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Logistics: The High Capacity Industry That Won’t Slow Down

Jul 16, 2019 | Logistics Industry

There’s no question that it’s been an interesting, innovative, and challenging few years for logistics professionals. With the growing economy, driver shortages, and advanced technology, companies have been forced to evolve or get left behind in the industry that won’t slow down. 

Here are the quick facts on what you need to know:

Demand Is Rising 

Supply chain executives across the globe face many challenges in accommodating shelf life, warehouse capacity, and demand-driven inventory, all while maintaining efficiency and trying to keep costs low. Add the new layers of keeping up with AI and warehouse robots, and a career in logistics is sure to keep you on your toes.  

illustration of robotic assembly line

With intense pressure meet new demands of the market, logistics professionals need stronger teams, streamlined solutions, continuous training and education, and access to innovative thinkers who are planning for the future. 

As globalization continues, and Canadian companies expand across borders, visibility is also key in maintaining quality and service throughout the fulfillment process. 

But, we’re not the only ones facing this change:

“People are still buying food, buying bottled water, buying TVs, we really don’t see a slowdown in demand.” 
– Bob Biesterfeld, C.H. Robinson Worldwide

“You can’t predict the future, but you do have to be ready for it. The best thing I can do is ensure my company is prepared.”
– Chuck Hammel, Pitt Ohio Group

The Digital Revolution Has Arrived

The demand of product isn’t the only thing growing; people are also requesting better delivery experiences, better and more accurate tracking, access to data analytics, personalization, and automation. 

illustration of delivery tracking concept on phone

In the digital age, will customers ever stop wanting and expecting more? Probably not:

“Shippers really need to digitize their supply chains to take advantage of big data and AI [artificial intelligence] on top of data. Then you can start to see patterns and possibilities. As long as you have manual processes, you will have breaks in the chain.”
– Chuck Hammel, Pitt Ohio Group

“We don’t anticipate any slowdown in demand as we plan forward. When I talk with our large shippers, they’re not talking about doing less business in 2019, they’re talking about doing more,”
– Bob Biesterfeld, C.H. Robinson Worldwide

Not Enough Drivers 

In Canada, domestic freight moves primarily by truck (70%) and rail (30%). Therefore, driver shortages create a major problem, as the trucking industry is made up of a number of for-hire carriers, companies, and owner-operators who move in-demand goods. Without drivers, transportation stress grows, working drivers become over-worked, and fewer trucks take the roads. 

Many important industries rely on the transportation and logistics providers like McKenna deliver on time and quickly. However, without drivers, new solutions, such as self-driving cars and new bills, such as the DRIVE-Safe Act, aimed at easing the shortage may be required in the near future.

illustration of trucks driving city in background

But, why are their fewer drivers? Are they not being paid enough? 

According to the Ontario Trucking Association, a report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that found low pay to be a main reason for high driver turnover in the truckload sector is not an accurate assessment of the driver shortfall issue, according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA).

Instead, carriers agree that there are more than enough applicants for the growing number of open positions, but those people do not meet the demanding qualifications to be hired for the role.

This pain is felt across North America:

“Unlike other ‘blue collar’ jobs…there are many barriers to entry for new drivers: age requirements, CDL testing standards, strict drug and alcohol testing regimes and, perhaps most importantly for many fleets safe and clean driving records.”
– Bob Costello, American Trucking Associations (ATA)

“There is growing understanding across the country that the impact of this issue reaches far beyond just trucking and commercial vehicles”
– Chris Spear, American Trucking Associations

Customer Expectations Are Increasing

Following a challenging 2018, shippers across the globe are likely to continue rebalancing and shifting their transportation networks to increase efficiency, keep prices low, and keep customers happy.

When it comes to customer satisfaction, cost plays a significant role, but it would seem that speed and convenience play an even bigger one. 

illustration of happy customer receiving delivery

Did you know? According to the Supply Chain Quarterly, nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of respondents said they regularly expedite shipments, and 40 percent of those respondents said that their use of expediting is increasing. 

How will we accommodate these changes? Collaboration.  

Here’s what our fellow industry experts have to say:

“Cost reduction is always an ongoing opportunity for everyone. We can’t do that alone. We work very closely with our carrier partners to look at how to optimize the supply chain and find opportunities to increase efficiencies together.”
– Charles Daharry, Lowe’s Canada 

“All participants in the supply chain need to work together to improve efficiencies.”
– Jim Peeples, Challenger Group of Companies

Contact McKenna Today

At McKenna, our agile team is looking forward to taking on the future of logistics with preparation, ambition, and enthusiasm. 

For logistics enquiries or for a proposal/quote, please call us at (905) 274-1234 or email to learn more.  

Importing to Canada?

We serve all of Canada and we understand the unique Canadian logistics market

Looking for a Better 3PL?

Discover McKenna’s commitment to accuracy and timeliness

Ready to Grow Your Business?

If you’re getting started with mass retailers, we can help