For Freight and Supply Chain Issues, What Will Your New Normal Look Like?

Apr 8, 2020


I have a confession to make: I’ve grown weary of hearing everyone talk about “the new normal” in light of the COVID–19 crisis. I think what they are telling us is this: Things will be different.

While no one has yet to explain what “the new normal” will look like, there are a couple of things we do know.

First, carriers will be instituting significant changes in how their drivers interact with shippers at their docks. For example, our friends at Boyle sent out a note about Contactless Delivery and advised shippers that their drivers will not seek signatures for delivery receipts and will “require that shipper personnel to not come within 10 feet of our employees." Other carriers are noting that their drivers are having their temperatures taken before they are admitted to the yard. Overall, significant adjustments could be required for shippers and their customers and suppliers. Part of being shipper-friendly might mean re-configuring your facilities to allow for this to happen and keep drivers safe.

Second, every carrier we have talked to has emphasized that in the "new normal" visibility will be critically important. Shippers traditionally think about visibility in terms of knowing where their freight is located at any given moment in time. But for carriers, visibility also includes knowing how their trucks are being used. For example, when Rob Estes, CEO of Estes Express notes that one additional pallet on an Estes truck is worth about $5,000,000 per year, it underscores the importance of space on a truck. And when you consider the fully loaded cost of a truck (a.k.a. the cost of the driver and equipment) it underscores the value of time to a carrier.

Third, supply chains will be recalibrated. The COVID-19 crisis has exposed supply chain fault lines that have resulted in a supply chain earthquake. If you haven’t already listened to our interview with Harry Moser, President of the Reshoring Initiative, do it now! When Harry talks about how the quest for "low cost" sourcing has hurt companies, he also also offers advice for how people can evaluate the costs and benefits of reshoring for their company. The crisis we're in has highlighted how vulnerable supply chains are throughout North America and that's something that a lot of companies will address in the "new normal".

Finally, as Rob Estes, CEO of Estes Express, and Darren Hawkins, CEO of YRC Worldwide, noted in their recent interviews with us, transparency will also be a factor in the "new normal." Today companies have the ability to generate information like never before. But true collaboration means having a commitment to sharing relevant information with your partners.

One thing that will not change in the "new normal" is TranzAct's ongoing commitment to making sure we are there for you in helping you navigate the new normal.