We need more P's

Jan. 17, 2017
I have a fondness for the letters ‘P' and ‘Q,' having used them in writing since the 80s. For trucking, the most important ‘P' is Profit, of course.

I have a fondness for the letters ‘P' and ‘Q,' having used them in writing since the 80s. For trucking, the most important ‘P' is Profit, of course. While the economy has grown slowly, it has allowed transportation companies to remain profitable and for the value of stock to increase. The Dow Jones Transportation Average is over 9,000 now, where as it was under 6,000 in 2012.

Another important ‘P’ is Plan. Last week, DOT Secretary Foxx mentioned the importance of a future plan when talking at the annual Transportation Research Board meetings of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine. You can view the draft National Freight Strategic Plan. Not all plans are well thought out. Over a hundred years ago, the Panama Canal was built. Just last year, a ten-year plan to enlarge the canal was completed, allowing ships with 13,000 TEUs to go through (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units). Too bad ships with 18,000 TEUs have already docked in the USA and approximately 50% of the cargo ships on order are larger than the canal can handle. Also turns out that such large ships are very efficient on the sea, but muck up the ports when trying to transload the containers to trucks. This story reminded me of the basics of manufacturing flow as taught by Edward Deming and popularly discussed in the book “The Goal” where a single choke point in the manufacturing operation messes things up.

The plan many of us are interested in is the plan to fix the decaying infrastructure of roads and bridges. This plan has a few ‘Ps” as well. While most of us are familiar with Paying taxes (another ‘P’) and, maybe, know something about 3PLs (3rd Party Logistics), the industry and politicians are going to kick it up a notch and make it 3Ps for Public-Private-Partnerships. Perhaps it’s a recognition that politicians (oops, another ‘P’) are not the best to make long range plans. It certainly is a recognition that the public (yes, another ‘P’) can’t be paying for everything and we need private business to have some profit potential to invest in the future.

Let me end with two other ‘Ps’ that drive our industry. People and Parcels. People need parcels. Parcels contain everything from food and medicine to phones and pens and pointers. As long as our global population continues to increase, we are going to need to create and deliver more parcels to larger places. Just remember to "mind your P’s and Q’s."

About the Author

Paul Menig | CEO

Paul Menig is the leader of Tech-I-M LLC, a consulting company focused on helping companies succeed by leveraging technology in their products and processes. After successfully introducing many high tech products in the corporate worlds of General Electric, Eaton and Daimler, he is now focused on savvy technology creating powerful results in companies of all sizes.

Paul also provides free counseling to a wide range of businesses as part of the non-profit organization SCORE that is associated with the Small Business Administration (SBA). Paul is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in electrical engineering and has participated in many training programs in quality, strategic planning, finance and technical areas.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Leveraging telematics to get the most from insurance

Fleet owners are quickly adopting telematics as part of their risk mitigation strategy. Here’s why.

Reliable EV Charging Solution for Last-Mile Delivery Fleets

Selecting the right EV charging infrastructure and the right partner to best solve your needs are critical. Learn which solution PepsiCo is choosing to power their fleet and help...

Overcoming Common Roadblocks Associated with Fleet Electrification at Scale

Fleets in the United States, are increasingly transitioning from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles. While this shift presents challenges, there are strategies...

Report: The 2024 State of Heavy-Duty Repair

From capitalizing on the latest revenue trends to implementing strategic financial planning—this report serves as a roadmap for navigating the challenges and opportunities of ...