The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped almost everything that businesses considered part of normal operations, including in the trucking industry. Once the pandemic hit, social distancing rules were put in place to curb its spread. Since social interaction is a hallmark of the commercial transportation and logistics industry, the different industry players had to look for ways to adapt.
The first few weeks weren’t easy for the transportation industry, but top industry players have learned how to thrive amid the pandemic. While some of the changes might go away once a long-term solution for COVID-19 surfaces, others are here to stay.
Here is how the trucking industry has managed to remain resilient in these trying times:
Driver Health and Safety Is Emphasized Even Harder
Both drivers and communities have raised health and safety concerns during this pandemic. In response to this, most fleet managers have had to train their employees on the best practices for protecting them from the novel virus. This includes disinfecting equipment and regular hand washing. Companies that have no previous affiliation with providing health equipment have also stepped up by doing so.
For instance, trucking companies are not only able to continue buying aftermarket cat parts from costex.com but also purchase CTP face shields for their drivers online. Pickup and delivery locations have had to adjust their operations. While some check driver temperatures before allowing them to the site, others require drivers to remain in the cab during pickup and delivery. In-house employees do all the emptying and filling of trailers.
Remote Work Could Turn Into the New Normal
Back-office employees have had to adjust to working from home. Since a big part of their job description doesn’t call for physical interactions, this hasn’t been such a tough challenge. On the other hand, most trucking companies have started seeing the benefits of working from home.
The fact that there is a reduced need for office space makes downsizing easier for such businesses, further reducing operating costs. Remote work could soon turn into a norm for almost all industries, let alone the trucking industry.
Customers Have Been Embracing E-Commerce
Supply chains have taken the greatest hit from the pandemic, considering the different regulations enacted by different states. While some have managed to thrive amid these regulatory changes, other supply chains have had to close shop until things get back to normal. The need for near-shoring manufacturing and material sourcing has been growing, with some supply chains experiencing shortages.
As more consumers aim at embracing social distancing, there has been an increase in the reliance on e-commerce. Soon, more consumers will realize the perks e-commerce provides, turning this into a trend that is here to stay. The trend also stands to change the trucking industry. Drivers will need to adapt efficient product delivery practices to satisfy more customers.
The Industry Has Embraced Last-Mile Delivery
Closely linked to the spike in e-commerce, consumers are now also embracing last-mile delivery. Last-mile delivery is the last stage in the product delivery process. It involves transporting products from the distribution centers to the doorsteps of the consumer.
Since shelter-in-place rules were enacted, most people couldn’t make their way to distribution centers to make orders within the allowed time window. In turn, drivers have also had to ramp up their fight against COVID-19, with most purchasing personal protective equipment.
Other trucking companies have embraced contactless delivery practices. Instead of the consumer having to sign the delivery form, drivers have had to take up this role.
Predicting the long-term impact of the pandemic on the trucking industry is tough. However, it won’t be surprising if remote work and e-commerce become more prevalent than before, post COVID-19. All in all, the trucking industry has proved that it is resilient enough to adapt to whatever the pandemic throws at it.