The holiday season has come to an end and it’s time for us to find out what the New Year has in store for the transportation and logistics industry. There are many predictions from trucking company owners and the who’s who in the transportation business that might affect the business in many ways.
- For the small business owners in the trucking industry, the driver shortage that started in 2018 might continue in 2019 as the number of qualified drivers is not growing when compared to the huge rise in demand of truckers in the US (from 28 million in 2000 to 50 million in 2016)
- There might be a change in core technologies and digital trends that might affect the transport and logistics industry.
- 2018 saw the beginning of a consolidation of the logistics industry and it is to continue this year. Hence, you should be in the top of the game to be the few that sustain this consolidation.
It is a known fact that the transportation business is one of the most competitive sectors that is expected to generate a revenue of $15.5 trillion by 2023. With growing competition, companies should deploy some ideas, technologies and implementation strategies that can improve your business in 2019.
Explore New Services: Choosing a niche market for the business is important, but once you are well established in the major services in the market, then it is time to expand to the other services that you can cater to. If you are in medical transportation market and focus only on emergency vehicles, it is time to expand to the non-medical emergency transportation and equipment/ medicines transportation.
Before expanding your services be sure you have a strong ground in the service you are currently performing. Opt for transportation financing options that can help you with this expansion and make sure you have in-depth knowledge, the pros, and cons of the service you are going to start.
New Technology, Our Friend: With the speed at which technology is advancing in the transportation industry, flying cars from Harry Potter might just get real.
Following and implementing technological innovations such as electronic log devices for drivers and self-driving trucks can help your business go a long way. By April 2018, ELD has to be implemented by all the truck drivers and if you are working beyond the deadline, keep this as your first priority this year.
Enabling GPS to all their vehicles is a mandatory thing that most of the transport businesses have implemented. So if you have not done this, it’s high time you do! This can increase the safety of your vehicles.
Fuel Vehicles without Burning Money: One of the biggest expenditure for a transportation business is fuel. Most of the businesses buy fuel from states that give the cheapest prices. But, they do not take into consideration the tax rates for these fuels. In addition to the state taxes, there is IFTA that has to be paid for every state your vehicle passes through irrespective of where you bought the fuel. Thus, it is smart for you to buy fuel at the cheapest base price regardless of the pump price.
If you are cash tight and as fuel costs have to be covered up front, consider freight factoring. This finance option also has a factoring program that can give fuel advance which will help you get up to 95% payment in advance.
Market Your Business: Marketing a business is as important as running the business. So go out and sell yourself shamelessly but in the most profitable and tactical way. Set yourself goals to attain through marketing. Get into digital forums and find out where your prospects are most likely to be.
Create your own marketing strategy and explore platforms like Yelp, Facebook Sponsored ads and social media marketing that can help you gain visibility and trust for your business. Understand that hard selling does not work anymore, so shift into the newer ways of marketing and get to your prospects in the most seamless way. How small or how big your business is, have a good website for it and update its content regularly. This will create more authenticity for your prospects when they search for your business online.
Best Clients? Really?
Whenever you start a business, you tend to feel you have achieved a milestone when you get a client who has a renowned name in the industry or is paying you well. To retain the client the business usually goes to any extent and sometimes they end up making a loss too. But why are businesses so obsessed with these so-called big clients? These clients might have been your best performers previously, but if they are creating a loss for you in the recent past, it’s time for you to take a step.
Smaller but more consistent clients are more profitable to the business. They provide a secured source of cash inflow that your business can lay back on. If you are looking for sustaining your business for many more years, do not cling on to clients just for their name or enormity but for how much they actually add value to your business.
The transportation industry is ever growing and there is no way it will dampen down in the future. But, for a transportation business to survive it is important to stay relevant and updated to all the advancements that happen in the industry. Like any other year after the start of 21st century, 2019 is going to astound us with the new inventions and advancements in every field including transportation and logistics.
Hence, keep your eyes and ears open for any innovation, strategy or even a simple hack that can help your business grow in the years to come.