Automation is aimed at reducing the impact of staff shortages


More than half of supply chain and logistics leaders (54%) are focusing on automating repetitive tasks to improve their employees’ productivity. At the same time, this also addresses the impact of staff shortages. This is according to new research from Descartes Systems Group.

To increase employee productivity, supply chain and logistics leaders particularly choose solutions to optimize delivery routes (54%) and increase drivers’ mobile productivity (45%). A solution to track shipments in real time is respondents’ top technology choice to support knowledge workers (53%).

Companies adapt recruitment and retention strategies

In addition, the survey shows that most companies are also adapting their recruitment and retention strategies and tactics to mitigate staff shortages. Hiring labourers (e.g. warehouse operatives and drivers) and knowledge workers (planners, managers and analysts) is mentioned most often in this regard (54%).

The survey also shows that flexible working hours (35%) and using the latest technologies (34%) are the best strategies to attract employees. In contrast, on-the-job training and education (35%) and higher pay (34%) are the best strategies to retain employees.

According to Chris Jones, EVP Industry at Descartes, the research shows that employers would do well to keep investing and developing to make the most of their existing resources. In doing so, they should also focus on more than just money to hire and retain a capable workforce.

Varying strategies, tactics and technologies

The results of the study also show that the strategies, tactics and technologies used by companies to address labour constraints vary based on financial performance, growth, the importance management places on supply chain and logistics activities, and the success of employee retention programmes.

The survey – conducted by Sapio Research – was held in late 2023 among a thousand supply chain and logistics decision-makers. Respondents came from nine European countries plus Canada and the United States, and held positions at the level of owner, C-Suite, director and manager in their respective organizations.