The implications of the United States labor gap are vast, spanning from inflation to a recession — and many negative consequences in-between. The transportation and logistics sector, where demand is especially high given the boom of ecommerce, is one industry that has been hit particularly hard by the labor gap.
Railroads are continuing to have difficulty hiring due to post-pandemic priorities.
The ongoing truck driver shortage is estimated near 80,000 — a historic high.
Warehouses saw a 49% turnover rate last year, impacting production and delivery.
Manufacturing employment has dropped approximately 400,000 from pre-pandemic levels.
There simply is not enough labor to manage U.S. imports and exports, and the results can be felt throughout supply chains. We promise this post isn’t all doom and gloom- read on.
OK, so the bad news is economists think this labor shortage will last several years, and some even believe the shortage may be permanent. The good news is that technology can play a role in solving many of the underlying issues, particularly surrounding the employee experience.
Why the employee experience is broken
Everything is on the table to decrease attrition in the transportation and logistics market. A leading mindset revolves around the need to improve the existing employee experience. Typically, the employee experience involves perks like working from home or other similar flexibility. Post pandemic, however, these traditional value adds have become status quo. Their inclusion, at this point, may only stop employees from leaving (but no promises).
Today’s challenge is amplified by the resulting situation: with fewer people and more unfilled jobs, productivity within supply chains must somehow continue without burning out your employees still on payroll.
So what are employees looking for? According to Forbes, companies need to reimagine the employee value proposition beyond wages, and attempt to reduce the complexity of the products and services leveraged.
Here’s where automation plays a role. The introduction of automation into supply chains has big upsides for U.S. businesses, including the overall improvement in employee satisfaction. Automation drives effectiveness and efficiency, which are both staples in creating meaningful work for employees. The more meaningful the work, the happier the employees, the higher the retention.
Research has shown that over 40 percent of employees use a quarter of their time for repetitive tasks. That’s a lot of busy work- and likely a lot of rework due to manual errors.
Eliminating manual and repetitive tasks are basic goals companies should keep in mind when trying to elevate the employee experience. In the shipping and logistics industry, busy work (and rework) continue to persist. Employees waste numerous hours monitoring systems for updates and manually migrating data from one system to the next — day in and day out.
Plus, workflows are still broken up and choppy. For example, consider the process of communicating the move of an import container from a terminal, using a combination of data types: portals, emails and EDI (electronic data interchange). This data exchange is anything but simple and anything but streamlined.
As the gap between new technology and legacy systems grows, the dream of a streamlined supply chain process becomes harder to achieve.
How automation can generate employee value
In February, Gartner reported that 81% of workers are looking to learn new skills, while only 42% of them found them accessible. A glass-half-empty person would say that’s a lot of unhappy employees. But we’re more of a glass-half-full type, so what we see is an enormous opportunity. An opportunity to fulfill a large population of employees who are actually looking for more engagement!
By thinking about productivity as a positive component of the employee experience, companies can solve multiple problems simultaneously. Automation tools capable of streamlining workflows can generate a lot of value to companies, customers, and the employees who use them.
According to a new study on business automation investment, 86% of U.S. business executives see automation as a remedy for improving employee retention, and 78% of organizations are upping their investment in automation technology to support it.
Likewise, low-code platforms are transforming the automation movement by empowering employees to contribute valuable work, without the need for IT assistance. Drag and drop capabilities have opened the door to a new population of workers. Even better, these platforms support your company’s digital infrastructure tremendously without the extra investment in tech support.
Low-code automation for employee and logistics excellence
Automation tools should:
enable a continuous flow of information
provide new ways to collaborate with customers, partners and suppliers
transform the efficacy of current systems
This is the mindset on which Splice is built. Splice eliminates manual work (and rework) and enables users to build the structures of their workflows within a low-code, cloud-based environment. Our turnkey solution eliminates IT dependencies and enables scalability and flexibility of business processes.
Take Splice Exports for example. Exporting shippers and forwarders clamber for earliest return and cut-off dates from ocean carriers and marine terminals. They search websites and email to reconcile receiving windows, often without success. The outcome is more detention, demurrage and transportation costs (Splice Exports even retains this data for use when reconciling any detention or demurrage invoices). Using Splice’s automation, which starts with the first booking confirmation, shippers and forwarders can eliminate the daily scramble to focus on the issues that create value rather than avoid loss.
Using event-driven automation, Splice takes care of mundane tasks and eliminates errors caused by the reworking of data. By using Splice, not only will you create more operational capacity and more employee job satisfaction, you’ll reduce errors and speed up processes. (We told you this post would be positive!)
Client spotlight: Read results with Splice's integrated yard management tool
Read how Splice’s automation increased throughput and efficiencies in our recent case study. This trucking company saw higher productivity and employee satisfaction due to:
Less administrative time — saving office personnel about three hours each day.
Faster yard checks — from three hours to one hour.
Decreased truck turn times — from 45-60 minutes to 10 minutes tops.
As you work to elevate the employee experience, reach out to learn how Splice can help make roles at your organization more rewarding and less frustrating through automation.