Top 5 Challenges Trucking Companies Face Moving Forward and How to Overcome Them

Rising Operational Costs

The cost of running a trucking company has been on the rise for years. In the past 5 years, the industry has seen many changes to not only the cost of running their fleet, but the cost to keep an administration team onboard to keep the company safe and compliant.

When companies first start out, the costs and responsibilities are usually manageable. But as time goes on, things become more complicated as time delayed FMCSA regulations creep in, incidents on the road happen, violations that change the operating capabilities of companies happen, and market forces change.

In the coming years, some issues will become less of a burden, while existing or new regulations will only add to the burden company owners face. Some of the challenges ahead include:

Some of the ways fleet owners can reduce the impact of these changes is by working with 3rd party service providers for things like emergency roadside service, DOT Compliance management, wholesale parts deals, etc.

Increased Preventable Accidents

Accidents on the road are a major challenge for companies and drivers both. Many times accidents are preventable had there been proper measures in place beforehand. The primary causes of accidents in the US are:

1. Speeding of Any Kind

2. Distraction/Inattention

3. Impairment (Fatigue alcohol, Illness, etc)

Distracted driving has become a national problem. In fact, distracted driving accidents are the leading cause of deaths among teenagers. And Distracted driving causes about 920,000 total accidents per year (including fatalities and injuries): 938,000 accidents in 2018, 912,000 accidents in 2017, and 905,000 accidents in 2016. 

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Driver & Truck Availability

The trucking industry has always been highly competitive. But in recent years, the industry has struggled to cope with various market dynamics that make recruiting and asset availability a challenge.

Recruiting and processing drivers has become more tedious as laws change and file-keeping requirements are shifted to be more aligned with existing FMCSA safety initiatives.

The assumption is that the driver shortage will continue to be a widely publicized challenge in the industry, but technology should make most processes more efficient. For example, DOT-Ready makes recruiting and processing drivers easy by allowing companies to automate various parts of the hiring process like Previous Employer Checks, Medical Record retrieval, Motor Vehicle Reports, and more. 

Fortunately, asset availability is becoming less of a burden for most companies as manufacturers innovate and components last longer. However, the challenge is still two-fold in most cases. It comes down to maintenance efficiency and traffic stops resulting in vehicles being placed out of service. 

Companies should continue looking for ways to eliminate unnecessary maintenance costs in the shop and on the road.

Companies may also consider securing better rates from third parties responsible for off-site repairs.

A maintenance system that acts as a conduit between the driver, shop, and back-office will not only bring clarity to the entire operations, but ensure that file systems are up to date and storing the required information in the event of a FMCSA audit.

DOT-Ready allows companies to organize all of their fleet maintenance paperwork in one place. 

Rising Hiring Costs

Competition in a market is supposed to make prices go down, right? Well in the majority of instances that’s exactly what happens. However, the trucking industry is dealing with a challenge that makes the effect of competition the inverse of what most people have come to expect.

The challenge begins with the overall shortage of qualified drivers in the industry. Although some state agencies have changed requirements for new driver hiring to ‘loosen the burden of the shortage’, the landscape is still incredibly competitive. Put differently, drivers are expensive to find, process, train, hire, and manage. Despite all efforts by the government. Big surprise huh?

This is why most companies are choosing solutions that can crunch enormous amounts of data for them to isolate the absolute best candidates for the job and maintain their employee file throughout the duration of their employment. Not only can systems like this help to find the best drivers, they also make the process less time intensive for in-house teams.

Conclusion

Companies have and always will face challenges when it comes to operations, compliance, hiring, and growing. But with a little effort towards crafting the bigger picture, it’s possible to greatly reduce operational costs by implementing various new technologies (like DOT-Ready) into the mix.

Companies should try to secure deals with third party service providers, and negotiate with existing vendors when possible.

Although the migration to digital operations is a hassle and comes with a lot of growing pains, it will result in more efficiency, less accidents, less violations, and a clearer view of a company’s operations across the board. 

When a driver gets in an accident, it’s like opening a big can of worms. The more your company invests in accident avoidance, the more time and money can be spent on profit generating systems rather than violation avoidance systems.