Living in Florida and handling freight nationwide for the past 30 years, we have battled through numerous sudden supply chain challenges, from natural disasters such as hurricanes, snowstorms and floods to the challenges and opportunities that come with embargoes and other supply chain shortages. In each situation, we have found a way to persevere. Flexibility, steadfastness, and determination has always been our forte.
Then March 2020 hit and tested everything we thought we knew about the vulnerability of the national supply chain. Covid-19 was, and still is, a real test unlike any we have seen and hopefully will ever see in our lifetime. But, it taught us so much and really fortified our processes and our approach to business.
Here are some takeaways from a year like no other.
Our investment in our employees paid off – When we opened our new 25,000 square foot office in 2018, we wanted room to roam (and room to grow!). There is a reason many of our employees drive scooters around the office. At the forefront of our investment was our commitment to a tech stack that allows for remote work as well as remote communication. Our investment in the last few years has been substantial but it truly paid off when we experienced minimal issues when moving to a100% remote workforce last Spring and Summer.
We continue to innovate, with 100% cloud-based technology and laptops for all employees to provide for greater flexibility after hours and on weekends. Our mobile capabilities continue to advance as well.
Service is still king – 2020 tested the limits of the supply chain and, in many cases, the limits of patience on all ends of the spectrum. As an important part of the chain for many of our healthcare and food service companies, it was crucial for us to move the freight for our customers at all costs. Our long-term relationships span many years and it is always important for us to deliver no matter how challenging it was to find capacity!
This commitment to service is our lifeblood and the reason we are so proud to have customer relationships that span so many years. They know we will #NeverSettle to give them the best service.
Now, more than ever, #ThankATrucker – As the pandemic started to take hold in spring, the term ‘essential worker’ became part of the vernacular. While many assumed this term applied mostly to healthcare workers, we all knew that our drivers and the entire supply chain network was going to play an essential role in getting the nation on the road to recovery. The need for drivers has never been more urgent.
However, our ongoing driver shortage only intensified. Driver training schools were closed, and many drivers left the industry for good. According to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), 80% of carriers are having difficulty recruiting drivers.
As an asset based 3PL, having our own trucks and drivers gives us additional flexibility but we are not immune to the challenges of driver recruitment and retention.
At Corporate Traffic, we know the sacrifice drivers make on a daily basis to get goods where they need to be on time. Whether they are one of our company drivers or one of the thousands of our partner carriers, we thank each and every trucker for their above and beyond commitment to keeping the supply chains moving along in the last 12 months!
Visibility and Analytics are more important than ever – we understand that in today’s world, getting your shipments on time efficiently and effectively is only part of the equation. Technology has provided the ability to streamline operations and improve visibility across the supply chain. But there is no one-size-fits-all solution for all shippers and carriers. That is why we have a committed team of developers wholly focused on enhancing all aspects of the shipper and carrier experience with Corporate Traffic.
3PLs will continue to play a crucial role in the industry – Driver shortages, disruptive technology and economic uncertainty, among other things will always lead to some level of uncertainty about our business. In our experience, when the supply chains strain at the level they did in 2020, our roles are more important than ever. In fact, according to the recently published 2020 BCI Supply Chain Resilience Report, third-party logistics is set to be a beneficiary of the COVID-19 crisis. 12.4% of organizations intend to increase the use of 3PLs in order to negate the need for an organization to build out its own supplier network at a significant cost.
Like many of you, we are ready to move on from the uncertainty of the last 12 months. As our economy rebounds and life soon returns to normal nationwide, it will still be important for us to reflect on the challenge we faced in the last year and learn from them. At Corporate Traffic, I know we learned a lot and that will make us even better as we grow into our 30th year in service.