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.