Logistics software provider Inform has released the results of a study carried out in October this year into the status of IT in the finished vehicle logistics sector. It shows that companies consider it a decisive method in keeping ahead competitively.

However, a high percentage of the 118 global respondents pointed to high investment and restricted IT budgets as barriers to implementing the latest systems, with half having not done so for more than six years. Moreover, 72% of respondents referred to at least one weakness in their respective systems, including usability and reporting capability as two of the leading problems.

“With the vast majority of respondents recognising the critical business nature of software, it is concerning that only a little over a quarter are completely happy with their incumbent IT,” said the authors of the report. “This is perhaps a result of outdated software or cumbersome processes being used.”

The study, called 'IT in Finished Vehicle Logistics and the management of vehicle handling and storage', canvassed companies involved in the sector active in countries including the US, China and across Europe. It questioned carmakers, logistics providers, carriers, terminal operators and port authorities and found that 66% of them are using systems developed in-house for specific vehicle logistics needs, something fairly typical of the automotive sector.

“This is most likely a result of the fact that standard systems were non-existent ten years ago, leaving companies having to either adapt general transport management solutions to their specific FVL needs or make the software themselves,” said the report.

Challenges during regrowth
Among the challenges revealed by the study was the need to have easy access to real time data and analysis but at the same time enable flexibility to react to changing circumstances.

This is important given the rebound in the automotive sector across global markets. Around 86% of respondents to the study expected the volume of vehicles their company handles to increase over the next five years, with the majority expecting that growth to be somewhere in the region of 20%.

In a report released this December by Scotiabank and referenced in the report, global car sales have accelerated, with a 33% surge in China driving overall volumes 9% above levels held the previous year. The US and Japan have also seen double-digit growth year-on-year.

Even in Western Europe new registrations grew 4% in October this year to reach almost 975,000 vehicles according to Germany’s automotive association, the VDA.

“This growth, coupled with the wide recognition of the business critical nature of software, makes it incredibly concerning that only a little over a quarter of automotive companies are completely happy with their IT,” said Matthias Berlit, vice president, Manufacturing Logistics Division at Inform (pictured). “The coming year will be a testing time for the industry and for many companies software will be the enabler in taking advantage of the opportunities at hand.”

You can request a copy of the full report by going here