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T&L focuses IT use on financial processes: ABS

Transport and logistics likes information technology most for ordering, accounting and invoicing but little else


Transport and logistics (T&L) companies value information technology most as a finance aid, with other functions used to a low-to-moderate extent, according to an Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) survey released today.

The ABS’s Business Use of Information Technology, 2015-16 report shows that 63.1 per cent and 55.9 per cent of ‘transport, postal and warehousing’ companies use IT to a ‘high extent’ for accounting and invoicing respectively.

None of the other tasks – service operations, stock control, marketing, human resources (HR) including payroll and business planning – garnered more than 50 per cent on the ‘high extent’ measure.

HR was the next best with 39.9 per cent, with 38.9 per cent not using it at all.

T&L in general scored weakest of all 17 sectors for internet commerce at 27.2 per cent and 21.6 per cent of companies placing and receiving orders via the internet.

Of the rest of the economy, only the utilities scored under 50 per cent for placing, while only agriculture forestry and fishing and 18.7 per cent scored lower for ordering.

However, within the sector, size means action and use by the proportion of those employing 200 or more was 73.6 and 78.2 per cent respectively, with 10-199 at 77.8 and 30.4 per cent and 5-19 at 44.4 and 35.5 per cent. They were brought back by the smallest operators that make up the biggest cohort, at 17 and 16.2 per cent.

The ABS was wary of its statistics relating to automated links between systems used to receive orders and other business systems, with an error rate of 10- 25 per cent attending several figures all of which were quite low.

Those it was more confident on were 8.4 per cent for reordering supplies and 3.8 per cent for marketing operations.

Of those it had reservations over – suppliers business systems, customers business systems invoicing and payment, service operations and logistics – none scored more than 29 per cent or less than 10 per cent and it gave those with no automated links a qualified 53.7 per cent.

The ABS was wary on internet income as a percentage of goods and services income, being only sure of 6.5 per cent with 5-9.9 per cent. That rose to a qualified 23.5 per cent with 10-49.9 per cent and a qualified42.4 per cent at more than 50 per cent.

Whether companies in the sector used specialists for IT support also depends on how big they are.

Of those employing 200 people or more, 90.1 per cent relied on specialist expertise.

This dropped to 34.8 of those employing 20-199 people and 18.9 per cent who employed 5-19 people.

The other backups scoring well were contractors or consultants where things were more even between 200+ and 20-199 – at 52.4 per cent and 54 per cent respectively – with 5-19 also fairly significant at 29.3 per cent.

The story was similar for suppliers of software or hardware, where things were also quite even between 200+ and 20-199 – at 49.3 per cent and 48.4 per cent respectively – with 5-19 also in there at 30.3 per cent.

T&L firms scored the least of all for in-house IT specialists, with only 10.1 per cent employing them as against 3926.4 per cent for contractors or consultants, but both were the smallest percentages of any sector.

Direct subscriber link (DSL) remains the main type of broadband connection at 60 per cent of T&L companies, with mobile networks at close to 20 per cent and fibre to the premises, cable, fixed wireless and satellite lagging that in single figures.

On the security side, about T&L one in 10 firms reported and sort of security incident or breach in 2015-16

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