In the face of e-commerce sales growth of more than 30%, coupled with expected holiday spikes, carriers are implementing peak-capacity surges to manage delivery loads. But how are shippers and manufacturers faring with the pandemic-fueled online shopping boom? Through the use of low-code automation — software tools that require relatively little coding expertise.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced less-efficient logistic operations to accelerate their adoption of automation. Those that were behind the curve with technology investments have been forced to step up the pace. Many have no choice but to make things more efficient. E-commerce has been the primary catalyst for the increase, as consumers access to brick-and-mortar stores turn to shopping online.
IT groups within most organizations are allowing business users to be increasingly self-sufficient with the help of no-code or low-code systems. The e-commerce industry is seeing a significant increase in demand, thus allowing businesses to be much more reactive to automation needs on their own.
In the coming holiday shopping season, e-commerce will outpace brick-and-mortar business by a significant margin. All aspects of the business will require automation and efficiency to meet customer demands. E-commerce isn’t just about processing orders efficiently; it’s also about things around the edge that can be made more efficient, such as return requests, technical support, and access to simple questions for internal and external customers. Keeping the focus on the customer experience and matching it with automation are key.
The pandemic has accelerated the demand for low-code automation in a big way. Some businesses have leaned on automation as a means of driving efficiency and cutting costs. Others have looked to low-code or no-code automation out of necessity. I have personally seen a trend of banks processing activity much faster. Many institutions leaned on no-code systems to capture a significant share of the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, with the help of robotic process and workflow automation. Those that failed to automate got fewer applications processed before funding ran out.
Automation has also grown in the healthcare space. Many organizations are using online forms to facilitate a contactless experience for patients visiting the hospital or doctor’s office.
Since the start of the pandemic, logistics activity has picked up. With e-commerce and goods delivery experiencing greater demand, logistic organizations are witnessing a significant increase in the pace of their organizations as a whole. As a result, this has driven the need for automation all around the business.
As companies become more efficient with automation, the customer experience will become a significant focus and source of competitive edge. From order entry through fulfillment and delivery, the process involves multiple steps. Supply chains can benefit from automation throughout the lifecycle. The one thing that stands out as vitally important is the ability to react to needs quickly. Using a no-code platform for automation allows the business to configure, not customize, systems very quickly, and get them into production.
Regardless of what’s in store for the rest of this year — especially as the holiday season approaches — automation will be a key player in the manufacturing industry. Every aspect of the supply chain can benefit from technology to improve efficiency, compliance and accuracy, and low-code automation provides a useful entry point to such investments.
Terry Simpson is a technical evangelist at Nintex.
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