Driving the Efficiency of the U.S. Supply Chain
The recent surge of domestic manufacturing and the overall growth of the U.S. economy has required suppliers and carriers to re-examine and seek out new ways to streamline their operations. As the economy has continued to grow over the past decade, the American truck driver has become one of the most important facets in the U.S. supply chain, moving the majority of the surface freight in North America.
As the economy adjusts to a new level of output, improving the efficiency of the U.S. supply chain is essential to continued economic growth. This includes addressing key logistical hurdles that drivers and the trucking industry face daily, like deteriorating infrastructure and capacity crunches.
Improved Infrastructure – Investing in Safety
One of the biggest logistical challenges is a direct result of today’s U.S. infrastructure. In its current condition, the nation’s infrastructure cannot accommodate today’s level of high-volume traffic. This creates additional costs and inefficiencies for the trucking industry and, in fact, it’s estimated that around $75 billion a year is lost as the industry sits together in traffic due to congested bottlenecks. The continual growth of the economy continues to boost the number of trucks on the road, as trucking moves approximately 70% of the surface freight in North America and had a record breaking 6.6% increase in tonnage transported in 2018.
The inefficiencies of the road have also become an economic issue for drivers. Strict zoning restrictions across the nation are forcing drivers to choose between Hours of Service (HOS) violations, traffic fines or missed wages as they try to find a safe place to park. According to the American Transportation Research Institute, drivers are spending nearly an hour a day looking for a safe place to park– resulting in $4,600 in lost wages annually.
Beyond logistics, road conditions deemed by the American Society of Civil Engineers to be “structurally deficient and in poor condition” are becoming a greater safety issue. According to the American Trucking Associations, in nearly 53% of highway fatalities, the condition of the road was a contributing factor. While the trucking industry is encouraged by the steps of legislation leaders to put forth a plan to heavily invest in the nation’s infrastructure, we do believe that it is past time to put politics aside and work together to ensure everyone’s safety on the road.
Tech Evolution for Improved Synergy
The need for capacity optimization has also begun to spur the industry to finally embrace technological innovation, resulting in recent investments in technology and IoT solutions in hopes of increasing agile demand response. The additional data insights that accompany carrier tech adoption is also laying the foundation for fleet and shipping managers to have greater visibility into their operations – allowing for improved communications and cost savings.
For example, ELDs provide an immense opportunity for both shippers and carriers to drive synergies, reducing costs and eliminating waste for both parties. It’s also good to note that technology not only assists with increasing collaboration between shippers and carriers but can also improve driver retention and hiring rates. Addressing some of the top concerns of drivers including health, safety and communications, tech solutions offer drivers a better quality of life.
Let’s Keep America Moving
Recent economic policies have highlighted the importance of ensuring the U.S. supply chain is able to operate at its maximum potential. As drivers of the economy, trucking industry leaders are committed to transporting our clients’ products as efficiently and effectively as possible. It is a safe assumption that if the nation’s trucks aren’t moving, neither is the American economy.