A previous blog post (Nov. 11, 2020), featured roadblocks facing the trucking industry. Today’s blog post focuses on key opportunities.
In particular, this post delves into the following areas of opportunity:
- Improving customer service
- Creating shareholder value
- Creating new services
- Improving cost containment
- Leveraging emergent technologies
Challenged by Covid-19, the trucking industry has not stood still. It has and is changing… for the better. That’s because the status quo is no longer acceptable. To paraphrase a well-known quote, “we must be ready to change… or risk being left behind”.
With that let’s review five keys areas of opportunity for the trucking industry.
Opportunities Facing the Trucking Industry
The road ahead is not hassle-free, but it also offers benefits. Trucking companies taking a proactive approach to the New Normal can thrive by exploiting the obstacles.
Here are five ways trucking companies can convert obstacles into competitive advantage.
Improving customer service. Improving customer service was always a hallmark of trucking. But now, customer service is a market differentiator. Trucking companies that provide customer-centric services will thrive. Those that don’t may not survive.
As mentioned above, closer communications with the customer strengthens relationships that increase trust. And that feeds the ability to develop customized and innovative solutions. Improved customer service results from closer, more frequent communications.
Creating shareholder value. To stay competitive truckers will have to add value to their basic services. That will prevent the commoditization of their service offerings. Taking a lesson learned from the pandemic suggests businesses require never-failing service.
Trucking companies that can deliver during times of upheaval will stand out. So, truckers that increase resilience and reliability while keeping costs down will create value. Thus, executing effective CONOPS will help contribute to the customer’s bottom line.
Creating New Services. Also, successful trucking companies will constantly strive to introduce new services. For example, offering backhaul operations as a prime service provides an opportunity for growth. It can also open up a new revenue stream.
Further driving the growth of reverse logistics is ecommerce. For trucking companies, it provides a way to maximize capacity. Returning goods also helps reduce expenses for tucking companies and their clients. Reverse logistics as a service will likely grow and has the potential for increasing value and profitability.
Improving cost containment. The Coronacrisis has taught us the necessity of agility. Lack of agility led to increased costs or loss of market share. Thus, trucking companies that embrace agility have a chance to become leaner yet stronger. Becoming flexible ensures improved service through greater efficiency and effectiveness.
Reverse logistics helps maximize capacity along with integrated networks and streamlined distribution operations. Those efficiencies will help trucking companies keep costs low.
In one case, Penske logistics backhauls scrap from Ford for recycling by its aluminum manufacturer, Novelis. The amount of scrap backhauled supports the manufacture of 34,000 F-150s per month. (inbound Logistics, Sep 2020). That increases competitive advantage and could be a potential game changer.
Leveraging emergent technologies. As mentioned in the blog post on obstacles facing the trucking industry, autonomous vehicles won’t be ready for decades. But, over time, artificial intelligence (AI) will mature making it useful to scale. So, too, will the Internet of Things or IoT.
So the future of trucking will experience an evolution – not a revolution – of technologies.
As AI matures, it will help relieve the perennial driver shortage. IoT, meanwhile, will lead to efficiencies in preventive maintenance. As these emerging technologies evolve over time, they will improve operations and help cut or contain costs.
The Future of Trucking and Next Steps
As you can see the future holds promise for the trucking industry. The promising future stems from becoming more customer-centric. In focusing on customers, benefits will accrue to customers and trucking companies alike.
Shareholder value will also improve as trucking companies strive to provide continuous service. Plus, the creation of new services will mutually benefit customers and trucking companies.
Furthermore, cost will likely be more important, although it won’t only be about the bottom line. Remember, customer service is the dominant concern. Finally, trucking companies will seek new technologies to deliver cost-effective/efficient solutions.
This means, we can expect to see more agile, responsive, and customer-centered trucking companies. Flexible and resilient firms will separate themselves from those that fail to adapt.
As a 3PL whose cornerstone is customer service, TerraWorldwide Logistics is well-positioned to help you navigate the future of the industry.
We pride ourselves on providing customer service that’s second to none. In providing matchless service, we get to know our customers intimately.
That allows us to learn about your needs and challenges in depth. That’s why we can offer you tailored and innovative solutions. Our customer-centered approach is our competitive advantage.
The next steps depend on you. You can continue to operate as you do now. Or you can adapt by working with a customer-oriented 3PL.
The decision is yours. It depends on whether you’re prepared to compete in the New Normal.