Home' MHD Supply Chain Solutions : MHD May-Jun 2017 Contents T
he Australian transport and logistics
sector accounted for more than 10 per
cent of gross domestic product (GDP)
in 2016, and is set to grow further this year
according to the Bureau of Infrastructure,
Transport and Regional Economics.
The industry has also benefited from
improvements to road and rail networks, and
greater interconnectivity between these networks
and major ports such as The Port of Melbourne.
The future, at least in the short term, looks
bright for transport and logistics, but there’s
also a wave of uncertainty in the air. Look at the
retail space, for example: Amazon is primed
for entry into the Australian market this year,
and the impact this will have on the traditional
transport and logistics industry is still unclear.
One thing that is certain is that customer
expectations of on-time deliveries will continue
to rise, and Amazon’s speed-to-market
service model will only add to that. Australian
businesses must find ways to meet these
expectations in a quick-changing market.
Automation to create efficiency
What are the challenges, then? Research
from EY Sweeney, commissioned by Motorola
Solutions among industries including transport
and logistics in Australia and New Zealand,
highlight a few. The need for automation
is crucial – 87 per cent of respondents
want maximum efficiency through reducing
bottlenecks that impede productivity, and 73 per
cent want automation of repeated processes to
simplify manual or complex tasks.
With the right technology investments, the
transport and logistics sector can realise the
benefits of speedier deliveries, efficiency, and
greater automation to provide enhanced services.
While there is a deluge of devices and
technology available to the industry today, the
answers and new capabilities that companies
are looking for may be found in more traditional
technology, such as digital radio. While the
history of these devices is long, they have
evolved over time to become fully featured
devices with a rich set of applications.
These apps can manage any number of
processes that can help meet the growing
demands of customers – such as GPS,
managing job tickets, organising fleet
operations, and crucially, locating and
monitoring the health of workers on the road.
Moreover, the same technology can also be
applied to smartphones and other devices to
provide the same capabilities by leveraging the
power of radio networks.
Keeping workers safe
Safety in the transport and logistics sector is
always non-negotiable. Whilst organisations
in the sector will always be under pressure to
deliver better and faster services, this demand
can never come ahead of the safety of remote
workers delivering cargo from point A to point
B. The same research from EY Sweeney
highlighted that 91 per cent of respondents
want to monitor and communicate with
employees to keep them safe, whilst 87 per cent
need workers to communicate and be able to
raise an alarm wherever they are.
Simple and precise streams of data are all
that is needed to achieve this – GPS data and
personnel information are examples of simple
and readily available data sources that can
immediately improve employee safety. Other
innovations that can have a positive impact
include lone worker applications: instead of
having to make regular calls over the radio to
confirm they are safe, the app alerts the driver
to simply press a button at scheduled intervals
to do this to confirm he or she is OK.
This means drivers can safely check-in
whilst on the road, and when coupled with
GPS technology, the driver can be located
immediately at any time.
Industry and customer expectations of
technological advancement and faster delivery
times from transport and logistics companies
in Australia aren’t going away, nor is the need
to prioritise safety for remote workers on the
road. It’s vital that these businesses leverage
technology to meet these requirements – those
that fail to do this will struggle on the new digital
journey transport and logistics is now taking.
Martin Chappell is the general manager,
Australia and New Zealand commercial
channels, minerals and energy, at Motorola
MHD SUPPLY CHAIN SOLUTIONS — MAY / JUNE 2017
IT IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN 29
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