September 2013 | Commentary | Checking In

5 Trucking Trends on the Table

Tags: Trucking, Transportation

Keith Biondo is the publisher of Inbound Logistics magazine.

Our Annual Trucking Issue offers a buffet of valuable information for you to chew on and digest. Here are five key takeaways that will whet your appetite for more:

1. Sharing of information, shipments, assets, and space is on the upswing. For example, OEMs and auto parts suppliers who were previously reluctant to divvy up shipment space on trucks are now warming to the idea of sharing, as you'll see in The Automotive Aftermarket Supply Chain.

For those still reluctant about cooperating with competitors, using available room on trucks outside of the automotive sector might be an option. Building Capacity illustrates how carriers are drilling down on information by lane, and shippers are working together to make sure that the supply chain as a whole is operating well. If shippers don't share information, they are likely to be left out in the cold when capacity tightens.

Ben Ball of Georgia-based floor coverings company Shaw Industries agrees. After identifying that his carriers were facing rising costs due to lower productivity, increasing regulation, and a shrinking driver pool, he committed to sharing more complete data on shipment requirements to and from his 28 distribution centers. In the past, Shaw provided monthly projections to carriers; now they are daily, giving carriers a more precise way to figure costs.

2. Flexibility is key to creating sharable efficiencies. Carriers are really listening and acting to keep customers satisfied. V3 Transportation, for example, invested in an expedited truck fleet even though that freight segment was in the middle of a recession-driven contraction. The company had the flexibility to make the call to invest in assets when competitors were headed in the other direction.

3. Price concerns are on the rise. For many shippers, cost has eclipsed reliability and customer service as top concerns, according to our market research report Trucking Perspectives. Both carriers and shippers recognize that fuel, equipment, driver expenses, and capacity shortages create convergent cost concerns.

4. Overregulation will increase costs. With the Affordable Care Act; MAP-21; Hours-of-Service; CSA; and myriad federal and local EPA mandates, truckers and shippers fear a perfect regulatory storm of increased costs.

5. Partnering with the right carriers is crucial. The Top 100 Truckers reveals which carriers earned recognition for striving to serve you, their customers, more efficiently.

Hungry for more information? Dig in!