Technology is taking over! Not quite like the robots in the Terminator trilogy, but more like the efficient future envisaged in movies like The Minority Report and Star Trek. The internet and robots are increasingly allowing businesses to expand internationally at the click of a button.
Australian companies are using technology to boost profits even though revenues are reasonably stagnant. Some of our biggest companies, like BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) are moving away from human workers, with their limited energy and strength, to incredibly smart systems that can run a whole mine.
The once-off costs for these systems are often outweighed by the improved efficiency and reduced staffing costs that flow from their installation. Remember the media attention two years ago about the centralised control station for all of BHP’s trains and trucks? That innovation has been a part of BHP slashing $4.3 billion from its operating costs to boost profitability, even though the iron ore price has fallen and AUD remained strong.
3 top options
There are a huge number of examples on the ASX, but here are three of my favourite stocks that are using technology better than rivals:
Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Ltd (ASX: DMP) is promoting the use of the internet and apps to ensure staff are busy making pizzas and not answering phones.
The business of SEEK Limited (ASX: SEK) is entirely online and it is able to cross-sell educational products through its dominant website. The joys of the internet have allowed the group to expand to Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Motley Fool contributor Andrew Mudie does not own shares in any companies mentioned. You can find Andrew on Twitter @andrewmudie
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