Prime Mover Magazine

Isuzu boss on automation and future industry challenges

Unforeseen disruption without precedent is the only likely factor to upset population growth and basic economics as the perennial forces driving future directions of the road freight industry according to Isuzu Australia Limited chief Andrew Harbison.

The IAL Director and Chief Operating Officer weighed in on the current state of affairs in a statement he issued this week.

Increased freight volumes would continue to result from trade growth generated from increasing per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with population growth one of its main drivers.

In the near future there was no end in sight to the consumer economies in Australia and overseas with the global population to hit nine billion people by 2040 according to United Nations projections Harbison referenced.

"These constantly evolving elements bring with them unique challenges we must consider," he said. 

"The make-up of our labour force is a key one. International research points to relatively steady levels of employment across the sector, despite the seismic technological changes we keep hearing about," said Harbison.

According to Harbison, tech advancements in the industry such as automation that promise to disrupt the employment dynamic for the moment will be offset by persistent growth of the task.

Maintaining a balance he said will remain the challenge while noting a guarded acceptance of the change facing the industry was necessary.

"As always, we must be prepared to adapt and evolve with the pace of change, without overlooking the foundations of what works well, and importantly, what works for our workforce and the end user," he said.

"Critically too, it’s an appreciation that alongside the heady swirl of innovation, people are the at its epicentre—the foundation of everything we do.

"This industry is ultimately geared to service people in one form or another, so logically, it requires people to deliver that service well. History will judge our ability to best harness their capabilities, passions and preparedness for the task at hand."

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