Inside Logistics

Execs keeping their eyes on labour, AI, ELDs: report

Labour-related disruptions to supply chain ops an increasing problem


April 22, 2019
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Labour shortages continue to plague logistics employers, according to new survey data. Seventy-two per cent of respondents in retail and 53 per cent in technology indicated they have experienced labour-related disruptions to their operations in the past two years.

About half of logistics providers and retailers, manufacturers are using training and retention strategies to help overcome the problem, while just over a third are employing automation. A quarter say that better visibility tools will help predict peaks and valleys in demand and allow for labour force planning.

The report, EFT and JDA’s “Global Logistics Report 2019”, also asked its 533 respondents – global supply chain executives from logistics providers, manufacturers, retailers and technology solution providers – about the role artificial intelligence (AI) will play in operations. Sixty-two per cent of logistics providers said the technology would be most practical in transportation management applications, while 58 per cent saw control tower applications that provide better visibility as the best use.

The vast majority of all respondents (72 per cent of technology providers, 70 per cent of logistics providers, and 60 per cent of retailers, manufacturers and distributors) agreed that AI and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies would be critical to future business success. Predictive analytics is the benefit that two thirds of logistics providers, retailers, manufacturers and distributors see resulting from AI adoption.

While ELDs caused a furor and implementation headaches, now that the mandate has been in effect for a year perspectives are changing. Many respondents (18 per cent) did report an increase in costs and almost six per cent of logistics providers noted an increase in delayed shipments. However, 28 per cent of logistics providers, 19 per cent of retailers, manufacturers and distributors and 17 per cent of technology providers agreed that ELDs were resulting in more data and better visibility.

Half of logistics providers and 40 per cent of retailers see the ELD mandate as beneficial to drivers, while 23 per cent of logistics providers and 29 per cent of retailers, manufacturers and distributors think it will make the driver shortage worse. As well, 22 per cent of retailers, manufacturers and distributors worry that truck capacity will be negatively affected.