Demographic trends ‘giving huge impetus to automation’

Dematic seminar hears workforce changes and customer expectations are driving technology strategies

Demographic trends ‘giving huge impetus to automation’
Challenges are outlined at Dematic’s Insight Seminars

Generational and population changes provide huge challenge to supply chain and transport and logistics operators but technological advances can mitigate many of these.

Those are the message from demographer Bernard Salt and Dematic CEO Glen Borg, the latter’s company says.

Reflecting on its recent Insight Seminars, Dematic notes Salt’s point that there is a confluence of three trends − baby-boomers leaving the workforce, Gen Yers entering but not in the same numbers, and a near doubling of annual population growth to more than 400,000 driven by increased immigration from China and India.

Salt sees many opportunities for those in the supply chain with the main challenge being finding willing and skilled workers who want to work in mainly manual labour roles within warehouses, distribution centres, transport and shipping applications.

Salt sees three key trends he believes will impact the supply chain:

  • Customers wanting more for less, which will put more pressure on supply chain operators to increase efficiencies
  • Competition from left field, including the introduction of new technologies, which can change the game very quickly, citing the amazing growth in the online channel in just the past couple of years
  • Increasing globalisation, which will significantly increase competition in the Australian market.

In the face of such challenges, including customer demands and generational resistance to traditional manual labour roles, Borg sees the trends making options, ranging from enhancing the efficiency and productivity of manual operations all the way through to the latest fully automated distribution solutions, as becoming irresistible.

With technology prices falling rapidly and both labour costs and service expectations rising, Australia had reached a tipping point, which was creating "a burning platform for automation".

Borg states that in rapidly changing markets, the key for any logistics solution is that it meets three key criteria.

"Any solution being considered for implementation in today’s dynamically changing markets must be flexible, scalable and modular, so that it can change as your business and market needs change," he says.

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