You work hard every day to maintain and improve your relationships with trucking and logistics partners. It’s a two-way street. A recent study indicates that it’s probably successful. But much like the factors that are shaping the shipping and transportation marketplace, that relationship is inevitably going to change sooner or later. Whether it’s for good or bad largely depends on how quickly your partners can anticipate and adjust to impending trends.
- Logistics for a new generation
The average age of a commercial truck driver in the U.S. is 55 years old. Every day, more older drivers are leaving the workforce. Other longtime industry veterans — including those who manage operations, deploy technologies, engineer processes, recruit talent and more — are joining them.
Millennials are taking their place, comprising more than 35% of today’s U.S. workforce.* In addition, the next group of workers, Generation Z, has begun to infiltrate the labor force. Each generation brings unique needs, skills and capabilities that are impacting how shippers interact with trucking and logistics firms.
More savvy with technology, and more demanding about real-time data and feedback, Millennials are significantly impacting the way freight is moved — as both consumers and supply chain logistics professionals.
- It’s transparent, more technology is needed
More business, supply chain and transportation information is digitized than ever before. Fortunately, that makes it more accessible and usable — with the right technology.
Today’s shippers demand immediate, real-time visibility to freight, whether on the dock, in transit, or when it reaches the end customer. With federally mandated electronic logging devices and GPS tracking on every truck, you can track specific shipments in moments with unprecedented convenience.
Expect your trucking and 3PL partner to send alerts directly to your smartphone or tablet, or to offer a customizable reporting dashboard for immediate access to critical information so you can make fast, informed and profitable decisions about your freight.
Your supply chain partners should offer cutting-edge technology to automate and enhance freight-matching capabilities. Within moments, they should be able to capture capacity accurately and cost-effectively in any location.
In addition, you and your partners can use customizable dashboards to monitor and enhance performance and access a wide range of analytics. Logisticians can assess new details, make adjustments and even receive important feedback in real time. As a result, they gain critical insights that enhance their performance, so they can meet your needs more reliably moving forward. Together, you can quickly identify areas for improvement and work to resolve them.
- Good to the last mile
Millennials are more adept with technology at home, too. As a result, they’re a driving force of the e-commerce boom — which has changed the way many shippers interact with and serve their customers, including via the onslaught of last-mile deliveries.
Unfortunately, with the driver shortage, supply chain partners can’t inherently add more trucks — so you can expect many more less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments.
With more third-party outlets, you can expect more drop shipments, too. As more goods are transported to and from warehouses, you need a supply chain provider capable of accurately tracking those movements. That’s why many companies have implemented warehouse management software for real-time automation that simplifies warehousing and inventory tasks.
The new technology eschews traditional electronic data interchange (EDI) infrastructure — opting for more modern, flexible and reliable application programming interface (API) software, including web-based programs. Because there’s less coding involved, many supply chain providers can even save money with it — and ultimately, pass the savings on to customers.
Check it out for yourself
As the industry is roiled in a wide range of disruptions, there are many opportunities for forward-thinking shippers and supply chain logistics companies. Assess how adept your current partners are in managing a younger demographic of worker and consumer who demands just-in time shipments and real-time information.
- Pew Research Center
Collins White, President of Logistics, AMX Logistics