Overcoming obstacles in wake for the brighter futur
Through a series of articles, we will be looking into challenges that companies in the engineering sector are facing. In this article we will take a closer look at some of the issues at the transportation industry.
This is a significant industry in the UK, and one that can be easily be struggling with a number of significant challenges ranging from inefficiencies, staff shortages to economic concerns. Now, we have to add Brexit, Covid-19, ever changing technology & law, and dealing with expectations the industry will catch-up, adapt and adhere to new regulations, ensure adequate resources & wage increases.
The world we knew is gone; we watch Netflix rather than DVDs, use social media rather than newspapers, and do video calls rather than face-to-face meetings.
Tighter controls, better systems and processes
It is important that businesses recognise the change and use the full capacity of their business systems, website and social media channels to produce on-time reporting, present well and become more approachable to a younger generation.
Many traditional industries are undergoing an exceptional level of disruption at present. Over the last five years the introduction of IoT, cloud technology, data analytics, artificial intelligence, vehicle safety technology have changed how transportation companies work and operate.
Increasing drive for industry efficiency and cost-control can lead to tighter deadlines and a greater number of deliveries for individual drivers. Partially as a result of driver shortages, and also road congestion, many experienced drivers are under intense pressure to complete their schedules & deliveries on time. This can result in stress, often impacting on health, as breaks and designated rest times are strictly protected & adhered to.
One important step in this direction is to improve planning processes & supporting systems. If you are running your business & deliveries on a collection of spreadsheets then, at best, you are unlikely to be achieving optimal results in terms of cost & time efficiency. At worst, you may well be operating in a constant state of time-clashes & last-minute, on-the-hoof, changes to schedules; co-ordinating work for all your customers, drivers and vehicles can be time-consuming and complicated.
Engaging with audience to create opportunities
Most businesses within the transportation industry are family owned, some even tracing back to the second world war or before. They have supported markets and retail through the most difficult of times in history.
Business owners within these sectors treat their businesses as long-term investments, not often for sale, and on most occasions, passed from generation to generation. Therefore, some have decided not to invest in branding and marketing, with many still depending on 80s and 90s truck advertising, word of mouth and old customer data bases.
Having moving billboard travelling up and down the country day and night definitely help to raise awareness and brand recognition. Each vehicle the business owns is a prime piece of retail advertising. Going for a simple design with a clear, bold message works, as does pushing the boundaries with the creative execution, but it needs to tie back customers and what resonates with them. Here are a few that push the boundaries and others that play it safe but memorable.
To uncover something that resonates, we must get to the heart of the company. Creating a story based on beliefs or passion that build the business for internally and external follow, is crucial. The Eddie Stobart brand uncovered an opportunity to connect with the public and to capture their imagination by giving each Lorry a woman’s name. Branded uniforms for drivers were rolled out. Drivers were asked to wave and honk the horn at anyone who waved at them.
Attracting staff and encouraging new generation
The most pressing challenge that UK fleet managers currently face undeniably revolve around the increasing shortage of qualified drivers in the UK. This hugely impacts the industry, which is perceived by drivers and other workers to be less than desirable. And due to Brexit, some European drivers are moving abroad in the wake of the decision to leave the EU.
Companies have to focus on attracting and encouraging a younger generation of drivers, while ensuring that experienced employees are well supported. Reviewing business branding to ensure it is fresh and clearly shows the business values will help to attract a young workforce.
Your brand lives and breathes in the hearts and minds of these current and future employees, and the story you tell helps to attract new talent in a competitive market.
The cost of advertising for a new role, reviewing CVs, interviewing, training, clothing and everything else that goes into someone joining a business is time-consuming and expensive. There are young people out there who will take the opportunity to work in the haulage sector; but it is crucial to be able to demonstrate to them what it means to work for the business.
By building a strong culture from the inside out ensures you can compete with well-known labels, guaranteeing apprentices will be proud to choose your business and stay well beyond their onboarding programme. More age-balanced work force will mean the company will not face a crisis when older drivers want to retire. It all comes down to the hard work towards operational excellence. It all must be thought through.