Published: May 23, 2019

The world of logistics can no longer rely on simplistic delivery systems.

They now need systems that are more people-centric, smarter, and agile. The investment of technology by carriers has optimized routes, loads, fuel consumption, and improved safety for their fleets. Logistics managers are increasingly able to collect, analyze, and leverage real-time data from the road to optimize operations, engage their workforce, and drive better business outcomes throughout the supply chain.

Even though the trucking industry has a supply and demand problem—i.e. the industry is growing at an epic rate and dealing with a severe shortage of drivers—new transportation models and technologies on the horizon are creating demand for new skills and expanding the talent pool. As a result, carriers are investing in process and technology improvements to attract more skilled workers as well as training and promoting drivers willing to adapt to fill roles augmented by the future needs of the industry.

New innovations combined with driver management best practices around scheduling, pay, and compliance will curtail the driver shortage and improve service levels at a critical time.

Demand has never been higher for quick-turn fulfillment, and a brand’s reputation has increasingly been tied to the delivery experience. It’s not just the product that counts, but how (and how fast) that product reaches the customer. As a result, pressure to deliver is intense, and choosing the right carrier to deliver exceptional service will continue to be a business-critical decision.

Employee Experience Will Play a Bigger Role

The trucking industry is an essential driver of the United States economy; roughly 71 percent of freight tonnage moved around the United States is transported by trucks and, more specifically, truck drivers. Faced with a sharp increase in demand for transportation and fulfillment services, and challenged by a shortage of skilled workers, carriers are making new efforts to improve their employee experience, empower drivers, and encourage healthy work-life balance. Flexibility in scheduling is a key component of this, and modern workforce management systems will allow carriers to build schedules that are not only compliant with regulation, but also reflect what drivers need and want most.

Smart Trucking Will Be Critical in the Future

Real-time data visibility has enabled retailers, manufacturers, and shippers alike to make sweeping changes to the way they manage everything and everyone. Data and the technologies used to collect and analyze information will continue to empower logistics managers to maximize efficiencies and profits—all while enabling the entire industry workforce to work smarter. Modern timekeeping systems using geofencing technology will help carriers keep their fleet on track like never before. And integration with an ELD (electronic logging device) system to capture critical driver activity—like where their fleet is at any given moment—will enable logistics managers to identify and reduce idle time, maximize productivity across their organization, and above all, meet delivery expectations.

Compensation and Pay Visibility Will Inspire Drivers in New Ways

The future will likely see more carriers make the switch from paying by the mile or weight to paying by the hour, with different pay codes for time spent driving versus waiting or loading/offloading.

Making use of real-time data, more companies will also start to incentivize drivers for on-time deliveries, while accounting for stops, delays, and rest time. The inevitable rise of autonomous trucks and the recently imposed ELD mandate—which limits drivers’ allowable work hours between rest periods—will be primary catalysts for these changes. And, if executed successfully, this new approach will motivate drivers and provide assurance that they are achieving fair and accurate pay for their work.

The future of trucking remains bright—but only for organizations who are committed to motiving and inspiring their drivers throughout this season of change. Carriers that keep pace with innovation and are actively working to elevate employee experiences to attract industry-best talent will be your partner of choice.