Why transportation and logistics businesses are investing aggressively in automation

Why transportation and logistics businesses are investing aggressively in automation

The pandemic exposed the flaws of various supply chain operations; where for a given supply chain, the organizations’ systems are often disconnected and inflexible—leaving customers with poor experiences.

HFS Research, a global business research consultancy, has found that many transport and logistics organizations have a response; after surveying hundreds of Global 2,000 businesses in the industry, the research consultancy found that the sector is projected to see a significant rise in automation-related investments.

A horizontal bar chart that breaks down the projected percentage change in investments across industries

Why are firms in the space set to invest 82% more in process automation? We believe the reasons are two-fold: Organizations need to engage in automation to manage their part of a supply chain effectively, and the tool they need to achieve this end is becoming increasingly clear.

Let’s explore each of these points further.

Related: How EDI, or electronic data interchange, works

The need to embrace automation

Organizations in the industry rely on an ecosystem of 3rd-party partners, from ocean carriers to government authorities to ports and terminals. To identify these 3rd-parties and work with them effectively, they’ll likely need to join a supply chain platform that houses this ecosystem of vendors—like TradeLens

However, each organization faces additional requirements that are less obvious: 

1. The organization needs to be able to connect their systems internally, with clients’, and with those used by the supply chain platform’s vendors via application programming interfaces (APIs). Only then can an organization’s systems receive and share data in a way that’s agile and scalable. 

2. Beyond data sharing, an organization needs to implement workflow automations that work across connected apps, teams, and data. Moreover, the workflow automations should work off of real-time triggers that take place based on predetermined events in the apps—with the goal of preventing any delays along the supply chain. 

How an integration-led automation platform empowers organizations to solve this need

An integration-led automation platform fulfills both of these requirements, as it allows you to implement integrations AND automations. 

In addition, the platform provides a low-code UX. This enables lines of business to use the platform themselves, and in doing so, it prevents your organization from experiencing integration and automation bottlenecks.

To help paint the picture of how this works in practice, let’s use a real-world example: 

TFG—a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn, a German railway company—needed to be able to connect with their clients’ and partners’ systems in order to serve each group’s respective needs. 

This led them to use an integration-led automation platform’s SDK to connect the necessary apps; then, using the platform, they built automations that account for every aspect of their supply chain (which amounts to dozens of core automations).

The result?

They’re able to meet customer requirements at scale, prevent costly mistakes, gain real-time analytics, avoid increasing headcount (as implementing and maintaining integrations and automations is now easy), and save countless time for employees in IT.

Here’s a bit more on how the platform helps organizations in the transportation and logistics sector automate at scale successfully:

  • It provides pre-built connectors and automation templates so that your team can build any automation quickly 
  • It offers real-time, polled (e.g. every 5 minutes), and scheduled triggers, allowing your team to kickstart an automation in the way that best suits your needs
  • It delivers enterprise-grade security and governance, allowing you to keep your most sensitive data safe, and abide by rigorous data protection and privacy regulations
To learn more about the platform, you can further explore TFG’s journey in using Workato—the leader in integration-led automation.