E-commerce logistics continues to push the limits of today’s supply chains. The automated supply chain makes many promises and affords a way to enable automated exception management. Unfortunately, companies remain trailing behind. And according to McKinsey & Company, “for all the excitement, most logistics companies have not yet taken the plunge. For every force pushing companies to automate, countervailing factors suggest they should go slowly. We see five reasons companies are hesitating: the unusual competitive dynamics of e-commerce, a lack of clarity about which technologies will triumph, problems obtaining the new gizmos, uncertainties arising from shippers’ new omnichannel-distribution schemes, and an asymmetry between the length of contracts with shippers and the much-longer lifetimes of automation equipment and distribution centers.” As a result, managers must build a winning business case that builds shareholder support for logistics automation by following these five tips.

The State of Transportation Management Systems, Current Trends, & Key Benefits of a TMS

1. Benchmark Operations to See Weaknesses Compared to Peers

A successful business case that builds shareholder support for automation in logistics must always go back to data. Unfortunately, it is impossible to make a business case without data that reveals its current strengths and weaknesses. As a result, managers responsible for increasing shareholder support need to benchmark operations and processes. Benchmarking affords an additional opportunity to recognize areas in need of improvement. And that all takes place while keeping an eye on how automation and advanced technologies, including big data analytics, can overcome those barriers.

2. Focus on the Risk-Mitigating Effects of Automation in Logistics

The next best way to increase shareholder support for automation in logistics surrounds risk mitigation. Since automation can self-validate data and squeeze out additional efficiencies, it will naturally affect risk management. Furthermore, automated logistics and systems can dramatically reduce multi-model optimization errors, accounting, and much more.

3. Emphasize the Value of Virtual Robots—Robotics Process Automation

Automation in logistics is about far more than physical robots. Yes, physical robots reduce safety and health risks to workers by moving more loads, working around the clock, and never complaining. However, another type of robot exists within the machine. Virtual robots, also known as robotics process automation (RPA), can fully automate all repetitive processes and activities across API, EDI, emails, and virtually any other communications platform. For that reason, RPA is rapidly gaining notoriety for its ability to reduce the full-time equivalent (FTE) demand on logistics and conserve resources.

4. Maintain How Shareholder Support for Automation in Logistics Is Essential to Maintaining a Competitive Advantage

Even with evidence of substantial savings and increased value through automation, shareholders may still express skepticism. However, the business case must now emphasize that automation in logistics is not a passing trend. And more companies are rapidly investing in automated capabilities to meet the necessary demands. As e-commerce and omnichannel experiences rise to the forefront of modern customer expectations, automation in logistics will become more critical to handle day-to-day activities simply. Additionally, smart assistance and connected resources bring together more customers and businesses than ever before in history. So, the value of artificial intelligence is continuing to reshape the foundation of logistics—its IT infrastructure. And it is further evidenced by Gartner, “By 2023, 40% of I&O teams will use AI-augmented automation in large enterprises, resulting in higher IT productivity.” Essentially, maintaining a competitive advantage will amount to the degree and maturity of logistics automation.

5. Use Visual Aids to Guide the Hands of Shareholders

And lastly, another tip is immensely useful. Always use visual aids to represent potential growth patterns and data when seeking shareholder support. Data must be digestible and easy to understand for shareholders. They are busy people, after all. It can indeed be that simple.

Secure Shareholder Support With the Help of the Experts

Automation in logistics is a critical component of a future-ready supply chain. While securing shareholder support can be difficult, it’s far from impossible. And companies can take advantage of experts in the industry, like GlobalTranz and Cerasis, to understand automation’s value and create a winning business case. GlobalTranz, which acquired Cerasis earlier this year, offers an exhaustive list of consultancy services to help your team create and present a winning business case for automation. It all adds up to a faster, more accessible pathway to shareholder support for automation in logistics. And it begins with taking a hard look at your existing operation and following the steps outlined above. Also, remember that your company’s future depends on building in more efficiency, particularly as disruptions become the new expectation for year-round logistics management.

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