Trucking revolution

A global shift is taking place in the trucking industry. At least that’s what it seems, if a report by Transport Capital Partners is true. According to the report, summarized here by Wendy Leavitt, Fleet Owner’s director of editorial development, says carriers are “thinking outside the box.”

Now, I for one, hate the term “thinking outside the box.” When you think outside the box, it implies that all your other decisions are the same decisions your competitors are making. To make a decision just because everyone else is making the same decision is foolish. It’s the argument you used to make as a child when you wanted to do something. But all my friends are doing it!

Now, companies seem to be taking a different approach. Attacking their current problems with the gusto and long-term thought process needed for survival. Some of the thoughts expressed by trucking companies in this report are probably ideas that should have been in place all the time, such as the idea that fleets do not want to expand capacity to meet short-term demands. Instead, it says, fleets prefer to raise rates rather than add excessive equipment like they did in 2006. The result at that time, of course, was increased business. The end result today is a money drain on equipment, too many people and other increased business expenses.

If they had followed this principle before, there may be many more carriers still operating today. But it’s easy to forget the past. That’s what’s happened in the economy as a whole. The lessons of the Great Depression disappeared through generations. Instead of buying what we could afford, Americans just “charged it.” We bought houses we couldn’t afford because some banker who wanted to make a commission told us we could. We buy diamond rings for our wives that cost 2-3 month’s salary because that’s what the jeweler tells us they cost. We buy and buy and buy with no regard for how to pay for it.

The same thing happened in the trucking industry. Now, though, it seems the surviving companies may be changing their battle plans, not unlike Americans as a group.

The industry is now in the midst of a revolution.

One that hopefully will set us straight for years to come.