Behind the constant back-and-forth of supply and demand, there lies an unsung hero–the truck driver. As our world becomes increasingly interconnected, the trucking industry assumes responsibility for a large portion of the transportation of our goods throughout the country. However, our supply chain is not immune to disruption and has remained in a state of volatility since the COVID-19 pandemic. The trucking industry, while still dealing with a shortage of drivers, remains the backbone of modern commerce and an essential part of the solution.
Trucking’s Role in Supply Chain Dynamics
Our supply chain has been the topic of frequent discussion and remains at the forefront of our minds since 2020 when national lockdowns halted the production of materials and the manufacturing of goods, which, when combined with mass hysteria and panic buying, contributed to upending the American economy and dramatically increasing costs. While the pandemic was a big factor in our current inability to sort out supply chain issues, it isn’t the sole cause. Things like political unrest, labor shortages, and disruptions to air and rail freight have all had an impact on the normal flow of goods to the consumer.
The effects of these issues are observable and inevitable, regardless of sector. For example, product shortages can lead to lost sales, decreased customer satisfaction, and damage to brand reputation for the retail, automotive, and entertainment industries, while delays in materials can cause trouble for the construction, agriculture, and pharmaceutical industries.
The trucking industry is in a unique position as a result, in that they face similar difficulties but also have the opportunity to make a difference, directly improving the state of the supply chain as a whole. Truck drivers aren’t just a link in the chain, they are solely responsible for moving a majority of the goods that are transported throughout the United States, 72.5% of the total weight shipped to be exact. That being said, it’s abundantly clear just how critical trucking is.
Stuck in Transit
In order to understand the role that truck drivers play in the supply chain as it is, but also in the solution to the greater problem, we first have to understand the difficulties that they face as a result of these disruptions.
First, the delays and fluctuations that have become so commonplace have made unpredictable schedules unavoidable, making it almost impossible for routes to be efficiently mapped out ahead of time since last-second changes are the norm.
Next, higher demand for transportation and shipping services leads to an increased workload, meaning truckers are working longer hours and resting less. Dealing with long-term stress and exhaustion in turn makes it difficult to maintain safe driving habits, especially when on the road for extended periods of time.
Then take into consideration the added negative impact that these circumstances undeniably have on personal well-being and mental health on top of it all, and the severity of these issues becomes apparent.
As it pertains to the trucking industry as a whole, optimization and innovation have become more important than ever in helping to mitigate some of these supply chain hold-ups. Technology plays an increasingly essential role in enhancing the efficiency of our business and fleet management, and software like TruckLogics can offer much-needed solutions to many day-to-day operational roadblocks.
Improving communication and maintaining the organization necessary to adapt to rapidly changing conditions and unexpected adjustments to routes, demands, and delivery expectations is crucial. TruckLogics features like the multi-user portal, digital document cloud database, and driver management system make it easy to keep your team on the same page while providing drivers with the support they need, wherever their loads take them.
The Road to More Efficient Transportation
In short, the trucking industry has a massive part to play in helping to alleviate some of the pressures of our current supply chain. Truck drivers are more essential than ever, and their dedication and adaptability have proven paramount in the face of adversity.
While supply chain disruptions continue to throw a wrench into the smooth delivery of goods to the consumer, they also serve as a reminder of the importance of collaboration and innovation within the trucking industry. The path towards a future in which drivers are more equipped to deal with the unexpected complications they face is well underway, as technology-driven solutions continue to up the efficiency of our work.