Lack of analytics, AI and sustainability goals in UK transport

New survey of UK and global transport and logistics professionals reveals significant gap in adopting even basic data analytics and AI. 

Cost and lack of knowledge are the major barriers to more widespread adoption of tech solutions in the UK transport and logistics industry. That’s the conclusion of On the Move, a new report by location data and tech platform HERE Technologies, developed in part with Amazon Web Services (AWS). 

Truck and sea containers in Malaga

Photo courtesy of HERE Technologies

Some 300 transport and logistics (T&L) professionals were surveyed in the UK, Germany and the USA, from companies large and small.  

As well as a significant gap in the adoption of basic data analytics let alone artificial intelligence (AI), the report reveals a wide lack of sustainability goals and progress toward achieving real-time supply chain visibility among T&L companies – in both the UK and wider world. 

Just 50% of UK-based logistics firms use basic data analytics according to the survey, conducted by YouGov. That’s less than the 63% in the USA but a bit ahead of the 41% in Germany. 

Just 19% of UK firms use AI, which can be deployed in areas such as demand forecasting.  

For 26% of respondents, cost was the primary obstacle to wider adoption of such tech. A further 13% cited lack of internal expertise and/or resources. Notably, this wasn’t the case for respondents in Germany and the US, where the majority of respondents said the chief barrier is potential disruption to current processes and services.  

Lack of expertise may explain why 76% of UK respondents would prefer to partner with external providers who can supply off-the-shelf solutions instead of developing bespoke capabilities in-house. 

Perhaps most surprisingly, the report reveals that more than 60% of respondents said their operations do not have defined sustainability goals. A further 33% had no plans to define such goals. Sustainability was also ranked least important out of seven end-to-end supply chain and logistics management considerations in the UK. The major priority in the UK is to improve customer satisfaction. 

While 72% of UK respondents (and 68% in the US) felt their organisation is making progress towards teal-time visibility of supply chains, less than a quarter overall felt progress to date had been ‘significant’. Ocean freight is proving to be the most difficult mode of transport for this kind of visibility. Truck operations are the most visible in real-time. Real-time tracking and route optimisation are the two most-valued capabilities to improve this.  

Just 41% of UK organisations responding to the survey use location data for driver routing. Just 31% use it to improve on-time deliveries. Just 28% of logistics firms surveyed use such data to optimise route planning and transport logistics.  

Remco Timmer, Vice President of Product Management at HERE Technologies, says: ‘On one hand, this study shows the progress being made by companies towards increasing their supply chain visibility. On the other hand, it’s clear the industry currently lacks the contextual data, AI capabilities and tools needed to optimize fleet deployments, routing, and appropriate mode switching. 

‘As a result, we’re seeing increased demand for location data and services that enable logistics companies to overcome disruptions in real-time while reducing emissions and improving employee safety in the process.’  

In related news:

10% improvement in air quality in Bristol due to CAZ 

AI battery design uses 70% less lithium

TfL dashboard links deprivation to road traffic injuries 


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