Listen in: The automation of trucking’s tasks beyond self-driving rigs
Self-driving rigs grab the attention, but autonomating trucking tasks runs much deeper than automated driving functionality.
That was the premise of a conversation that Doug Schrier, Transflo’s senior vice president of strategy, held with the Logistics Matters podcast on DC Velocity on Friday, Oct. 1.
From load bidding and automating paperwork to speeding up payment processes, Schrier details areas where companies like Transflo are streamlining the supply chain by automating non-driving functions of drivers’ jobs and back-office fleet tasks.
A brief sample from the podcast: “There are all kinds of areas where you can apply your resources to create value,” said Schrier. “We try to look at the areas that are costing organizations and automate those areas where possible. So that (fleet personnel) can add value and focus on things that make a difference — engaging professional drivers, building a safety-first culture, having world-class customer service. That all takes effort and people to apply those. You don’t necessarily need effort and people to extract data off of a document.”
You can listen to the Logistics Matters episode featuring Transflo’s Doug Schrier at at this link.
Don’t look now, but the global transportation supply chain’s only growing more crunched
The number of ships anchored off of the West Coast of the U.S. awaiting to offload a wave of imports coming across the Pacific grew to over 60 in recent days. The average pre-pandemic was less than one. What’s more, those ships are carrying on average 70% more containers than pre-pandemic.
It’s the latest sign that a supply chain struggling for air has only grown more warped as transportation capacity issues, slowdowns in equipment deliveries, labor recruitment struggles, and surging demand have coalesced into a knot.
The outlook? Expect the trend to continue, analysts predict.
Not just because capacity’s limited. Demand’s also expected to climb more than 5% in the fourth quarter compared to the same time a year ago.
Specific to trucking, major truck manufacturers have reported they’re limiting orders and production of new Class 8 vehicles as parts shortages and labor issues have blocked their ability to build new rigs. Class 8 orders by fleets fell about 30% in September, but not because of lack in demand.
And it appears the supply chain kinks may be coming full circle: Delays in deliveries of raw materials used to produce paper products have prompted Costco and Sam’s Club to institute per-customer limits on purchases of toilet paper and paper towels to prevent another round of panic buying and shortages.
Highways get a funding patch
Of course a major infrastructure spending package remains in the balance in Washington, as lawmakers and the president work to cobble together a deal with enough votes to clear both chambers of Congress.
But as of now, funding for roads and bridges continues, at least for the next few weeks. Congress did let funding lapse briefly late last week, and the U.S. DOT reported it would be furloughing workers as part of a partial government shutdown. But Congress this weekend passed a bill to fund the Department of Transportation and highway spending projects through the end of this month, so the DOT remains afloat at least through Oct. 31.