The new year is getting off to a fast start. 2017 is expected to be the beginning of the technology onslaught into the transload and freight industry. Some parts of the industry will be impacted more than others to start, but there is no doubt change is in the wind. While some changes maybe evolutionary, others will be revolutionary.
The technology folks view the entire transload and freight industry as ripe for disruption. Given that 2015 spending for the U.S. logistics and transportation industry topped $1.5 trillion dollars, innovators and technology solutions are looking to get a piece of that pie.
Lets do a round up of what we know:
Many think of Amazon as an online shopping company. They aren’t.
Amazon has always been a technology company. Since their technology products have made them the largest ecommerce seller in the world, they are interested in the transportation, shipping and logistics market and they are innovating in that space, but we are only starting to see the results of that innovation. They aren’t interested in the last mile only. They are interested in all of it.
Their new top secret project slated to debut in 2017 will impact the logistics space for sure and targets the middle mile in addition to the last mile. There are rumored to be more than 100 engineers working hard at getting this project up to launch. It is rumored to be “the Uber” of the trucking industry. Some features will apparently be real-time pricing and driving directions with some personalized features such as truck-stop recommendations. It will also give a “tour” of suggested load to pick up and drop off. It is rumored to have tracking and payment options with an aim to speed up the entire process of shipping. This will undoubtedly impact logistics companies working in the consumer goods space and, depending on its success, it may move over into the industrial space as well.
On top of that, if you haven’t heard of Amazon’s Project Dragon Boat, know this, Amazon is implementing a “revolutionary system that will automate the entire international supply chain and eliminate much of the legacy waste associated with document handling and freight booking.” Amazon has already started to call itself a “transportation service provider”. Last year it also registered itself as an ocean freight forwarder through Amazon China. It has also started buying cargo planes, trucks and more. All of this is ostensibly to speed up delivering products from manufacturers to their warehouses and from their warehouses to customers. It is no secret however that their once cozy relationship with UPS is now frosty. But more importantly, they will be able to slide over into a full scale logistics and transportation company in the not too distant future.
This disruption will effect the consumer goods space as well as logistics companies working to support the middle mile portion of the industry.
Similar to Amazon’s upcoming Uber of trucking, Convoy already exists and is a technology solution that will impact logistics companies working in the trucking industry. Amazon is already an investor in Convoy.
Self-driving long-haul trucks might seem decades away still. Otto (which was just bought by Uber), Tesla and other companies have a different vision. They both have teams going flat out to create long haul trucks that are self driving with electric variants. Self-driving vehicle technology is moving forward at a breakneck speed. Billions in capital is flowing into this space and autonomous driving is not as far away as you may think. The impact of that on trucking all the way to trains will soon be a reality. That will impact speed of delivery and may give newer vehicles and companies and edge over traditional industry.
So what does all this mean to you and your company?
If you have or work at a logistics, transload or trucking company, the importance of getting with the digital revolution has never been more important. It doesn’t matter if you specialize in moving lumber, heavy industry, consumer goods, livestock or barley. What has been working for the last 40-50 years is changing.
You need a great website that clearly show your services with simple communication. With more competition there is the need to demonstrate why you should get the job. You need to show up on Google for your services – there are people looking for those services every single day.
Confronting the internet and the digital space may seem completely foreign and like a waste of time. Its not. Other stable long-standing businesses have ignored the internet as their industries evolved into the digital age and they soon dried up.
We want to help you stay ahead of the curve which is rapidly forming. It starts with some simple consulting.