The Ofload team and I had the pleasure of inviting the Supply & Logistics Association of Australia and several leading voices in the industry to our amazing new offices to discuss the future of logistics in Australia.
We heard from Caitlin Jones, Freight and Distribution Manager for Tassal Group, Nicci Harrison, Operations Director at Tip Top, Katie Walacavage Vice President, SCLAA NSW & ACT Vice President, and Kyle Rogers, Co-Founder & Director of Strategy & Growth at uTenant. The panel of industry experts shared their insights on balancing short-term needs with maintaining strong profit growth within the industry, the benefits of long-term investment in technology and innovation, and the biggest hurdles to building long-term investments amid inflation and market volatility.
Here are the top three insights:
The logistics industry in Australia is under tremendous pressure to adapt to changing market conditions. One of the biggest challenges discussed was around the need for increased efficiency and productivity as margins have always been slim in logistics. With rising customer expectations and competitive pressures, logistics providers are expected to deliver faster, cheaper and more reliable services.
Adding to this challenge is the significant labour shortage the industry is facing, particularly in truck driving, warehousing, and freight forwarding.
Finally, the industry is grappling with several environmental challenges including carbon emissions reduction and waste generation. With 18% of Australian greenhouse gas emissions coming from the transport industry, collectively finding ways to deliver for the country while reducing our impact should be a priority for every company. The panel’s insights into how the industry is adjusting to these requirements provided a sense of positive change in the industry.
Technology is changing the way every industry operates; Australian logistics is no different. Between Ofload’s own approach to revolutionising the way shippers and carriers engage, and uTenant doing the same in warehousing, we are already driving change. The panel touched on ways to leverage technology to support resilience such as the impact that automation will continue to have in terms of improving efficiency, reducing costs and increasing productivity.
One example of this is how automation is helping to optimise delivery routes and warehouse work. By automating these processes, logistics providers can increase the speed and accuracy of their operations and provide faster delivery times, better customer satisfaction and ultimately, increase their revenue. Leveraging this tech provides resilience within a business enabling it to quickly adapt to changes in the industry. As the panel highlighted, this will only accelerate as AI powered process automation enables companies to adapt faster.
Beyond automating administrative processes, businesses are leveraging robotic process automation to reduce the need for manual labour. Using robotics warehouses and distribution centres are managing picking, packing, and sorting, reducing the demand for human labour. This is a vital step in addressing the massive labour shortage that the industry faces. Without the automation of these tasks, Australia’s deliveries would already be stretched to breaking point.
Finally, hydrogen was chosen by every panel member as the likely replacement for diesel run trucks on long-haul routes. Even though this transition will be difficult, the panellist's advice was to make sure that all changes a company is committing to in terms of sustainability are realistic. Addressing environmental challenges requires a collaborative effort between logistics companies, policymakers, and other stakeholders. By implementing sustainable practices, the Australian logistics industry can reduce its environmental footprint while also promoting economic growth and innovation.
The Australian logistics industry is facing a number of major challenges right now, but these challenges also present significant opportunities for growth and innovation. By embracing automation and digital capabilities, logistics providers can improve efficiency, reduce costs and increase productivity. With the right focus on strategic growth and investment in digital capabilities, the Australian logistics industry can remain competitive and deliver value to customers in a rapidly changing market.
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