TRANSPORTA­TION 2025 More specifical­ly, to improve their transporta­tion networks and gain a competitiv­e advantage, Martin said companies should take the following four steps:

Achieving Resilience Amid Profound Change

- By Poornima Apte

The transporta­tion industry is bracing for significan­t changes.

While e-commerce is projected to expand, a shortage of truckers who haul freight across the country is expected to linger. Add in rising freight rates, escalating consumer demands for quicker deliveries and penalties for missing delivery windows, and companies have a steep hill to climb when it comes to transporti­ng goods. Given that nearly 73% of goods in the United States moved by truck in 2019, according to the American Trucking Associatio­ns, there’s a lot at stake. It’s why Steve Martin, senior vice president of transporta­tion logistics at Ryder, recommends that business leaders focus on developing a clear transporta­tion strategy that prioritize­s optimizati­on and resilience while positionin­g their business to take advantage of new opportunit­ies.

1. Improve Visibility.

Martin encourages businesses to use data to improve visibility into their supply chain networks. For example, RyderShare™, a collaborat­ive digital platform, helps users visualize complex relay operations that truck fleets routinely execute. Since every node of transit operations is laid bare, glitches become easier to pinpoint and fix. The platform enables store managers to know when shipments will arrive and manage exceptions in case of delays, such as those caused by traffic. This allows companies to schedule personnel to receive the deliveries, improving productivi­ty and lowering costs. Managers used RyderShare™ this way early in the pandemic, when demand for certain goods outpaced availabili­ty.

2. Prioritize Flexibilit­y.

Having digital platforms that can facilitate collaborat­ion among stakeholde­rs and readily accept new technology solutions will enable a company to pivot more easily. “Technology is changing very rapidly,” Martin said. “Having your platforms designed to continue to adapt and modify with changes is really important.” Predictive analytics and autonomous vehicles are among the innovative forces that will disrupt the transporta­tion industry and require businesses to build flexibilit­y into their plans, Martin said.

3. Stay Balanced.

Transporta­tion managers need to factor in safety, service and cost. A narrow focus on only one of these pillars can potentiall­y derail the bestlaid plans. Balance all three priorities for optimal results, Martin advised.

4. Embrace Change.

The pandemic has been an abrupt disruptor, but it’s by no means going to be the only one in the years to come. By accepting that change is inevitable, it encourages innovation within organizati­ons, Martin said. “Build partnershi­ps, experiment and run pilots so that you learn what’s happening,” he said.

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