Executive Briefings

How Self-Driving Trucks, Intelligent Highways Are Changing Transportation Logistics

No matter what products they make, how many they make, or how often they make them, all U.S. manufacturers share a common goal: They need to get their products to their customers, on time, and the familiar litany of trucks-trains-boats-and-planes (and sometimes, pipelines) remains the way that goods get moved. At least that's the case in early 2017. Within a year or two, maybe not so much.

Thanks to the rise of e-commerce, which has up-ended the delivery expectations of virtually every product-centric industry, manufacturers now live in the same environment that their retail customers have long toiled in - the world of "get it to me now, or I'll take my business elsewhere." While to some extent companies have always had to accommodate the often-unreasonable demands of their customers, transportation technology has finally arrived to meet at least some of that demand.

Executives at the big trucking companies can already read the tea leaves, and recognize that business-as-usual no longer applies. “The transportation of information is more important than the transportation of goods,” offers James Welch, CEO of YRC Worldwide Inc., one of the largest national less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers. Adds Jon Russell, president of Celadon Logistics, a division of truckload carrier Celadon, “If you’re not investing in technology and constantly reinventing yourself, you’re not going to be around very long.”

“We are getting to the point that, in the not-too-distant future, through vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure technologies and sensors and the ability to detect where things are, every vehicle will know where every other vehicle is, as well as where they are in relationship to the fixed environment they’re moving in,” observes Scott Corwin, managing director with Deloitte Consulting and leader of Deloitte’s Future of Mobility initiative.

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Thanks to the rise of e-commerce, which has up-ended the delivery expectations of virtually every product-centric industry, manufacturers now live in the same environment that their retail customers have long toiled in - the world of "get it to me now, or I'll take my business elsewhere." While to some extent companies have always had to accommodate the often-unreasonable demands of their customers, transportation technology has finally arrived to meet at least some of that demand.

Executives at the big trucking companies can already read the tea leaves, and recognize that business-as-usual no longer applies. “The transportation of information is more important than the transportation of goods,” offers James Welch, CEO of YRC Worldwide Inc., one of the largest national less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers. Adds Jon Russell, president of Celadon Logistics, a division of truckload carrier Celadon, “If you’re not investing in technology and constantly reinventing yourself, you’re not going to be around very long.”

“We are getting to the point that, in the not-too-distant future, through vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure technologies and sensors and the ability to detect where things are, every vehicle will know where every other vehicle is, as well as where they are in relationship to the fixed environment they’re moving in,” observes Scott Corwin, managing director with Deloitte Consulting and leader of Deloitte’s Future of Mobility initiative.

Read Full Article