Commercial truck driving: The job you should bet on in 2015?
In the chaos of our fast-moving 21st century economy, people are looking for a job they can count on. Is it any coincidence, then, that truck driving was the most popular job in the US in 2014? It shouldn’t be surprising, since the trucking industry is growing fast and strong. And even if there are those who worry over increasing safety regulations, don’t you fret — these should actually lead to higher pay for truck drivers.
The road ahead looks long, flat, and dry, and that’s no small reason to celebrate. So, here are 5 reasons why you should bet on this industry in 2015.
1. You can’t outsource a truck driver
Even though many US jobs are being automated or outsourced, truck drivers have been largely immune. This is because, to put it simply, you need a person driving those 18-wheelers and that person needs to be behind the wheel. Someone in China just can’t do the job, and neither can a machine.
While the economy certainly affects the industry, trucking has proven resilient to many of the larger economic forces battering other sectors. That’s the kind of stability many people are craving today.
2. Truck drivers are needed everywhere
For many of the same reasons mentioned above, commercial truck driving is not a regional profession. The entire country has freight that needs to be moved, meaning the entire country needs drivers to move it. This gives new truck drivers plenty of flexibility in terms of where they’d like to live.
Thus, whether you’re interested in staying close to home or want a job that can take you to a part of the country where you’ve always wanted to live, commercial truck driving is a great option.
3. Truck driving offers flexibility
It’s a common misconception held by many that all commercial truck drivers are long-haul truckers. But while that’s certainly an option, it’s far from the truth. There’s plenty of diversity within commercial trucking, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to find the right driving job for you.
For example, there are thousands of local routes, which offer drivers the option of going home at the end of every shift instead of living in their truck on the road. The industry simply provides a variety of different driving positions, which can suit most lifestyles.
4. No degree is required
We’ve all heard about the skyrocketing cost of education in America. Well, one advantage of commercial truck driving is that it doesn’t require any expensive education.
Of course, you’ve got to get your commercial driver’s license (CDL), and you may want to attend a school for commercial truck driving, but both of these are far cheaper than a university degree.
Therefore, consider saving those tuition fees and starting work earlier. (Just imagine how much you can earn in the four or more years it takes to earn a college degree.) In the end that means more savings.
5. Truck driver salaries are on the rise
Despite a dip around the middle of 2013, commercial truck driver salaries are currently increasing at a great rate and averaging at around $51,000 a year.
There’s a lot of variation within those numbers because of the flexibility of commercial truck driving, which I discussed earlier. Naturally, the type of driving governs the type of pay. But salaries will also vary based on where you live in the country, as, obviously, the cost of living isn’t the same throughout.
But one thing is for sure — if you’re willing to put in the work, there are great salaries out there to be had, and those salaries are going up.
More reasons than ever…
Clearly, commercial truck driving is poised to have another great year in 2015. With its strong growth, flexibility, and stable future, there’s more reasons than ever to invest in your future by becoming a commercial truck driver. With no need to spend years in school, why not get started now?
Are you a commercial truck driver or involved in the industry? What do you see as its future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Eric Halsey is a historian by training and disposition who’s been interested in US small businesses since working at the House Committee on Small Business in 2006. Coming from a family with a history of working on industry policy, he has a particular interest in the Surety Bonding and Freight Industries and Professional Certification; he loves sharing his knowledge of the industry for JW Surety Bonds.
NTT DATA Services, Remodelling Supply Chains for Resilience
Joey Dean, the man with the coolest name ever and Managing Director in the healthcare consulting practice for NTT DATA and is focused on delivering workplace transformation and enabling the future workforce for healthcare providers. Dean also leads client innovation programs to enhance service delivery and business outcomes for clients.
The pandemic has shifted priorities and created opportunities to do things differently, and companies are now looking to build more resilient supply chains, none needed more urgently than those within the healthcare system. Dean shares with us how he feels they can get there.
A Multi-Vendor Sourcing Approach
“Healthcare systems cannot afford delays in the supply chain when there are lives at stake. Healthcare procurement teams are looking at multi-vendor sourcing strategies, stockpiling more inventory, and ways to use data and AI to have a predictive view into the future and drive greater efficiency.
“The priority should be to shore up procurement channels and re-evaluate inventory management norms, i.e. stockpiling for assurance. Health systems should take the opportunity to renegotiate with their current vendors and broaden the supplier channel. Through those efforts, work with suppliers that have greater geographic diversity and transparency around manufacturing data, process, and continuity plans,” says Dean.
But here ensues the never-ending battle of domestic vs global supply chains. As I see it, domestic sourcing limits the high-risk exposure related to offshore sourcing— Canada’s issue with importing the vaccine is a good example of that. So, of course, I had to ask, for lifesaving products, is building domestic capabilities an option that is being considered?
“Domestic supply chains are sparse or have a high dependence on overseas centres for parts and raw materials. There are measures being discussed from a legislative perspective to drive more domestic sourcing, and there will need to be a concerted effort by Western countries through a mix of investments and financial incentives,” Dean explains.
Wielding Big Tech for Better Outcomes
So, that’s a long way off. In the meantime, leveraging technology is another way to mitigate the risks that lie within global supply chains while decreasing costs and improving quality. Dean expands on the potential of blockchain and AI in the industry.
“Blockchain is particularly interesting in creating more transparency and visibility across all supply chain activities. Organisations can create a decentralised record of all transactions to track assets from production to delivery or use by end-user. This increased supply chain transparency provides more visibility to both buyers and suppliers to resolve disputes and build more trusting relationships. Another benefit is that the validation of data is more efficient to prioritise time on the delivery of goods and services to reduce cost and improve quality.
“Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) is another area where there’s incredible value in processing massive amounts of data to aggregate and normalise the data to produce proactive recommendations on actions to improve the speed and cost-efficiency of the supply chain.”
Evolving Procurement Models
From asking more of suppliers to beefing up stocks, Dean believes procurement models should be remodelled to favour resilience, mitigate risk and ensure the needs of the customer are kept in view.
“The bottom line is that healthcare systems are expecting more from their suppliers. While transactional approaches focused solely on price and transactions have been the norm, collaborative relationships, where the buyer and supplier establish mutual objectives and outcomes, drives a trusting and transparent relationship. Healthcare systems are also looking to multi-vendor strategies to mitigate risk, so it is imperative for suppliers to stand out and embrace evolving procurement models.
“Healthcare systems are looking at partners that can establish domestic centres for supplies to mitigate the risks of having ‘all of their eggs’ in overseas locations. Suppliers should look to perform a strategic evaluation review that includes a distribution network analysis and distribution footprint review to understand cost, service, flexibility, and risks. Included in that strategy should be a “voice of the customer” assessment to understand current pain points and needs of customers.”
“Healthcare supply chain leaders are re-evaluating the Just In Time (JIT) model with supplies delivered on a regular basis. The approach does not require an investment in infrastructure but leaves organisations open to risk of disruption. Having domestic centres and warehousing from suppliers gives healthcare systems the ability to have inventory on hand without having to invest in their own infrastructure. Also, in the spirit of transparency, having predictive views into inventory levels can help enable better decision making from both sides.”
But, again, I had to ask, what about the risks and associated costs that come with higher inventory levels, such as expired product if there isn’t fast enough turnover, tying up cash flow, warehousing and inventory management costs?
“In the current supply chain environment, it is advisable for buyers to carry an in-house inventory on a just-in-time basis, while suppliers take a just-in-case approach, preserving capacity for surges, retaining safety stock, and building rapid replenishment channels for restock. But the risk of expired product is very real. This could be curbed with better data intelligence and improved technology that could forecast surges and predictively automate future supply needs. In this way, ordering would be more data-driven and rationalised to align with anticipated surges. Further adoption of data and intelligence and will be crucial for modernised buying in the new normal.
These are tough tasks, so I asked Dean to speak to some of the challenges. Luckily, he’s a patient guy with a lot to say.
On managing stakeholders and ensuring alignment on priorities and objectives, Dean says, “In order for managing stakeholders to stay aligned on priorities, they’ll need more transparency and collaborative win-win business relationships in which both healthcare systems and medical device manufacturers are equally committed to each other’s success. On the healthcare side, they need to understand where parts and products are manufactured to perform more predictive data and analytics for forecasting and planning efforts. And the manufacturers should offer more data transparency which will result in better planning and forecasting to navigate the ebbs and flows and enable better decision-making by healthcare systems.
Due to the sensitive nature of the information being requested, the effort to increase visibility is typically met with a lot of reluctance and push back. Dean essentially puts the onus back on suppliers to get with the times. “Traditionally, the relationships between buyers and suppliers are transactional, based only on the transaction between the two parties: what is the supplier providing, at what cost, and for what length of time. The relationship begins and ends there. The tide is shifting, and buyers expect more from their suppliers, especially given what the pandemic exposed around the fragility of the supply chain. The suppliers that get ahead of this will not only reap the benefits of improved relationships, but they will be able to take action on insights derived from greater visibility to manage risks more effectively.”
He offers a final tip. “A first step in enabling a supply chain data exchange is to make sure partners and buyers are aware of the conditions throughout the supply chain based on real-time data to enable predictive views into delays and disruptions. With well understand data sets, both parties can respond more effectively and work together when disruptions occur.”
As for where supply chain is heading, Dean says, “Moving forward, we’ll continue to see a shift toward Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and advanced analytics to optimise the supply chain. The pandemic, as it has done in many other industries, will accelerate the move to digital, with the benefits of improving efficiency, visibility, and error rate. AI can consume enormous amounts of data to drive real-time pattern detection and mitigate risk from global disruptive events.”