Transport and logistics in IT slow lane: ABS

The industry lags most other sectors in its embrace of information technology, official statistics show

June 24, 2013

The broad transport and logistics industry lags most other sectors in its embrace of information technology (IT), newly released Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures indicate.

In its latest report on the subject, Summary of IT Use and Innovation in Australian Business, 2011-12, the industry, measured as "transport, postal and warehousing", fell behind the average for use of a variety of IT functions.

While it was up to speed in broadband connection, at a fraction over 99 percent, this was from a relatively low base of just less than 90 percent with internet access of any kind, the third-lowest.

Industry firms also appear not to have come to terms with having a strong web presence, in front of only agriculture, forestry and fishing, with both below 20 percent.

It is a similar story with placing orders through the internet - second-last at 39 percent.

It did do slightly better comparatively with receiving them, at fourth-last of the 17 business groups measured, though the proportion of orders was around 20 percent.

The ABS notes that size matters in IT take-up, as firms with 0-4 employees dwarfed in percentage terms by the next measure, 5-19, which was, in turn, behind those with 20-199 and those with 200 or more.

But at almost all measures, the figures show IT use increasing over the last three measured years.

"Between 2010-11 and 2011-12, most key indicators of business use of information technology have increased," the report’s authors say.

"The greatest change was in the proportion of businesses that placed orders via the internet. This increased four percentage points to 55% between 2010-11 and 2011-12.

"While the proportion of businesses that reported receiving orders via the internet was steady between 2010-11 and 2011-12 (28%), the value of income derived from the sale of goods or services via the internet has increased by 25%, from $189 billion in 2010-11 to $237 billion in 2011-12."

On the innovation side, the performance was poor, with the industry coming last.

"During the year ended 30 June 2012, businesses in the Information media and telecommunications industry were most likely to report undertaking innovative activity, at 60%," the reports states.

"Three industries had less than 45% of businesses report being innovation-active, with businesses in Transport, postal and warehousing being the least likely overall to report undertaking any innovative activity in 2011-12 (29%)."

Again, size was seen as crucial.

"For example, of businesses with 0-4 persons employed, 39% reported being innovation-active compared with 76% of businesses with 200 or more persons employed," the report points out.

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