Technological advancement is nothing new and the same goes for technology in transportation sector, though it has grown substantially over the last 20 years. I don’t think that’s by accident. You can’t turn on the television after work without hearing about the latest iPhone, about AI changing the future, about automation or about Google Assistant helping you with everything from grocery lists to turning off your lights and much more. According to Observer, by 2014 Google was putting 80% of its $569 million U.S. marketing budget on T.V. commercials. Other tech giants aren’t far behind. In only 2 months in 2016, Amazon spent $135 million on T. V. spots versus the meager $8 million they spent total in 2015 on T.V. and radio and the list goes on.
So you are probably wondering where I am going with this. “Hey, Joey, we aren’t seeing Omintracs advertising on Fox News or McLeod TMS Software commercials on ESPN?” Well, of course not, that is not their target audience. Now, open up Internet Truckstop or browse through the latest edition of Transport Topics…catch my drift. Virtually every ad you see on any transportation related website, magazine, load board, subscription, etc is tech related.
So now you are probably thinking, “Yea, okay Joey, so what is your point?”. My point is that technology has become as fundamental to the transportation sector as rubber trees to tire manufacturers. In the not too distant past, you could run a trucking company with a truck, trailer, a set of paper logs, a road atlas and enough change in your pocket to make a call to get your reload at the next truckstop (obviously, there was more to it than that, but follow me here). Now, you have to know how to work an e-log, you need to be familiar with your GPS and make sure it is up-to-date, have a subscription to at least one load board, understand how to accept loads from your customer via Retalix, Lean or some other web portal, have the capability to digitally upload and submit your bills electronically and the list goes on.
Today’s truck drivers have to be more tech savvy than ever before. As much as technology has helped us on so many fronts, it has also become a burden in others. Long are the days of building a relationship with your shipper over the phone or in-person. Now, all of the loads are sent through a TMS system where you accept the ones you can do, set your appointments and the only interaction you have is when something goes wrong. How does that build any sort of bond?
As we continually build new and innovative ways to market our service while simultaneously adapting to the ever changing market and regulations, one thing is going to help us stay ahead of the curve and that is technology. Rather you are an owner/operator or large fleet, broker or factoring company, freight forwarder or anyone along the supply chain, there is a need to hire and retain technologically competent individuals. That is the future rather we like it or not. Personally, I spend a good portion of my time researching the best solutions for my company, understanding all of the tech that we have in place and training and developing our staff on each resource we have. Even during the interview process, I inquire on past projects and computer literacy because those individuals will be the ones that bring Eagle Transportation into the future. If the barriers of entry are set to where personal relationships are a thing of the past, then the only way to break through is providing the best service available, which will require the best tech available. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to hang it up just yet.
In conclusion, remember technology is only as good as the people that use it. You have to put the right people, in the right environment, with the right tools to succeed. As Steve Jobs once said, “It’s not faith in technology. It’s faith in people.”
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