While automation is almost inevitable in the trucking and logistics industry, it won’t likely arrive this year as a labor crunch occurs, and other changes in these businesses will continue to present new challenges for business owners and truckers alike.
Here are some of the industry trends to keep an eye on this year.
According to many executives in the industry, automation isn’t developing or being implemented fast enough to help put a stop to blue collar labor shortage.
The shortage is largely due to the fact that it’s difficult for trucking companies to find drug-free and compliant drivers, along with technicians that have the knowledge and expertise needed to work on today’s complex trailers and trucks.
In addition to these jobs, businesses are having a hard time finding warehouse personnel, distribution center operators, and fulfillment center operators. At the same time, automation isn’t able to replace these lost jobs quite yet.
E-commerce is currently responsible for serving around 13% of the broader retail market, and is projected to serve up to 20% within the next decade.
As brick-and-mortar businesses give way to e-commerce business models, logistics will be expected to become more precise and on-time. This will especially require more responsiveness for fulfillment of two-hour, same-day, and next-day deliveries.
The mode of transportation is also likely to change soon, with drones becoming more appealing options for delivering items, along with smaller trucks that can make more frequent deliveries. Demands will also influence warehousing and distribution requirements. All in all, it’s unclear exactly how e-commerce will impact supply chains.
Electric vehicles are soon to replace diesel powered trucks, which can benefit the industry in a number of ways. First, these vehicles will have motors with fewer moving parts, less frequent maintenance needs, and a longer overall lifespan. Electric will also be less expensive than fuel, with newly developed batteries that can last a long time before requiring recharging and light weight that helps increase freight capacity.
Electric-powered vehicles are also likely to coincide with autonomy, as the roads see more self-driving trucks that are more energy-efficient and cost-effective than their predecessors.
We can generally expect technology to continue making leaps and bounds, and subsequently transform the trucking industry in the process.
The automation of labor processes including rating, billing, network optimization, freight matching, fleet management, maintenance planning, and more will become far more efficient while minimizing the job requirements of the workers who remain.
These are merely some of the many trends in trucking and logistics that will make waves in the industry as 2018 continues. They will also influence operations for many years to come, requiring people of all ranks within the industry to adapt if they want to survive.