There is a vibrant discussion happening across industries right now about what the future of work will look like in the midst of digital transformation taking root in every aspect of our lives. The days of piles of stodgy paperwork are fast fading away as the world evolves to adopt more efficient processes and systems. Money makes the world go round, as they say. Far too often when we talk about the significance of the world’s digital transformation, the focus is on the massive financial benefits of boosting efficiency and productivity while streamlining operations. But digital transformation is not just about operational cost savings.
There is an extremely important element of digital transformation that we don’t talk about enough, and it's the human element of digital transformation. How is the digital transformation of organizations bettering the lives of those who work there? How is it alleviating pain points and freeing up time for more rewarding work?
The future of labor is not digital simply because it enables greater profits and greater savings; the future of labor is digital because it unlocks new levels of satisfaction, fulfillment and creative solutions. Technology is not replacing humans; it’s enabling humans to spend time being the very best versions of themselves. And that is something worth driving towards.
Individuals embrace digital optimization at home
Individuals around the world are already living digitally optimized lives; from Amazon “buy now” to medical records and appointments at the touch of an app. As of 2020, there were over 5.22 billion smartphone users in the world; 66% of the global population. With two-thirds of the world population wielding a cloud-connected device in the palm of their hand, one would be hard pressed to find a household did not include at least some vestige of digitalization boosting the home’s comfort and simplifying household tasks for the inhabitants. According to the GoodFirms survey in 2020, 54.62% of respondents use 3 or more different cloud services. In 2022, the number of digital buyers worldwide rose to 2.64 billion, a whopping 33.3% of the global population.
As the world has gone through digital transformation, individuals have adopted these ways of operating into their daily lives both on purpose and through passive participation. Avoiding the digital world is virtually impossible in this day and age, and so out of both necessity and convenience, the global population has embraced varying levels of digital savviness. As individuals increasingly see the value of technology in their own lives, they have both a desire and an expectation to incorporate that efficiency into their work life.
Digital optimization boosts bottom line in business
Employers have their own motivations for adopting digital optimization. Of those implementing AI in business use cases, 44% of survey respondents indicated that they experienced cost savings as a result of the implementation. 46% of surveyed supply chain professionals reported that implementing cloud-based service providers enabled greater collaboration in the workplace, and as a result problems were solved twice as quickly. As businesses continue to face inflation, staying within budget without compromising on productivity is a balancing act that digital optimization can stabilize. Gartner is projecting that worldwide IT spending for 2023 will total $4.6 trillion, as organizations increasingly prioritize digital optimization.
Everyone benefits when businesses embrace digital transformation
The logistics industry may be becoming increasingly digital, but trucking is still lagging behind the majority, casting doubt over what the future of work will look like for truck drivers and those with small trucking businesses. This traditional field is riddled with paper from receipts to bills to agreements; this aspect of trucking creates a massive headache for drivers who are already being spread thin by their demanding hours. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), attributes low wages and poor working conditions as contributing to a truck driver turnover rate of 90% or higher.
The industry is hurting for drivers; the American Transportation Research Institute’s 2022 Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry report ranked the driver shortage as number two. Attracting new employees to the industry is difficult. In 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), median annual pay for semi drivers was only $48,310. With older drivers retiring and challenges bringing new talent to the industry, the first order of business should be improving the overall work experience.
The path to reliable labor in a market facing incredible demand is to digitally optimize. Digital optimization not only improves the efficiency of drivers through enabling connectivity amongst all players supply chain, but also dramatically reduces friction and meets the labor force where they are as savvy digital consumers.
Business-to-business technologies exist that provide truck drivers with a digital solution that features document digitization and storage, GPS location tracking, load and compliance management tools, relationship managers and even a parking management tool. Leaders in this space are seeing tech boost morale while improving efficiency and streamlining the shipment process at every step throughout the supply chain.
Labor and talent are the next layer of consideration when looking to AI improvements or digital transformation in a business; creating efficiencies in how independent workers can deliver creates a pipeline of workers who want to work with such efficiency.
When workers are given the tools to do their work without friction and frustrating inefficiencies, morale is directly impacted through the elimination of pain points. Research strongly concludes that high morale boosts employee productivity. By extension, the morale boosting impact of digital optimization has a multiplying effect on worker productivity because not only does the technology itself make the job faster, but the employees are also faster and can take on additional work because they are more motivated to do so. Digital transformation is not coming for jobs, it’s coming to improve jobs, and this is as true in the trucking industry as anywhere else. The future is bright with digital optimization.