot device issues independently while they are on the road. Updated information not being automatically shared across all systems (28%), and systems not being upgraded frequently enough (40%) were also reported as top issues causing downtime.

“Throughout the pandemic, new technology has helped the T&L industry keep up with the surging demand for services across a variety of sectors, particularly in e-commerce and grocery,” says Michael Dyson, VP of sales, APAC, SOTI. “While this investment in better technology is crucial in helping T&L businesses to keep pace with demand, our research clearly shows that actually some investments might be hindering operations and productivity. The system downtime that has been experienced is likely occurring as a result of these devices not being properly integrated to ensure they operate reliably.

“T&L employees are using new technology to support their core operational duties and, with almost all of them reporting a loss in productivity due to system downtime, this is a major vulnerability affecting every part of a business,” says Dyson. “If T&L operators want to truly reap the benefits of using technology to streamline operations and increase their productivity, they need to also invest in better integrated technology.”

The lack of integration of new technology with existing systems creates inefficiencies that often cause employees to rely on paper-based processes, causing further inefficiencies and room for manual errors. The most frequently experienced issues employees said were causing them to rely on manual processes included the manual updating of multiple systems (26%), legacy systems not being fully integrated with new systems (36%) and information not being shared across all systems used (44%).

Leveraging new technology needs to be a top priority for T&L organisations, but with 96% of Australian T&L companies stating that they plan to invest considerably in new technology in the next 18 months, it appears this is something that is already in the planning stages.

“Having an advanced mobile-first strategy in place will help T&L companies ensure new technology is integrated properly and not operating in silos, so employee productivity isn’t undermined by preventable system downtime. It will also mean that when any new technology investments are made, companies are prepared and confident they are realising the full benefits and return on investment,” adds Dyson.