How the Trucking Industry Can Continue to Grow

The trucking industry has experienced a strong period of growth in the first part of 2011, so much so that they are now experiencing a driver shortage. Even though the industry has gained momentum, there are many hurdles that they will face in the future in order to continue this period of growth. Issues such as the driver shortage, rapidly rising fuel costs, and increased government regulations are beginning to slow down the growth, which could in turn slow down the economic recovery.

Despite these issues there are several ways in which the industry can continue to grow. In a recent interview, SJ Consulting Group president, Satish Jindel, outlined three keys for growth in the trucking industry: align business with customer needs, make full use of available technology, and where applicable, embrace cultures of acquired companies. On the surface these keys to growth seem complex, but when applied to specific organizations they can be simple to execute.

Starting with the idea that trucking organizations need to align their business with customer needs, Jindel insists that there is no longer such thing as LTL (less-than-truckload), truckload, or parcel shipping companies anymore. Jindel claims that companies such as UPS and FedEx have already become full-service logistics companies with warehousing and freight shipping capabilities, therefore traditionally freight-only shippers need to align their business plan more with the changing needs of their customers like UPS and FedEx have done.

When companies can incorporate Jindel’s second key, using all available technologies, they can more easily diversify their offerings as Jindel suggests. Using new technologies in their trucks can help drivers be more efficient, which leads to less fuel costs and less time on the road, which in turn increases profits for the company. In addition to decreasing overhead costs, new technologies can provide an affordable way for companies to diversify their offerings such as providing all types of shipping options and potentially warehouse and fulfillment options as well.

Finally, many trucking companies merged during the recession and in order to diversify, some companies acquired new businesses, and in order to continue growing these businesses, organizations need to embrace the culture of one another. By aligning internal goals and culture trucking companies can spend more time aligning their business goals with customer needs.

The three keys to growth outlined by Jindel are a great place for organizations to start during this time of uncertainty for truckers. While they may not be able to control the issues currently facing the industry, they can build financial stability by working towards these three goals.

Trucking Industry Case Study – Automated Truck Wash Low Cost High Volume Fleet Programs

There are some who don’t like the idea of a fully automated truck wash because they would rather have their truck hand washed. For instance, those folks that own their own rig are worried about the brushes, and the mechanism perhaps hurting their paint job, or ripping off various custom hardware pieces on their trucks. Still, an automated truck cleaning and washing system saves so much money in labor, that the pricing cost is reduced to the point at which even a fanatical truck driver owner operator might partake in the services. Okay so, let’s talk about this for a moment – and discuss the low cost high quantity volume fleet washing advantages.

You see, as I was saying even though most truck drivers, especially independent truck drivers with very nice trucks don’t like automated systems, and would prefer a hand wash, there is also a big issue with cost. Giving volume discounts to companies with fleets, especially those local fleets in your area solves a cost cutting problem that they have, and must deal with. Most drivers do not want to drive a dirty truck, and there is generally a shortage of good drivers.

In fact, there was an interesting article recently in the Journal of Commerce on March 9, 2012 entitled; “Trucking Hiring Rose 3.7 Percent in February,” by William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor, which stated;

“For-hire motor carriers added more than 10,000 jobs last month, BLS data shows the trucking industry increased hiring 3.7 percent year-over-year in February, a slower pace than in January. Trucking employers increased hiring 4.1 percent in January from a year ago, and 3.7 percent year-over-year in December, according to seasonally adjusted data. The jobless rate remained constant at 8.3 percent in February, with about 12.8 million persons unemployed, the Labor Department agency said Friday.”

Okay so, what does this mean for the trucking industry? It means labor shortages are coming, and moving along very quickly, therefore the companies have to keep the drivers happy, and they have their name on the side and a reputation and brand to protect. They have to have these vehicles cleaned, but everyone is pinching pennies, due to increasing costs.

The increased costs are across-the-board; ObamaCare, insurance, DOT fees, fuel costs, truck replacement costs, and maintenance costs. Any time you can save them money, you will find more companies migrating because your business model is more efficient and less costly. Luckily to a truck wash the more volume you do, the economies of scale also reduce your cost per truck washed, thus, by succeeding in business and going for high-volume fleet business it’s a win-win situation.

Indeed, I hope you will please consider all this and think on it. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns I would love to discuss this with you further by e-mail.

Common Health Issues In The Trucking Industry

Truck driving is a unique profession that, just like virtually any other job, has the potential to cause a variety of types of health issues for those that choose this career. While some of the health issues related to trucking are due to the long hours of sitting and driving, others are more related to lifestyle choices that tend to be common with the industry.

Many trucking companies recognize that some of these lifestyle choices are at the heart of many of the most common health issues diagnosed in truckers. They are providing programs, support and incentives for truckers to make a few simple changes in their exercise habits, diet and lifestyle that will lead to a decreased risk of these health issues developing.

Obesity

Obesity in the trucking industry is not just a risk; it is one of the most significant issues that is seen in the profession. Obesity is usually a combination of eating the wrong types of foods; those that are highly processed, sugary and fatty, and not getting enough exercise. Often truckers eat two or more meals a day at fast food places, truck stops or diners. The good news is that many of these types of restaurants are now providing healthier options in the form of whole wheat breads, salads and fresh fruit and other healthy snacks. However, it is important that truckers know to make that choice and to limit their intake of the less healthy options.

Obesity itself is a trigger for the next three health issues on this list. The more weight that your body carries the more your cardiovascular system works, the greater your risk for developing pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes, and the higher your risk is to have an injury when you are loading, unloading, or climbing around the truck to secure a load.

High Blood Pressure And Cardiovascular Disease

High blood pressure and cardiovascular disease is particularly problematic since there may not be any signs until it is a significant health issues. Heart attack, stroke or poor circulation leading to other health complications are common the longer that truckers work in the industry.

To make matters worse many truckers that know that they have these conditions avoid taking prescription medications for the health issue because of their license. This creates bigger risk of a serious condition such as a stroke or heart attack occurring, especially if high blood pressure is known or suspected.

Pre-diabetes And Diabetes

Pre-diabetes and diabetes Type 2 do not prevent a driver from operating a truck provided that blood sugar can be controlled by diet and oral medications. With the new regulations you may also able to drive if you have Type 1 diabetes provided you meet the requirements for an exemption.

Pre-diabetes is when the blood tests show levels of glucose that elevated but not yet in the range to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes. The good news is at this point changing diet and lifestyle can often reverse the problem and prevent Type 2 diabetes from developing.

Back, Neck And Muscle Pains

Strains, sprains and damage to the back, neck and joints are common in the trucking industry. This is partially a combination of the heavy loads that truckers are often required to move combined with their sedentary jobs behind the wheel. Truckers don’t take the time to stretch out before using major muscle groups, increasing their change of injury. Repeated injury, especially to the neck, shoulders, lower back and knees can results in significant and chronic types of aches and pains.

Sleep Problems

It is estimated that between 33 and 46 percent of all adults, and slightly higher in males, experience some type of sleep problems. This includes waking up multiple times in the night or having difficulty in staying awake in the day even if they believe they had a good night’s sleep.

Sleep apnea, which causes disruptions in breathing during the night, is one of the most common sleep problems. In this condition your breathing actually stops for a few seconds due to a collapse of the airway. Snoring may also be a sign of a sleep disorder but it is not always present.

People that have difficulties sleeping are more prone to distraction, inattention and falling asleep in the day. Sleep apnea has also been linked to increasing risk of vehicle accidents.

Depression

Depression is a common mental health problem in the entire population. However, the isolation of the trucking job combined with obesity and other health issues may be linked to a higher rate of depression in the trucking industry.

Other factors may be difficulties in balancing the work and family life due to pressures from the job, irregular schedules and stress on the job that all contributes to the risk of developing depression.

Understanding the most common health issues in the trucking industry can help truckers proactively make changes. Staying fit and healthy, making the right food choices and making time for regular exercise on the road are all recommended as ways to avoid these issues for a healthier life.