Labor Challenges Drive Technology and Automation Adoption in Supply Chain Operations
Ivanti Wavelink, the supply chain business unit of Ivanti, recently announced the results of its latest study, 'Heavy Lift: Supply Chain Trends for 2023" that involved collaboration with more than 200 warehouse workers - drivers, line workers, warehouse managers, analysts, customer support specialists and C-suite executives - to assess the current state of the supply chain. The survey highlights the growing importance of technology in smartly increasing workforce productivity as labor challenges linger.
One of the key findings in the study is the difficulty - highlighted as a critical difficulty - in hiring and retaining the right people for the right roles. Respondents seek intuitive technology solutions to help workers perform their tasks with maximum efficiency, but concerns about both shortages in effective solutions and in the right workers remained significantly consistent throughout the survey. Per Ivanti, notable workforce challenges primarily included training time (52%) and high turnover (50%) with another 41% of respondents also citing the need for digital upskilling.
To address these issues, organizations continue adopting technologies and automation to improve the productive worker experience. Approximately 85% of respondents plan to invest in new tech (or enhance existing tech) in the coming year, and over half (53%) indicated their intention to increase automation capabilities by up to 30% overall.
When employed correctly, best-fit technologies can make warehouse jobs a lot simpler, more efficient, and less physically demanding. The most commonly used tools included handheld mobile computers with barcode scanners (58%) and tablets (50%). Wearable computers and automated picking tools are currently less popular, but respondents did identify them as investment priorities for the next year.
And as we know, technology that is both easy to deploy and highly reliable can hasten adoption. According to the survey, the most significant factors when evaluating new technology were just that, high percentage-wise; reliability/uptime (69%), the ease of deployment (67%), ease of learning (63%), and adaptability - defined as a system that can rapidly respond to required changes - (63%).
Brandon Black, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Ivanti Wavelink (News - Alert), emphasized the importance of embracing technology to optimize workflow amidst labor shortages. "By streamlining operational efficiency this way, organizations can increase productivity, reduce costs, save time, and improve customer satisfaction."
Moreover, Black spoke about how "by implementing automation that uses real-time data, companies can gain end-to-end visibility that allows them to really evaluate information more efficiently and be more agile in mitigating issues."
Edited by Alex Passett
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