Ortus Blog

Virtual Roundtable: “The future of digital workforce in the transportation and logistics sector”

A month ago, the Ortus Club and Automation Anywhere held a Virtual Roundtable to discuss “The Future of Digital Workforce in the Transportation and Logistics Sector”. A talented group of CFOs, CEOs, Finance, Supply Chain, Logistics, and Operations Heads from across Singapore joined us. 

With companies facing unprecedented challenges responding to the novel coronavirus outbreak, protecting the well-being of workers, reinventing the way they work and maintaining business continuity is critical. Robotic software is ready to move to a more visible role in the corporate world: businesses can automate mundane rules-based processes and maintain business continuity with a 24/7 digital workforce.

Logistics, shipping and transportation professionals have a lot to gain from this technology which is already facilitating the industry’s workflow and driving its growth. Although automation is sometimes seen as a threat to jobs, logistics operators can actually simplify their daily operations with RPA.

During this virtual roundtable, various aspects of the topic were covered such as how companies can adapt easily and adequately to digitalisation of processes, and how to avoid the human workforce feeling replaced by an upcoming digital workforce.

Main questions that arose

  • How widely are software technologies currently deployed throughout operations?
  • What are the main benefits and pitfalls of RPA?
  • What can companies expect from digitalisation regarding cost-savings?
  • How is process automation shaping the future of logistics and what are the practical realities of an automated future?
  • What digital workforce solutions have companies implemented that have resulted in revenue generation in the logistics industry in Singapore?
  • What benefits and security risks should organisations consider when evaluating automation platforms?

Main Insights

The logistics, shipping and transportation sectors still have a long way to go when it comes to making the most of using robotic software. SK Lau, the Head of Automation Anywhere, opened this virtual roundtable by introducing the main benefits of RPA. He also included various challenges that companies are currently facing during the coronavirus outbreak. 

SK emphasised the fact that during these difficult times, many of the challenges businesses face have become increasingly visible. He shared research with the group showing that, in many cases, workers´ productivity has now been reduced to only 3 hours a day. This is a result of adjusting to the implementation of remote working. Another example is from a news article that reported on a company that lost over $4 million due to a “cut-paste” mistake in Excel. SK Lau highlighted a worrying insight into how simple human errors can cause great financial damage.

Digital workforce, the future of the workplace – Employees are the most valuable, yet precarious, assets in making an enterprise work. With the current COVID-19 situation, most company operations have been disrupted. The key to adjustment is combining the digital workforce with the existing physical workforce, ultimately boosting business results. There are many benefits that arise from a digital workforce, such as enhanced customer experience, higher-value and results-driven work, fewer employee-related errors, as well as reducing waste.

RPA: The challenges – the leaders around the world agree that adapting to modern digitalisation is the main priority in the industry today. RPA however, is not a new solution for some. Innovation tends to be difficult to quantify and can become a challenge when business leaders make decisions. Companies need to keep in mind that it is ultimately not about cost-cutting but about becoming stronger through this digital innovation. 

Upscaling the individual motivation of the workforce – Job replacement is a sensitive topic when talking about the digital workforce. Since the current situation has pushed us to evolve at a faster pace, it is crucial for business leaders to reflect from the perspective of the company’s performance. Corporations must focus on those individuals that can develop their roles in line with company needs. This, unfortunately, leaves those who cannot provide extra added-value to eventually be replaced.

The COVID-19 outbreak has given rise to what many people are starting to call the “new normal”. This is an ideal time to take full advantage of the digital workforce. It is crucial to be prepared in the logistics and transportation industry. However, the challenge is how business leaders will handle the fast-paced change. Automation, RPA, and digital working are some of the ways we can lead industries to business continuity and competitive success. 

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Transportation and Logistics Leaders’ Virtual Roundtable on Tuesday, 28th of April 2020. Automation Anywhere and the Ortus Club hope that everyone had a constructive and enjoyable discussion.

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Hannah HodkinsonVirtual Roundtable: “The future of digital workforce in the transportation and logistics sector”

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