Last month I gave my review of 2021. Quite honestly, I believe 2022 will have some of the same attributes and challenges, but with some hopeful changes. Here is my hit list trucking challenges going into 2022:
- Inflation and managing inflationary costs
- Workforce – Wage increases, benefit increases, government interference, strong economic recovery, and infusing fun into the workplace.
- Equipment – Known increased costs for equipment, parts and labor shortages in the support supply chain, increasing parts inventories, and scarcity of firm replacement cycles.
- Insurance – Equipment and safety, still fighting Nuclear Lawsuits.
- Productivity and absorbing lower productivity into your business model
- Lowering of driver productivity for miles and hours.
- Utilization of equipment and on-road repair delay will aggravate the driver and the customer on time commitments.
- Lower productivity of non-driver support folks due to higher pay, low unemployment, and remote work mandated by COVID.
- Pricing strategy to cover the above escalated costs
- Integration of higher costs into carrier pricing models will be critical.
- Accuracy of their above cost estimates that apply specifically to their business, and how do you implement and sell to your customer base.
- All this in the face of continued capacity shortage.
I strongly believe we are sitting on a historical economic recovery that may rival the Roaring 20s that followed the Spanish Flu pandemic. We have historic stock market levels, record low unemployment, the highest wage increase in a compressed time, and huge personal savings rate. Once the U.S. economy turns the corner on COVID, and the experts and press start talking about “herd immunity,” the flood gates will open and trucking always leads the economic recovery. The challenges listed above will only be byproducts of a Roaring 20s type recovery.
Some needs for the recovery outside of the COVID conclusion would be first, that the government quits interfering into vaccine mandates and supply chain tweaking. The supply chain will recover and a few of the new indices already show that rectifying itself. The new wage increase for drivers, and the ability for free training, has gotten traction in the market and the driver shortage may start to subside. Equipment clarity will be critical for truckers to help fulfill their replacement strategies, and right now that can’t be more fluid that only adds costs to the truckers that are already buying the higher priced tools of their trade.
Thus, the moral of 2022 will be locked on “runaway inflation.” While trucking gets affected by inflationary costs, it will somewhat be the “canary in the coal mine.” The good news is inflation can be managed in a growth economy, and I’m sure growth is in the future, especially in 2022.