Trucking 2000

Like it or not, you're living in exciting timesA few weeks ago a friend asked me if I felt that the world had started moving too fast. Given the tired look in his eyes, I knew the answer he expected. And I must say that I sympathize with him.Information and communications technologies have certainly compressed the time it takes to initiate, execute, and evaluate change, especially inthe business world

Like it or not, you're living in exciting times

A few weeks ago a friend asked me if I felt that the world had started moving too fast. Given the tired look in his eyes, I knew the answer he expected. And I must say that I sympathize with him.

Information and communications technologies have certainly compressed the time it takes to initiate, execute, and evaluate change, especially inthe business world where the payoff for correctly solving the change equation can be great.

There's no doubt that the Internet Age has seduced us into a life of rapid, unrelenting change that can seem overwhelming at times.

A more positive word for change, however, is innovation, and innovation has become the Gold Rush, the Eldorado, the motivating dream for entrepreneurs and managers in businesses of all types, including the wide variety of businesses that make up the trucking industry.

While we often perceive change as a threat or destabilizing force, we're able to see innovation is as revitalizing businesses and giving everyone associated with them a sense of accomplishment and success.

If you think that's just more New Age business-speak, take a look at the trucking operations that have already been able to transform themselves through innovation.

Once derisively called the sleeping brown giant, UPS has positioned itself to capitalize on the explosion in e-commerce, as has its major rival and the granddaddy of innovators, Federal Express.

The surviving less-than-truckload carriers have looked both globally and locally for new markets, all the while exploiting new information technology to find the winning mix of productivity and service.

Of course, the best truckload carriers live in a world of constant innovation, reinventing themselves whenever they sense a shift in customer needs. And some private fleets have taken the lessons of logistics and e-commerce to heart, reviving their fortunes by creating central corporate roles for themselves.

It's unlikely that the pressure to keep up or, better still, keep ahead of the competition is going to ease off any time too soon. As this month's cover feature points out so clearly, life in the trucking industry is not going to slow up in 2000 - or in the foreseeable future, for that matter.

That leaves you with a choice. You can let yourself sink under the weight of change, or you can start to enjoy the role of innovator in a time of historic opportunity.

In this instance, perception is more than "glass-half-full" optimism - it's really the only way to survive an exciting future.

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