What did we learn from Convoy?
In Florida on I-75, I saw that there are signs ahead of every roadside stop that had automated a solution to the trucking problem. A sign announced the number of available truck parking spots ahead. This technology is neither new or limited to Florida (although we don’t see may of those in northeast Ohio), but it got me thinking about Convoy, truck technology and the freight recession.
Like everyone else, the collapse of Convoy shocked us. How can a business with $3.8 billion of investors’ money shut down, leaving businesses, truckers, and shippers high and dry?
ICYMI, we found this article from Overdriveonline.com explained clearly the basic problems and fallout from the closure. My favorite line was
One of the most famous mantras of big-tech companies of the last decade was Facebook’s old “move fast and break things” motto of sorts. This was encouragement for coders to think outside of the box and be bold when designing new apps and social media tools. For Facebook, now Meta, the strategy worked when it needed to. In trucking, you can’t move fast or break things.
- Alex Lockie, OverdriveOnline.com
There’s no getting away from the push to use technology everywhere. And seeing it in action along the highway as it addressed a real need in truck parking is a good application.
In many ways, Convoy and the drive to use technology to improve brokering was waiting to happen. At the same time, however, we face an industry that is not technology based: it’s human based. Data is not our be all and die all, it’s the result of humans doing real work.
If you’re thinking that it’s rich for us to be throwing shade at trucking technology- that’s not at all what we’re doing. Essentially, we think that using computers, smartphones, and all the Bluetooth gadgets has improved the trucking industry.
But what the tech industry forgot was that trucking is based on human beings overcoming huge distances in all weather to deliver objects that take effort and fuel to move. While the author of the OverdriveOnline.com calls it the perfect storm, that’s a great metaphor for fishing boats. I think it might be better to call it the “white-out on the highway multi-vehicle accident.” (Ok, so that’s a bit much.)
But we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Trucking technology is the difference in building a successful trucking business either as an owner operator or as a fleet manager. But truck tech is the tool, not the end result.
TruckingOffice has felt the truck recession as much as everyone else. The numbers of truck companies closing in 2023 was estimated at 35,000 by Freightwaves.com. No one in the industry has been unaffected by the truck recession. Convoy may have been the biggest example of the impact of this recession, but it’s not the only one. Big trucking firms like Yellow didn’t just reorganize – they closed their doors permanently and have sold off their properties.
So how do the little guys survive when the biggest names in the trucking industry can’t?
We have a suggestion.
Trucker Stats™ for Human Beings
First, we’re all humans and we need grace as well as motivation in stressful times. Treating people well is just the right thing to do, and even more important during times of stress.
There’s no “but” at the end of that sentence.
During a freight recession, using the data that your trucking business produces while hauling and delivering freight is smart. It’s there and it’s ready to be used. But do you know what you need to know? Do you know how to get those numbers? Do you know how to compute the statistics that will show you where you’re making money and where you’re losing it?
Trucker Stats™ as the results of the data analysis that you need. But instead of giving you the raw data, TruckingOffice PRO Trucker Stats™ computes them for you. So whether you have $3,800,000,000 invested or $38,000 invested in your trucking business, you have the analytics of your business at your fingertips.
Not only does TruckingOffice PRO manage your trucking business from dispatch to invoice payment and track your maintanence, TruckingOffice PRO has the tools to build your trucking company and keep it going during a trucking recession.