Employee productivity suffers as e-commerce technology integration challenges persist

Unsurprisingly, the rise of e-commerce has prompted more transportation and logistics (T&L) companies to invest in technology. With everything from warehouse automation to visibility tools, these companies are struggling to meet the demands of shippers and consumers.

But diving headlong into a technology investment could cost these companies more than they realize.

New survey from internet of things management solutions company SOTI found that integration issues between legacy and modern systems needed to meet today’s demands could cost T&L employees up to two working days per month.

“The pandemic has highlighted the need for an integrated technology strategy,” said Shash Anand, vice president of product strategy at SOTI. “While we see clear investment in technology from T&L companies, we do not see a coherent strategy for implementing new technologies to counter the impact of the pandemic. It is crucial for T&L decision makers to understand that by ignoring these factors their organizations are wasting time and leaving money and productivity on the table.

The poll, Mobilizing the Delivery Workforce: State of Mobility in the T&L 2021 Report, interviewed 550 IT decision-makers in eight countries.

“The delay due to mobile device downtime has led to 98% of employees worldwide losing valuable working hours,” SOTI said in a statement announcing the report. “Almost a third (32%) say the main cause of downtime leading to shipping delays is lack of IT support to resolve mobile device downtime issues and self-service apps that allow drivers to independently diagnose and fix device issues while they are out. on the road.”

Across all countries, T&L companies lose an average of three hours per week per employee due to technology issues. The global average is 14 hours per employee per month. He found that the average downtime due to integration issues ranged from 11 hours per month in Mexico to 17 hours per month in Canada. The US, UK, Germany and Sweden all logged 15 hours per month of downtime.

The survey also found that many companies have to revert to paper-and-pencil processes when the technology fails. The most frequently cited examples are:

  • 45% said staff updated multiple systems manually.
  • 31% said legacy technologies are not fully integrated into new systems.
  • 29% said information is not shared among all systems used.

Common problems include a lack of up-to-date information in all systems, cited by 28% of respondents; a lack of training of staff on the use of technology, cited by 26%; and systems that are not updated frequently enough, which was cited by 24%.

“There is a distinct lag from the technology that T&L companies recognize they need for seamless adoption into their existing infrastructure,” said Anand. “With a integrated mobility and IoT management platform, T&L companies are not only able to increase speed, but also to minimize costs and ensure transparency in the delivery channel.

The investigation also confirmed the results of previous SOTI investigations. Of those polled in the new survey, 78% said they were exploring new ways to handle customer returns and 73% said they were working with retailers to improve the returns process.

These data follow with a SOTI brick ratio in clicks who found last mile delivery remains the most inefficient part of the entire e-commerce supply chain for 59% of US transportation and logistics companies. Yet for the consumer, this element remains an essential part of the online shopping experience.

In a survey of 6,000 consumers conducted by Arlington Research for the mobile technology platform SOTI during the fourth quarter of 2020, 67% of consumers said they wanted real-time visibility into the location of their giveaways. Christmas from the moment the online order has been processed. Delivery delays exceeding two days put off 38% of consumers, who said they would look for the product elsewhere in these cases, and 57% said they were frustrated with the online order return process.

“Almost half of consumers gave up buying online because they did not trust the site [would secure their data]Anand told Modern Shipper at the time, noting that 57% trusted well-known brands more.

SOTI provides technology that helps protect data privacy and improves the shipping process, including returns. “Delivery [and returns] is not only an option but a must, ”said Anand. “Sixty-three percent of consumers would like the return process to be simpler or even automated. [entirely]. It’s an opportunity for retailers to hone their game.

Anand said retailers should assess the technologies and look for use cases that will show how the technology works in real-world applications. This can include mobile devices, RFID, scanners, handheld devices, and drones.

“There are a lot of companies that got it right and they are doing extremely well and thriving in this economy,” he said.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Brian Straight.

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