Kyle Jepson, senior vice president of product at Emerge, discusses inefficiencies and empty miles in domestic transportation, and the technologies necessary to overcome those problems.
Changes on both the demand and supply sides are driving great volatility in transportation these days, Jepson says. Shifts in consumer behavior have shaken up the demand side. On the supply side, there are thousands of new entrants to the transportation market.
“It's almost double what we've seen in the past,” Jepson says. “Really, a lot of volatility is just transitioning from larger asset carriers to the smaller companies, and it's driving a complete influx in the spot market. The contract market is much less affected.”
At the same time, there are widespread inefficiencies and quite a number of empty miles in the domestic transportation network. Lack of connectivity is a culprit in that state of affairs, Jepson says. “Systems don't talk to each other, and companies don't talk to each other.”
Jepson says companies need to become more flexible and be better stewards of the supply chain. Relationships are key to both. “As a shipper, you need to be easy to work with, easy to schedule appointments with. You need to be mindful of the carriers and the partners that you work with and treat them as partners, not just vendors.”
Yet, technology is a vital component, he says. “People have relationships but don't share data with each other. They're not integrated to each other. You can't execute transactions without a TMS [transportation management system]. Next is freight visibility platforms that give us insight into where trucks are, how they're moving, appointments and dock scheduling. One of the biggest problems in our industry is how do I schedule appointments and how do I get my trucks there? When are they going to go in and out?”
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