The Evolution of the Trucking Industry

Murray Pratt Blog, Trucking Leave a Comment

Today, I had the opportunity to listen to our wonderful software trainer, Lynda Clare, talk about the evolution of the trucking industry. Luckily for us, and luckily for our customers, Lynda has decades of experience in the transportation business. From the trucking carrier side to the brokerage side, Lynda has held virtually every role possible. From what I learned, it is absolutely astonishing how far the trucking industry has come, and in some ways, how far behind we are.

In the old days (just 30 or so years ago), the trucking business was a completely different ball game. Computers were not common place, so everything was done by hand. From rolodexes to T-Cards, keeping a trucking business in operation was a tall order. In the old days, one office worker could only manage about 3 trucks. Nowadays, through the use of trucking software, an office worker can typically manage seven to eight trucks – a huge increase in efficiency and cost savings.

Technology in general has done wonders for the trucking industry. Routing, dispatch, accounting, compliance, and more have all been optimized by trucking software. But not all the changes that have taken place over the last few decades have been positive.

Our industry is absolutely vital to how the world works. Just take a look around you, not one single tangible item around you hasn’t been on a truck at some point. Since trucking plays such an important role in our economy and way of life, it goes without saying regulation is very important. However, regulation has come to a point where it is no longer adding value to the industry. Rather, extreme bureaucracy has been handicapping small to medium sized trucking businesses. IFTAACE/ACI, driver regulations, environmental laws, and the list goes on and on. This extreme form of governance is virtually impossible to keep up with using archaic methods like pen and paper, or a white board. If you are using these techniques, you should seriously consider becoming more efficient with trucking software.

The trucking industry is a tough one, I don’t need to tell you that. But through slipping profit margins, it’s getting harder. In an ideal world, the margins on your operation would be around 15%. But alas, we don’t live in an ideal world; more realistically, your margins are likely hovering around 2%. What does 2% margins mean in this industry? Efficiency is everything. Each and every KPI is vital if you want to make any money at all. You absolutely need to track every single source of expense to calculate an accurate dollar per mile cost. Without this figure, you might as well be throwing darts at random numbers on the wall when trying to figure out what you should charge your customers. A proper trucking software system can help you do exactly that, an all-in-one for calculating your costs and providing you with proper pricing guidelines.

The hardest thing to do in life is to change. But without change, you cannot adapt. Business is about adaptation – changing to survive, and staying ahead to thrive. Don’t let your trucking business fall victim to extreme bureaucracy, slipping margins, and fierce competition. If you need help, reach out to us, it’s what we do.

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