Commentary: What Uber Freight Will Mean for Shippers
Uber recently announced the launch of their newest service, Uber Freight, which allows trucking companies to automatically match with loads in need of transportation. While reviews of the new service are mixed, Uber executives claim that their shift toward infiltrating the trucking industry is in full force and that they already have a network of recurring users from a number of large businesses. And while Uber Freight does stand to revolutionize the trucking industry as a whole, the service will also have far reaching impacts on other areas including supply chain management – especially when it comes to expediting goods. But why?
As the manufacturing industry becomes more competitive and consolidated, many manufacturers are moving to models that guarantee uptime. This means that customers are leasing or renting equipment for a certain number of in-use hours, buying functionality rather than the actual piece of equipment – and that manufacturers must meet the product uptime promised in SLAs.
As equipment uptime becomes a key competitive differentiator, having the right service parts in the right place to make repairs quickly (or even pre-emptively repair a part that is about to fail) is crucial to success. Uber Freight could help manufacturers ensure parts are on-site as quickly as possible, eliminating much of the coordination and cost concerns typically associated with expediting parts for the ‘last mile,’ plus opening up doors to optimize many other aspects of the service supply chain. And, as the on-demand economy becomes more commonplace and customers have higher expectations than ever, manufacturers will have to adopt these new, innovative ways of doing business to stay ahead.
It will be interesting to see how Uber Freight impacts the trucking industry. Will Uber Freight become a new essential tool used by truckers across the United States? And subsequently, which companies will successfully leverage the new technology to positively impact their end-customer experiences?
It’s also important to note that Uber’s ambitions within the industry likely do not stop at today’s Uber Freight capabilities. With aspirations for eventually becoming a service that provides self-driving trucks and smartphone-based logistic services, Uber Freight could be the first-step for Uber in helping manufacturers maximize the efficiency of their after-sales service divisions.