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Help, please

Hi guys,

I hope you're all well.

We have an integration with another system, that's sending the OLIs into a Custom Object + Custom fields in Salesforce. I want to be able to show the value from a field from the custom Object on the Opportunity Object. There was no relationship between the 2 Objects, so I have created a Lookup field, so the relationship is now a lookup relationship one to many. One Opportunity can have multiple OLIs on the Custom Object. I have tried with a cross object forma field on the Opportunity Object: customobject__r.custimfield__c, but it only works if I am populated the Lookup field, which it's not what I want to achieve. I just want to transfer the value over, without having to populate the lookup (Yes, I know. It works as designed).
I have tried a workflow field update and check if there is value on the custom field on the custom object to populate the custom field on the Opportunity, but it doesn't populate the value.

Is this only achievable with Trigger?

Any help is much appreciated.

Thanks a lot.