Solving Today's Transportation Challenges

By Gregg Lanyard,
Solving Today's Transportation Challenges

It is a critical time in the transportation industry as modern challenges force many supply chain and transportation experts to rethink decades-old systems. While the industry always runs in cycles as the balance shifts between carriers and shippers, never before have reduced capacity and increased demand levels put such pressure on shippers. It’s impossible to stay successful today without innovating and embracing new technology.

Booming Demand

The rapidly growing e-commerce industry is creating previously unheard-of shipping volume; truckloads are predicted to rise 2 percent and LTL volume is predicted to increase 3 percent through 2022. For shippers that traditionally processed only wholesale orders, their systems are unprepared to handle the influx of direct-toc-onsumer orders. Furthermore, the consumer and retail demand for expedited delivery has created a system of urgency where transportation providers that are unable to meet the deadlines will lose customers quickly.

Driver Scarcity

At a time when the industry needs more drivers than ever, we’re facing an unparalleled scarcity. Analysts estimate the market is short over 40,000 drivers today, and that number will continue to grow to 125,000 within the next ten years. In order to continue operating at a high level in the face of this labor shortage, transportation officials need to install intuitive systems that build a holistic view of the demand and carefully calculate and optimize the best methods for fulfillment. Furthermore, drivers need to be equipped with the proper tools to make them more efficient while still meeting compliance restrictions.

Federal Regulation

The 2015 mandate requiring electronic logging devices (ELD) in all commercial trucking operations went into effect April 1st. While most large trucking companies already have ELDs implemented, many smaller operators will have to purchase the technology. Not only is this an added cost, but the increased regulations are expected to escalate transit times and add to capacity strains.

Technology Solutions

An advanced Transportation Management System (TMS) engineered for the demands of both wholesale and omnichannel retail takes into account today’s challenges and provides a holistic, end-to-end view of the transportation network, so that managers can better determine how to deploy resources in a way that will let them meet deadlines and SLAs. TMS integrated with sophisticated digital freight matching for when core carriers are unavailable, helps operators find alternative capacity quickly and without sacrificing company standards for safety, security and service. Carrier capacity currently averages between 98 and 103 percent, so access to real-time freight openings is crucial for navigating the tight market. TMS integrated with digital freight matching service also expedites the payment process, which is beneficial for all parties and helps encourage a collaborative environment. A robust TMS also includes a mobile app for transportation managers and truckers to ensure smooth deliveries. The app should include automated tracking with real-time, in-transit visibility, regulation support and driver safety measures.

Transportation Going Forward

Today’s transportation hurdles cannot be overestimated as shippers are forced to respond to an evolving market. However, a prepared and agile transportation team will see these challenges as an opportunity for growth. Now is the time to embrace technology resources and implement an industry-leading TMS to find the necessary capacity, streamline processes, reduce cost and ensure standards and safety.

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