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Trucking Industry Challenges in Peak Season. How Automation Helps?

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Trucking industry challenges are inevitable, yet companies can overcome them using the right technology. 

Over the past two years, the trucking industry has faced many challenges due to the global pandemic (COVID-19) and its associated impact on markets worldwide, severe weather conditions due to climate change, and rapid changes in the employment pool.

With the peak season just around the corner, companies will soon be impacted with even greater pressure to deliver on time and meet customer expectations. However, despite all the troubles, many trucking companies have managed to spend this challenging period trying to stay afloat in an exceptional, highly volatile environment.

Fortunately, advanced technology has helped the trucking industry combat these challenges, improving business efficiency, profitability, and visibility across all fleets and shipments.  

All trucking companies, regardless of their size, are continuously looking for technological solutions to solve complex trucking problems. In recent times, one of the best technological solutions has been using an advanced cloud-based transportation management system, and LoadStop is the leading example.

In this blog post, we will discuss the major challenges faced by the trucking industry as it gears up for the peak season of 2022 and how AI and automation can help overcome them. 

Trucking Industry Challenges to Look for?

To begin with, there are four significant challenges trucking companies face as it enters the busiest season by the end of every year. Namely, they face driver shortages, congestion delays, disrupted longer transit times, and increased fuel prices.

But that’s not about it. Companies also struggle while dealing with equipment shortages, increased spot rates, and volume restrictions during the holiday season.

Challenges Trucking Companies Face During Peak Season

Let’s evaluate some of these trucking industry challenges greatly impacting the entire industry during the holiday season and understand how technology, especially deploying a one-window smart TMS, can help overcome them.

Ongoing Driver Shortage 

One of the biggest challenges trucking companies face during peak season is the driver shortage. It has been projected that there will be a shortage of truck drivers across the US in the last quarter of 2022. This indicates we won’t have enough drivers to move loads when they are most needed.

Ongoing Equipment Shortage 

Another challenge to look out for during the holiday season is the shortage of trucks and truck parts. This may result in scenarios where a driver is available, but there is no truck to haul the goods. 

Longer Transit Times

As the holiday season kicks into gear, the effects of severe weather conditions disrupt transit times. Due to rapid weather changes, ports are forced to perform increased maintenance every year, leading to longer transit times.

The extreme weather conditions cause an already overburdened and outdated transportation infrastructure to deteriorate earlier than initially expected. All these factors contribute to longer transit times during severe congestion.

Fuel Shortage

The trucking companies are challenged with sudden fluctuations in fuel prices, especially during the peak season. Due to this reason, an abrupt change in fuel prices has become one of the biggest trucking industry challenges. 

Fuel shortage, in particular, is still causing problems around the country with gas/diesel prices rising significantly in the last few months.

Volume Limits

There are limits to the amount of volume available to ship goods. Even if the goods are ready to be sent, the trucking industry as a whole may face extreme challenges in getting them delivered to the destination due to a shortage of containers, trucks, drivers, dispatchers, or staff.

Increased Costs

It can be extremely challenging for trucking companies to keep up with the rising costs as spot rates continue to incline. With spot rates increasing because of tight capacity, carriers have been raising driver pay to keep up with the demands of shippers.

Congestion Delays

All of the above challenges have caused significant ongoing congestion at every port of entry, forcing companies to look for alternatives to international sourcing of goods.

Increased logistics costs, growing customer demand, and congestion delays make it increasingly challenging for trucking companies to perform and deliver goods efficiently during the holiday season.  

How Can Automation Help Overcome Trucking Problems?

Trucking companies are making aggressive technology investments to improve last-mile efficiencies, especially to reduce miles driven and trucks on the road this holiday season and beyond.

There is an increased demand for a more connected and collaborative supply chain that empowers all stakeholders with increasing transparency to improve resource utilization and provide freight coverage at best possible value.

Below, we have discussed how automation can help overcome trucking problems during the peak season.

Improving Efficiency & Profitability

Adopting AI-powered and cloud-based TMS technologies can help trucking companies automate business operations while improving business efficiency and profitability, reducing late shipments and operational errors, and increasing fleet utilization and load volumes.

Advanced technologies create opportunities for trucking companies to perform business operations more effectively in an increasingly virtual world. That way, they can stay focused on providing better communication and visibility to all the supply chain stakeholders, which is critical to avoid delays.

Improving Visibility

On the other hand, telematics is equipped with communication technology that helps companies monitor their fleet of vehicles, equipment, and other assets. This enables fleet owners and fleet managers to track the location of the vehicles and drivers in real time.

By tracking vehicles and drivers in real time, fleet owners and fleet managers can make accurate predictions about arrival times based on factors such as traffic, speed, weather information, and other data.

Digitized tools are being used to track vehicles at entry and exit points; these tools help speed up the check-in and out process and increase the turnaround times.

The adoption of automation in the trucking industry is increasing efficiency within warehouses. Once automated, the inventory progress becomes much more efficient, reliable, and accurate compared to manual processes. What’s more, automated inventories offer complete transparency to boost the efficiency of the pick-up and drop-off process.

Improving Driver Experience

Drivers are the backbone of the trucking industry and empowering them with the right technology is critical to the trucking company’s success. Advanced, cloud-based software such as LoadStop offers a driver app that helps improve communication and increase productivity.

With LoadStop TMS, dispatchers can easily dispatch loads to the driver with a single click. Once loads are dispatched, all dispatch-related information is promptly communicated to the driver.

The live chat functionality within the LoadStop driver app ensures seamless and effective interaction between the driver and the dispatcher. This way, dispatchers can easily communicate with the drivers while they are on the road.

With TMS, drivers can access real-time data to help reduce congestion delays and decrease waiting times. TMS solutions and technological scheduling provide an accurate depiction of how all resources operate.

In a nutshell, using TMS software helps increase driver productivity and ensure quicker loading and unloading times.

Whether your business is facing congestion delays, driver and equipment shortages, fuel price surges, or longer transit times, it is important to adopt advanced technological solutions and follow effective fleet management strategies to overcome the trucking industry challenges.

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Sara Naveed is a creative and digital content writer who uses her creative skills to develop and edit professional web content. Being a writer has always been her dream. She earnestly hopes people appreciate her writing—an asset she deeply covets. Using her 8+ years of working experience, she writes for trucking industry experts who are always looking for better technological solutions to their problems.

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