As a year unlike any other ends, many of us are wondering what we can expect for the transportation and logistics industry in 2021. Drawing on nearly six decades of experience, our own Richard Thorne provides insights, optimism, and a strategy for how to prepare for 2021 and beyond.
Transportation and logistics is such a core element of how the economy functions, it doesn’t seem like there’s a way that it can ever go away. It’s the only way that products get to people, when it comes down to it. It’s all in the people that move the products across the country and around the world. But, it’s certainly going through a period of change and adaptation.
Well, I don’t think transportation at its core has ever changed. The only thing that has changed within the transportation industry is the tracking and tracing we can do with the advent of computers. Transportation is still about getting a single package from point A to point B. Going all the way back to the Pony Express and passing off mail bags without ever slowing down their horses. Then the invention of airmail where you had like a football stadium and a string between two goalposts. A bag would hang from it, the plane would come down with a hook and pick that up and bring it up to the top of the plane. And then they fly it from point A to point B, come down and drop it and then they hook up another one.
Logistics today is not so different at all. We go in, pick up a full trailer load and get it from point A to point B. This is all people driven – getting people what they want. Today, they want to know that their package was picked up in Seattle at 8am in the morning, on November 17. And they want to know each day where their package has moved, even if they’re not going to get it until November 23. They still want to know every day where their package is and how it’s going to get to them. That’s the change of logistics today – the immediacy of information. And whomever provides the best information and the most accurate information to the customer will win.
And we’ve seen more and more challenges this year with accurate tracking information being available and meeting delivery expectations. Where do we go from here?
So the million dollar question: Where are we going next year? My philosophy has always been one of ‘he who hesitates is lost.’ It is our job. It is our job to figure the problems out. How are we going to do it? My theory is we are not going to sit and wait for somebody else to tell us what to do. We’re going to be ahead of the game and we’re already starting. We want to know the truckers better and become partners with them in their small trucking company. We want to help them. They’ve got five trucks? Let’s get them to 10 or 15 trucks. Now we’re working in a partnership. We’re building them up as we’re also expanding our resources. So our theory is to grow. But we’re going to do it as planned, intelligent growth.
We’ll take each step as what’s given to us, but we’re working on building a strong foundation for this time. And as long as you have a strong foundation of people in your organization, you can build anything.
So it really seems like the focus is on one of the tenets that everyone at Pride Logistics talks about, that it all comes down to relationships, that’s what makes every gear work.
And looking at the values and the way that the company operates, even in this time, your growth and forward movement will continue to be based in fostering those relationships.
Without relationships where you’re working with people and satisfying their needs, you don’t have anything a person really wants. You have to be able to extend yourself to be part of what that company wants. And when you get in there, then you’re going to actually work for that company.
You have to be able to understand the customer’s needs. Once you understand the customer’s needs, you can work with them and become a partner. And once you’re a partner, then you can work together and help them lower their transportation costs and give them the service that best suits their needs. And both of you can then grow together to come up with new ideas to be creative, to save money, and never sacrifice a great level of service. That’s what it’s all about. That’s how you survive tomorrow.
Do you think that’s one of the biggest lessons to be reinforced this year – to be helpful and creative in your solutions?
Yes, yes. We have to be creative. We’re going to have to work with the customers and work with them as a partner, and we have to be willing to change. There will continue to be multiple ways to do everything.
So sit, listen, and create a partnership with the customer. Working as a team, within your company and with other companies, is a total success. And being a real team member, not just this ancillary group that comes in to fulfill a purpose, instead making it very clear that we’re actively involved in wanting to better the way that our clients can do their business.
If you want your business shipping and logistics to run smoother in 2021, contact the experts at Pride Logistics today.