By: Jack Porter, TPP Managing Director & “The Trucking Activist”
This submission will cover a personal journey down this current Coronavirus pandemic. I reflected on my thoughts and activities over the past month, which truly seems like a year!
PAST: I think back to one month ago, sitting on a 2020 Freight Panel at the Truckload Carriers Association’s Annual Convention where the Coronavirus pandemic was a “what if” to our freight demand; boy have things changed. I was truly the one that didn’t see this coming. One week later, I returned home to my usual routine of travelling to clients and working with them and their teams on trucking strategies. But then I noticed that one after another – meetings were being cancelled – the news seemed to only be covering Covid-19 cases and deaths, along with the stock market data real time. Social distancing was no longer a personal strategy I employed with my in-laws, and Corona wasn’t a cold beverage we shared poolside in Orlando! Our leaders were analyzing the crisis with mixed signals. The main takeaway for me was clearly “Hope is not a Strategy.” The media was reporting their slant on the practices and procedures needed. I was also the one that couldn’t fathom the NCAA March Madness being cancelled. What a difference a month makes!
PRESENT: (Two differing definitions: 1) “give or award formally or “ceremonially” 2) “the period of time now occurring.” I will address the later definition; pretty sure no one believes this was a gift! Contrary to much of the mainstream commentary that sometimes debates the past and the 20/20 review mirror of how we got here, the trucking business has been laser focused on what we can do today. As I have said in the past, this industry that supports the basic staples of everyday life rolls on. While the reports will focus on the unfortunate numbers of cases and deaths, and I have also had colleagues and friends fighting their own personal battles, there is a silent majority of people doing the right thing. I must remind myself that we are a country of 321,170,000 people. That silent majority is expecting that the trucking industry will keep their shelves loaded without interruption. Those truckers are depending on the fleet support people from operations, safety, HR, and maintenance to “have their backs!” It has been a great unified effort from all parts of this industry.
FUTURE: The 64-dollar question. While the rearview mirror is crystal clear for all to debate, I always point out that we often get the “test before the lesson” in business, politics and life. This is no different. If the silent majority remains diligent and follows the guidance of the scientific community, we will prevail. Leaders, we do not need to place blame, we need solidarity to help this great country overcome this crisis. “Through difficulty comes opportunity”, and while that seems a long way away, the trucking business has a bunch of tough people, and I’m proud to call you my friends. Keep truckin’ safely!