Supply Chain Shout Out: In Appreciation of Truck Drivers
Truck driver appreciation week ends tomorrow, Sept. 16, 2017, but appreciating truck drivers merits year-round attention.
There is no better evidence of the critical role of professional drivers than during the natural events that have occurred throughout the past few weeks. Over the course of my career as a logistics analyst with a regional produce supplier and as a strategic consultant with Omnitracs, I’ve had a front-row seat observing the importance and dedication of professional drivers.
According to the American Trucking Associations, the United States economy depends on trucks to deliver 10 billion tons of commodities. This is no easy task, since the majority of products are simply not shipped directly from manufacturer to end user.
The supply chain that is supported by professional drivers often includes three or more cogs to eventually get the product safely, and on time, to the end user.
In my experience, when an interruption occurs within the supply chain, the professional drivers are the individuals who step up and make sacrifices to get the gears back in line.
As the Gulf Coast and state of Florida prepared for Hurricane Harvey and Irma, the importance of the professional driver’s role was increased tenfold. During the time leading up to the storms’ arrival, residents ran to the grocery, hardware, and retail stores to stock up on life’s necessities. The water, food, plywood, and other items all made it to the store shelves via a professional driver.
Last week, two days prior to Hurricane Irma’s arrival in Florida, a convoy of five tractor-trailers hauling gasoline was escorted to South Florida. As residents were evacuating to safer ground, the fuel supply became critically low. With more residents needing to fuel up for evacuation, the supply needed replenishing. Once again, professional drivers answered the call and put their own safety on the line to meet the need. Keep in mind, after delivering the fuel these professional drivers had to also travel out of the area to safe ground. It’s absolutely amazing.
The reliance upon and need for professional drivers in these regions doesn’t stop there. Now that the storms have cleared, it will be professional drivers who begin delivering first aid supplies, food, and water as the residents begin rebuilding.
Whether it is in great times of need or as we go about normal day-to-day activities, join me in tipping our hats, giving a high-five or a big “thank you” to every single professional driver on the road.