Operations leaders confirm AI is shaping a new industrial workforce in the UK

Samsara research reveals how AI is curbing the UK’s driver skills shortage.

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Nine out of 10 (93%) operations leaders in the UK’s industrial, manufacturing and logistics industries agree artificial intelligence (AI) and automation are key to redressing the skills shortage, according to research commissioned by Samsara, the pioneer of the Connected Operations Cloud.

The research, set out in Samsara’s State of Connected Operation Report 2022 and carried out among 1,500 industrial operations leaders, including 200 in the UK, reveals how AI and automation technologies are increasing employee retention and making the industrial sector more attractive to new recruits.

Operations leaders cite several benefits to introducing AI and automation that allows employees in physical operations to do some or all of their work remotely, minimising the time on-site and maximising time on the road.

54% say it improves competitiveness with organisations in similar industries

51% said it led to higher employee engagement, helping to build trust

39% said it helped boost recruiting efforts

AI and automation are being applied in many ways across the industrial sector, including the use of real-time diagnostics to complete asset inspections remotely, connected video for real-time driver coaching and walk-throughs instead of riding along or going on-site, and the use of AI for the automatic processing of data negating the need for manual processes.

The report also presents that half (50%) of UK operations leaders cite easy-to-use technology as one of the most influential factors in recruiting and retaining employees.

“Although technology has modernised the employee experience in nearly every other sector, the people that power physical operations - drivers, frontline workers, and field technicians -have, until recently, been under-served by technology,” said Philip van der Wilt, VP & General Manager, Samsara, EMEA.

“The biggest obstacle to the modernisation of the logistics industry is the continued reliance on pen and paper processes. At a time when the sector is crying out for more staff to drive vehicles, supervise warehouses, and manage the overall supply chain, we know that embracing digital transformation can improve working conditions, reduce costs, and drive increased productivity,” added van der Wilt.

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