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Editing the plan

May 13, 2014

Long-term survival in the business world requires the discipline to frequently reinvent your company.  If you don’t adapt to the constantly changing business environment, your business will fall behind that of your  competitors.

Trucking and hauling freight is a dynamic, fluid industry that’s constantly changing and evolving.  Two excellent examples are the always-changing trucking regulations put forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and how technology keeps advancing at a breakneck speed.
Just think about the changes that have occurred in the hours-of-service (HOS) rules in the past 10 years. The rules, whether to trucking’s advantage (there are actually a few) or disadvantage, change the carrier’s operation matrix.  Those carriers who use old ways of conducting business to meet the requirements created by the most recent HOS changes are continually trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

The same can be said about technology; while not all of the newest tech gadgets will work, there are still truckers and companies out there trying to manage their trucks and loads sans tablets and smartphones.

When was the last time you bought a roll of film, put it into a camera, took photos, then dropped it off at the drugstore to be developed?  We have teenagers today who have never seen a roll of film.  Yet one of the most-revered companies in America, Kodak, spent years sitting on their laurels, ignoring the digital revolution.  In contrast, Fujifilm, one of Kodak’s major competitors, studied and stayed current with the trends, joined the digital revolution, and is thriving because it adapted to the changing dynamics of the photo and camera industry.

Are you avoiding changes, trying to buck them and doing things the same way as you always have while expecting different results?

You, as the owner, must be the first to adapt to the changes occurring around you.  Most trucking companies start out as one- or two-truck operations.  Many of them stay small, either from the desire of the owner or because of a lack of knowledge on how to take the steps of hiring drivers, dispatchers and other employees needed to take the carrier to the next level.  To do these steps requires a completely new skill set. 

Being a single-pony, one-truck operation only takes energy, ideas and passion.  To grow the business to the next level requires designing systems that cover procedures and routines for each department.  It also requires a very special skill that’s difficult for the vast majority of entrepreneur truckers to master but achieves the needed results.  And that’s the ability to delegate tasks in which the person doing the task may have a different technique than the owner.

To thrive, you must adapt by balancing your owner’s skills and dreams and matching the unique niche you’ve selected.  Then provide the needed flexibility for these ideas so you can grow and thrive in the ever-changing market and industry you serve.
So, are you a Kodak or a Fujifilm type of company?

Contact Tim Brady at 731-749-8567 or at www.timothybrady.com

About the Author

Timothy Brady

Timothy Brady is an author, columnist, speaker and business coach who provides information, training and educational presentations for small to large trucking companies, logistics organizations and community groups. He’s the business editor for American Trucker Magazine, the “Answer Guy” for trucking education website TruckersU.com, an author and business editor for Write Up The Road Publishing & Media and freelance journalist. An expert in crafting solutions to industry challenges after 25 years in trucking, Brady’s held positions from company driver to owner-operator to small trucking business owner. Along with sales and business management, he has a well-rounded wealth of experience and knowledge.

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