With the passing of each year, our FreightWorks team is reminded of God’s daily goodness in the midst of the ever-changing landscape of trucking and logistics.
While marketplace forces have been difficult and at points seemingly insurmountable our company has seen escalating demand for our services, growing customer satisfaction, and a renewed optimism for what 2022 will bring.
New drivers from every walk of life and from across America are bringing fresh and diverse enthusiasm to our seasoned team of professionals in trucking, logistics, maintenance, finance, marketing, business intelligence, and corporate communications.
We’re a diverse and growing force of men and women committed to doing business the right way and with promises kept, integrity maintained, and a daily thrust to new levels of professionalism and excellence. We don’t cut corners, use people, overpromise or underdeliver!
With that said we know of many challenges our industry faces while actively engaged in solutions designed to address these concerns which are well documented in industry trade publications and our interactions with an expanding circle of peer professionals.
Examples are found in Ellen Voie, founder of Women In Trucking (WIT)www.womenintrucking.org and Clark Reed of Freightliner’s “Team Runs Smart”www.teamrunssmart.com who both recently with prescient observations shared in recent episodes of our podcast launched in 2021. It’s called Life By The Mile and we believe it’s the only trucking company-produced media platform posting 2 thirty-minute episodes per week. Make sure to check it out and subscribe to our YouTube channel.
Key 2022 Industry Challenges
The research data suggests that national demand for diesel technicians is expected to grow by at least 8% from 2020 to 2030. A significant part of this clear dynamic is a transformative shift in the market where it’s projected there will be a significant cohort of older, experienced, and extremely valuable mechanics expected to retire soon from America’s trucking enterprises.
As with other trades like electricians, plumbers, welders, and tradesmen the nation stands at a crossroads of how best to promote these well-paying vocational paths for students making life decisions. It’s a strategic issue for our country which will affect core sectors of the economy which while increasingly service industry-oriented cannot forsake these key critical vocational skills.
In addition to a clear shortage of skilled mechanics, everyone is aware of the much-publicized shortage of drivers. This has been debated as having a number of causes related to aging, retirements, governmental regulations, new driver preferences, and a variety of fluid factors producing driver attrition where 90% annual fleet turnover isn’t unusual.
Added to this is a highly charged marketing environment where company hiring bonuses, CPM rates, and other driver perks are creating strong competition for a finite pool of those women and men with a CDL. Drivers are expecting more and companies not listening and adapting will suffer the impact in recruiting.
Additionally, more drivers want to create a monogrammed job while dictating their conditions for employment. Hometime, equipment, compensation, flexibility, respect, and trust all are preconditions to driver loyalty and performance.
Sadly when a driver comes to FreightWorks they have often been the victim of corporate promises which haven’t been kept and the persistent urge to “move on” surfaces yet again. We hear from a growing number of our drivers (solos & teams) “I want to retire at FreightWorks” which is encouraging as that’s the kind of environment we strive 24/7 to create knowing every company decision matters.
While pressure to grow the sector of 3.5 million professional drivers has always existed there’s an amplified focus on this issue due to recent, frequent news stories on supply chain complications in the ongoing wake of an economically dislocating pandemic.
When grocery store shelves are increasingly empty and goods are interminably delayed in delivery, people wake up and take notice of our critical industries (like trucking and logistics) which are too easily taken for granted. America is waking up to what’s at stake and a growing national discussion is emerging. We intend to be a voice in our region of North Carolina and all the places we traverse across this beautiful country.
There is another critical factor to consider in terms of the pressing driver shortage which was addressed in an important MIT study which recently concluded:
“American supply chains do not make effective use of the drivers we have, and thereby this reduces national competitiveness, contributes to the industry’s very high turnover rate, and makes doing a critical job at times very unpleasant and less lucrative than it could be.” It continued by suggesting “American long-haul truck drivers spend just 6.5 hours per day driving, far short of the 11 hours they’re allowed to spend behind the wheel, he said. This implies that 40% of America’s trucking capacity is left on the table every day.”
This is a strategic assessment we as an industry must address as it has a direct impact on driver morale, team satisfaction, and a company’s bottom line profitability. This issue and others like them are being thoughtfully addressed by the FreightWorks leadership team as we press into 2022 with our core values again fortified which include:
•high tech & high touch culture
•win-win strategic alliances
•pacesetting customer care
•innovation and integrity
•keeping our promises
•prayer & abiding faith in God
Another set of challenges for 2022 aren’t new but are getting focused attention including practical considerations like truck parking shortages, driver compensation, equipment readiness, and driver health. These issues frequently end up as key concerns for truck drivers participating in the annual ATRI critical issues survey which is regarded as key data measuring industry health and productivity.
While it’s encouraging there are new locations for places like TA and Love’s truck stops projected to open across the country in 2022, this isn’t enough to provide more than some additional parking for all these commercial vehicles. Safe places to park, refresh, have vehicles serviced and foster a safety net for drivers will always be in demand.
In an increasingly litigious society, there is also severe lawsuit abuse taking place against truck drivers. This has the net impact of substantially increasing the real and adjusted price of insurance for these vulnerable drivers. This now includes laws frequently used to put unsuspecting truck drivers and enterprise carriers at a competitive disadvantage in highly charged courtrooms after inevitable incidents. “Nuclear judgments” are ominous threats and wise companies are constantly assessing risks.
While obviously challenging these and other matters are ones our FreightWorks team have been thoughtfully and prayerfully addressing and while building on past successes for which we’re with humility we are grateful the DNA of our company has since its founding by Josh Farmer our president always pursued the “next best way of doing business” to the benefit of customers, drivers, and our support team.
There’s great staff and driver excitement with the prospect of our fleet upgrade. New Peterbilt 579 Models offer the most advanced aerodynamic features and packages improving fuel economy and our bottom line is soon coming off the production line in Denton, TX. We’ll have a team there to record the history in the making! The new hood and bumpers are designed for maximum aerodynamic performance and the in-cab amenities will create a superior driving experience.
The first of these new 21st century marvels will sport our bold FreightWorks logos and be seen on the road soon delivering loads of everything imaginable to destinations across America.
We’ve also started to see our January (new) group of drivers who have already been heard in the new driver’s lounge remarking about the “unusual family atmosphere” at FreightWorks where they are “people not numbers” and see a “genuine care for their families and those they love.”
It’s a new year.
Another fresh start.
Our unshakable values and Biblical convictions undergird the steady path for the uncertain days of 2022. Our business has always been about people and as we honor our drivers, customers, and staff—all the other matters work themselves out in the end.
Our unfolding FreightWorks history has demonstrated doing the “next right thing” is always the simple path to success.
Come join us! www.freightworkstransport.com.