Gambling on the Future in the Trucking Industry
There is a common philosophy used by business owners and entrepreneurs to grow their operations and turn dreams into realities. The adage says reward does not come without risk. Though it is true that it becomes harder to make money without spending some first, taking a big chance doesn’t always guarantee a good result.
Trucking has the unique distinction of being a vital and stable industry while also being quite tumultuous in its performance at times. The stability comes from trucking’s position as a cornerstone of the U.S. (and the world) economy. Even as things change and technology promises to modernize the industry, drivers, trucks, and freight experts are still needed to keep things moving.
There is no question trucking can be a rewarding industry in the right situation with the right conditions. However, the broad nature of the industry also leads to risk creeping in. Bigger trucks mean larger amounts of liability, and more oversight from regulators. A more involved industry means greater dependence on general economic outlook and the ability of carriers to budget in changes properly.
While it could be argued that every industry is affected by general economic conditions, the fact that trucking is involved with virtually all industries means the outlook of things can change quickly.
Trucking companies take gambles when it comes to operating within such a unique field, but a big part of the risk can also come when companies spend large amounts of money on future projects. Some gambles pay off, such as companies that launch hiring initiatives to onboard new drivers or special programs to encourage better performance.
In some cases, a gamble can backfire. Such is the case with popular carrier Navistar, who invested heavily in low-emission technology that ended up presenting more problems than it fixed. The result was a damaged reputation in the eyes of consumers, and financial data that reflected the drop in confidence.
Trucking companies that don’t attempt to improve are also putting themselves at risk for being left behind. The best way for carriers and drivers to make decisions is based off the data, if it is available. Gambles based off good odds are undoubtedly the better move.