The long haul driver shortage is one freight industry trend that we are all very familiar with. The American Trucking Association says that about 60,000 drivers are necessary, and this number will soon rise to 100,000.
Without these drivers, trucks don’t move, and that means whole industries come to a halt. Knowing the trends in the freight shipping industry can help you budget and prepare so your business is ready.
Keep reading for other important industry trends, so you stay informed.
1. The Driver Shortage
As we mentioned, there is a significant shortage of drivers. The industry is trying to rectify this by making driver jobs more enticing with higher pay and perks. Unfortunately, this is only doing so much to bring new people to the industry.
One significant benefit from the shortage is that it has forced freight companies to become more inclusive. While only 6% of truck drivers are women, this number is quickly growing.
Companies are finding that women have fewer accidents and lower turnover. This bodes well for their future in the industry.
2. Holistic Approach
Companies have begun to approach their supply chain in a more comprehensive way. Tariff wars have made businesses nervous about their ability to maintain their supply chain.
The answer is to look at your supply chain as a whole. Work to mitigate the role of tariffs in your supply chain. If you can’t avoid tariffs, work to at least mitigate the risk.
Don’t depend on your entire product supply to come from one manufacturer or supplier. Don’t have all of your product come from one country either. That way if your one supply source runs into an issue, you can lean on your other channels to maintain your supply chain.
3. Data Is Your Friend
Metrics and data analytics has become a focal point for supply chain professionals. They have begun to examine and interpret data to look for ways to reduce risk and cost.
Make this task easy but utilizing an analytics software that can mine data and issue reports. To get the most out of your software, make sure it can integrate into your current systems and software.
4. China Is on the Move
As we move into 2019, we see China making moves to invest in channels throughout the Middle East and Africa. This includes bridges, ports, railroads, and roads.
This expansion is helping China secure long-term trade partners. As China gains control of global trades, its global economic influence also grows.
5. Customer Is King in E-Commerce
Customer expectations continue to get more demanding for e-commerce businesses. Companies like Amazon continue to push those expectations higher by innovating new ways to get orders to customers faster.
Don’t feel like you have to compete with Amazon. Instead, do a little research into the service that your customers will be happy with.
A popular solution is to offer free shipping and a paid fast shipping option. These two options will cover the majority of online consumers. People either want it cheap and are willing to wait, or they want it fast and are willing to pay.
6. Technology Innovations
The industry is embracing technology. Supply chain and freight professionals want to reduce costs by automating solutions.
One major trend is to start using robots in warehouses. This eliminates the need for people to do the pick and pull part of the supply chain process.
Another technology trend is to start using demand matching and blockchain applications.
7. Rising Rates
Due to truck shortage and increasing demand, rates have risen and are expected to continue to rise. You’ve likely already noticed this in your freight quote for shipping efforts.
Rates have also risen because of a hike in raw material costs. In response to this many fleet managers are renewing the importance of fleet preventative maintenance. The hope is to delay the need for new trucks.
8. Tesla Is Coming
Tesla has already shaken up the consumer car market. Now the company is poised to start disrupting the freight industry. They are currently in development to create an electric semi-truck.
Another trend is the development of autonomous trucks. The driver shortage fuels this trend as it is seen as a solution for this ever-growing problem.
Both trends are in their infancy, though, so don’t expect to see a self-driving or electric truck on the road this year. What we will see is fleet managers looking at how they can utilize these trucks if and when they become a viable option.
9. There’s an App for That
Doesn’t it seem like there is an app for everything these days? Well, now app-based logistics are going to shake up this old school industry.
The apps create a single source for shippers. This will let them work with both national and regional carriers.
Many independent trucks will only work with private fleets and not national carriers. Now you have access to these truckers.
10. The US Transportation Infrastructure Is Struggling
Thanks to natural disasters, many of America’s roads have seen better days. Hurricanes, snowstorms, and floods are some of the most common culprits to damaging major highways.
As these roads get damaged, they prevent transportation that depends on them. The repair process also hinders transportation by slowing the flow of traffic.
Know the Freight Industry Trends
When your business depends on freight shipping for your product delivery, it is vital that you know what the freight industry trends are. If you don’t stay informed, you could find yourself stuck with your suppliers not sending you materials or product.
Or if you are the one shipping out product, you’ll want to make sure you budget and prepare for coming changes. You don’t want to get stuck trying to explain to your customers that you can’t ship to them.
Now that you know what to expect in the coming months for the freight industry, let’s focus on doubling your monthly sales with coupons, deals, and offers.