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Sunday, May 27, 2018

Will Disruption in The Inefficient Transportation Market Come From Within

Many of you who have read my blog over the last many years know I am a bit critical of our industry.  Innovation has been very slow in coming (Thus resulting in a somewhat man made crisis), executives at major trucking companies treat their service as a commodity (Talk about pricing relative to supply and demand not relative to value) and when measured by performance, our industry has not performed well.

I have advocated for outsiders to come in and disrupt the industry which led to my excitement when Elon Musk put his crosshairs squarely on the industry.  Unfortunately, the "outsiders" have almost the reverse problem of the insiders - the outsiders just don't understand the industry.  They think a driver is going to be on his iPhone all day.  So, if the insiders are stodgy and not innovative and the outsiders are not knowledgeable enough to matter, where will the industry get the innovation it needs to defeat the current crisis and truly add value to consumer's lives?

Well, it appears the disruption is coming from within which is probably the best we could hope for.  Two companies, Lanehub and the BiTA alliance are really driving significant innovation and both are led by long term industry experts.  Even the major carriers are providing some innovative solutions such as JB Hunt's 360 solution for both carriers and shippers. 

Our industry is on the verge of a major crisis and while clearly there have been some externalities which have exacerbated the problem, most of the issue is within the industry.  A lack of looking forward, a lack of innovation in productivity and finally, even leaders of the industry, treating it like a commodity, have all contributed to this crisis.  Look to the innovators, some of whom I have mentioned above, for leadership. 

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