Driver Shortage/Capacity Crunch Voted Biggest Challenge for Supply Chains in 2019
In December, we polled industry professionals about what they foresaw would be the biggest challenge for supply chains in 2019. Over 550+ people voted and one trend received over 44% of the votes!
The driver shortage/capacity crunch will be the biggest challenge for supply chains in the new year.
The driver shortage and capacity crunch is a trend we’ve been following for some time. A combination of truck drivers from the Boomer generation aging out of the workforce coupled with an increased demand for shipping (read: e-commerce) has created a shortage of both truckers and capacity. New talent in the workforce is also steering clear of often lucrative trucking positions. Companies with freight to ship are pulling out all the stops to attract reliable capacity for their freight.
There is nothing to indicate that the driver shortage and capacity crunch trends are slowing down. In fact, customer expectations continue to increase. Consumers are demanding greater visibility to their orders en route and faster shipping at the fraction of the cost. The need for an increased amount of capacity and more drivers will continue to exacerbate an already tight market where capacity is scarce and drivers are in short supply.
Here are the results of the other supply chain challenges we surveyed in December 2018:
- Rising freight costs – 24%
- Managing customer expectations – 10%
- Lack of visibility and collaboration – 8%
- Final mile shipping – 7%
- Implementing a TMS – 5%
- Other – 8%
In the ‘Other’ category, our respondents were able to write in their own answer to what they believe will be the biggest challenge for 2019. Of the 8 people who chose to write in, two cited the tariffs imposed on Chinese imports in 2018. One person went on to explain that the challenge for supply chains will be “Reacting to volatile tariffs and their short and medium-term impact on planning, capacity and cost.”
Other write-in respondents noted issues such as damages to products in transit, temperature control shipping, optimized inventory management, and lead time reduction. Better supply chain control via transportation management technology can help to mitigate or avoid the negative impact of these issues.
We’re looking forward to a 2019 that will be full of futuristic technologies like automated intelligence, smart active safety features for trucks, and drone technology. The landscape is changing, and with change comes new and more complicated pressures on the supply chain. The driver shortage and capacity crunch aren’t going anywhere. It’s up to each company to strategically plan how they will find reliable capacity and drivers to transport their freight.