What is the dawning of the age of Amazon? It’s how we not only expect our instant gratification to be fulfilled but are disappointed when it isn’t. In a recent meeting about recruiting and hiring best practices, the topic of the truck driver shortage in America came up. (What to do about the truck driver shortage in America) Although the family of TKO companies has diversified, trucking companies continue to be our largest customer.
A co-worker stated that the shortage wouldn’t affect us for long because of self-driving trucks. I shared that platooning trucks (A train of trailers in the center lane) could eventually ease some of the driver shortage. But, self-driving vehicles might not be the answer because trucking companies expect drivers to do more than drive. Because, drivers are load specialist, customer service representatives, and the eyes in the field for carriers. So, they do more than drive. (Will the truck driver of the future drive a truck?)
The Age of Amazon in America
In the US of A, we take for granted, let me rephrase that, we expect, our hearts desire to be readily available. Therefore, we don’t consider what it takes to ship the things we want. Because, we open our smartphones, add a product to our shopping cart, and expect it delivered to our doorstep in 24 hours or less.
It’s Not Only What We Order Online
These expectations are not only for what we order. We wouldn’t know what to do if our favorite type of apple wasn’t in the local grocers produce department. We think we should be able to walk into a pharmacy and pick up our new prescription that our doctor sent. And we take all of this and more for granted. We expect as much. What most of us don’t do is give a thought about what it takes to meet those expectations. (Life in America without trucking.)
How Your Order Got Here
Products manufactured overseas began their journey on a truck or train. The next step is a cargo ship. Upon arriving at the port of entry, the products are unloaded once again onto a truck, train, or both. Consider this, a product made in China begins its journey on a ship crossing the Pacific destined for the west coast of North America. If it’s a product I ordered it’s shipped from there by plane, truck, or rail to Indiana. Next, it’s the last mile delivery where my order is brought to my doorstep. So, here’s the thing, I and everyone expect our orders to be delivered in 24 hours or less and to be able to track our package on its journey.
Here’s My Point
My point is we don’t have self-driving platoons of trucks. We rely on boats, trains, planes, and trucks. And there is a driver shortage. So, what can you or anyone do? Begin by supporting the trucking industry and drivers. There are regulations that are unfavorable to drivers and our infrastructure roads and bridges need attention all across America.
And do not snub your nose at drivers. Yes, you heard me correctly. Because the truth is 10 years ago, before I began watching the industry from the point of view of a provider, I didn’t think much of drivers. Now I know better. They are intelligent problem-solving, hard-working, self-sacrificing, dedicated people who keep America running. 10 years ago, if my grandson would’ve told me he wanted to be a truck driver, I would have attempted to talk him out of it. Not so today. If he told me he wanted to be a truck driver tomorrow, I would help and support him.
So, if you’d like to get involved in supporting the trucking industry, check ATA’s (American Trucking Association) initiative Trucking Moves America Forward for ideas on how to get involved.