What do you see as the most significant 1-2 challenges in freight transportation in 2020?
Heading into 2020, downward pricing pressure on freight continues while service demands increase. Brokerages rely heavily on small to midsize carriers for capacity and the pricing pressure along with rising driver wages, equipment costs, insurance costs and more is straining carriers’ business. Because of that, we anticipate we will continue to see carriers struggling in the marketplace throughout 2020 until freight rates pivot in a positive direction.
The competitive labor market continues to make sourcing talent, whether Drivers or office personnel, a challenge. It’s forcing employers to be more creative in the ways they recruit top talent. Employers also need to find ways to ensure those top Employees have options to grow in their career.
What do you perceive as the solution to these challenges?
Brokers will need to continue to create and enhance carrier relationships to properly source capacity to meet shippers’ expectations. Investing in technology that aids in building and expanding carrier connections will enhance service and speed of communication. Also, utilizing data analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to provide predictive communication, increased efficiencies, pricing and planning with shippers and carriers alike will become the expectation from a service level in the future.
Brand recognition will play a big role in recruiting and retention strategies in both the marketplace and local communities to attract and keep top talent. It’s also important to create a strong workplace culture and find Employees that align with your company values. Employees want to feel they’re making a difference with what they do. We need to find a way to help them make that difference and have options for them to grow within the company.
What do you see as the biggest 1-2 opportunities for a sales professional in the industry in 2020?
We are still seeing shippers open to expanding their broker and carrier network as they look for competitive pricing options. For logistics sales professionals, that means ample opportunities to challenge incumbents and earn a seat with shippers of all sizes.
The biggest challenges for the sales professional?
Technology and automation will remove some of the transactional benefits of the spot market. The silver lining is people will always play a role in the movement of freight. However, the sell is shifting. Adapting to the new buying expectations of shippers is going to be vital with the digital transformation in the logistics space.
Written by Crystal Lahr
Crystal is a sales director in ATS Logistics, where she develops business plans and strategies, among other things, to promote the continued success and growth of ATS Logistics. Since coming to ATS in 2012, Crystal has served in several positions, including Regional Carrier Representative and National Sales Representative, before earning her way to director.