Study Finds 60% Technology and 40% Human Expertise is Ideal Balance for Supply Chains

The survey explores perceptions from shippers and carriers about the evolution toward a more digital world and sheds a light on how technology and human expertise complement each other in the supply chain.

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As technology continues to transform the workforce and logistics professionals navigate a rapidly changing supply chain, Coyote Logistics, a leading global third-party logistics (3PL) provider, today released the results of its proprietary Tech + Humanity research study.

Conducted in partnership with third-party market research firm Martec, the survey revealed that a balance of 60% technology and 40% human expertise is needed to optimally manage supply chains, reaffirming Coyote’s longstanding position that the two must go together to succeed in an evolving world.

“At Coyote, we know that the supply chain of the future requires a blend of both technology and human support – not one or the other,” says Christina Bottis, chief marketing officer, Coyote Logistics. “As an authority in the logistics industry and a leading developer of innovative supply chain solutions, we are uniquely positioned to offer the expertise needed to enable shippers and carriers to leverage this optimal balance between human and technology capabilities. The data from Tech + Humanity provides insight into how we can best equip them with tools and resources they need as their businesses evolve.”

The survey explores perceptions from shippers and carriers about the evolution toward a more digital world and sheds a light on how technology and human expertise complement each other in the supply chain.

In conjunction with the survey, Coyote also released an online Tech + Humanity assessment that enables shippers and carriers to find out which they favor more – technology or human expertise. 

Striking a balance

To better understand how shippers and carriers can strengthen efficiencies in their supply chains, Tech + Humanity analyzed which of 13 tasks are best suited for human expertise, which functions can be optimized with technology and which require a combination of both.

The results demonstrate that human expertise is irreplaceable in creative, decision-making and strategic-thinking tasks, such as communicating with customers and resolving shipment and delivery problems.

Regarding automation, shippers and carriers reported that technology is best positioned to strengthen operational functions such as managing inventory and booking shipments.

However, while the study illustrates the many opportunities to incorporate technology into the supply chain, respondents did not identify any functions that they believe are best served only by technology.

Instead, shippers and carriers advocated for a 60:40 mix of technology and human expertise in supply chain tasks.

“The best results happen when technology and humans are all working together, as we focus on keeping up with the changing demands of the market and consumer. Neither can exist in a silo,” Bottis says.

“Technology provides visibility and data that’s critical to building a supply chain strategy, while human expertise is the key to unlocking the real value of the tools, synthesizing data into actionable supply chain initiatives and making the best strategic decisions for the business.”

 What this means for shippers and carriers

To achieve the ideal blend of technology and human support, shippers and carriers should begin by evaluating their current supply chains to identify which tasks technology can handle and which are best left for human engagement.

From there, supply chain professionals should investigate opportunities to increase efficiency and identify gaps in the business that technology or skilled talent can fulfill.

Supply chain professionals who have not yet started transforming their operations are not alone. To help understand where they are in the process, Coyote has developed an interactive assessment for supply chain professionals to understand their current technology to human ratio.