Tractor trailers carry more than 70% of the freight tonnage transported throughout the U.S.A.
With the majority of freight carried on trucks, the trucking industry is experiencing a perfect holiday storm for a major driver shortage: the strong economy is creating increasing demand for trucks, but low unemployment levels and stringent regulatory changes are being imposed on the trucking industry to increase driver safety.
So, will shippers still be able to deliver their goods in time to meet their customers’ high expectations despite not having enough drivers this holiday season?
It’s clear that the driver shortage has created a capacity ceiling, and while broad systemic and technological changes will ultimately provide a solution, that doesn’t help with the challenges of this year’s holidays and beyond. Fortunately, retailers can rely on intelligent software to help them better predict their inventory needs, be agile in their decision-making and decrease empty carrier miles to still meet their customers’ needs, despite a driver shortage and capacity crunch.
Intelligent Software for the Supply Chain
Predictive intelligent software can address freight industry issues. Managing capacity problems stemming from mandated regulations is simplified with data, enabling a more accurate assessment of contributing factors to future performance, such as weather, job type, driver availability and day of the week. This information powers schedule optimization, the tracking of shipments, routing, prioritization and reduction of empty miles.
Carriers can use intelligent systems to solve transportation incompetency like empty containers. Technology can help carriers collaborate to combine partial loads to lessen the number of trucks needed to move the same amount of freight and refill a carrier—saving shippers and carriers time and money, and reducing the number of drivers needed.
Ensuring smooth deliveries is important all year long, but it is critical during the holidays—the busiest selling season of the year. Retailers can implement intelligent technology to track their deliveries with real-time shipment visibility that tracks the elusive first- and last-mile pickups, delivery milestones, shipment status, location and verified proof-of-delivery across all modes. For example, if a region has a large snowstorm or sudden cold spell, a shipper can reroute winter coats mid-shipment to deliver products to a store that normally doesn’t carry coats. This can also help retailers who might have seen an uptick on a holiday trend, but didn’t plan far enough in advance to order the products in time and help them remain cost effective despite a last minute shift in shipments.
What Matters Most for Retailers This Holiday Season
For retailers, the bottom line is a successful selling season by delivering the best possible experience for customers. Late shipments due to a lack of trusted arrival dates, or an unreliable ETA can lead to empty shelves, negatively impacting that experience.
Intelligent software enables retailers to reduce complexity, better predict potential challenges, reduce empty miles and ultimately be more efficient to satisfy their customers. With the right technology, retailers can ensure a successful and profitable holiday season.