What is Digital Freight Matching?

The chances are that if you’ve worked in the trucking industry within the past few years you’ve heard of digital freight matching.  

 

This fast-growing integration of technology with traditional freight matching methods has caught on quickly and proved to be more than just the newest trend in transportation and logistics. Digital freight matching (DFM) has become the go-to method of many carriers to efficiently connect their drivers with available freight while saving time on paperwork, optimizing space, and cutting costs.  

 

Keep reading to find out what digital freight matching really is, and how AI technology and machine learning could save your company time and money when connecting with shippers. 

 

How does digital freight matching work? 

Simply put, digital freight matching is a technology-driven approach to connecting shippers, or those who need to transport goods, with carriers and other transportation companies. Unlike traditional methods, which involve manual processes and third party intermediaries, DFM leverages AI and machine learning to streamline the freight matching process. 

 

Although all modern freight brokerages and third-party logistics (3PL) businesses use technology to optimize the process, DFM is different in that it takes a technology-first approach instead of the traditional emphasis on human interaction and expertise.  

 

Traditionally, 3PLs have assisted carriers by taking information from shippers about available loads and connected them with drivers looking to carry freight. This included lengthy and potentially challenging manual processes such as booking, load posting, paperwork, and confirmation calls.  

 

Instead, DFM now automates these processes by using predictive analytics rooted in AI to optimize matches for service, efficiency, capacity, and cost. DFM platforms automatically connect different parts of the supply chain, making the process more efficient and responsive for all parties involved.  

 

Shippers begin the process by uploading important job details to a DFM service, including proposed rate, the weight of the freight, and the required pick-up and delivery points and dates. AI-generated algorithms then evaluate the fleet capabilities of existing users to find potential matches. Suitable carriers can then open the DFM’s load board, evaluate the job description, and easily confirm within the platform.  

 

Since most DFM platforms are available as mobile apps or online websites, this provides a single access point for every step of the matching process.  

 

What are the benefits? 

The main draw of DFM is the ability to streamline the entire freight matching process. Companies offering DFM help shippers share and advertise their loads to a wider range of drivers, while optimizing and accelerating the connection between shipper and carrier.  

 

DFM technology also integrates seamlessly with Transportation Management Systems (TMS) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, making scheduling more efficient and reducing the time spent on administrative tasks.  

 

Top DFM software can incorporate quoting, payment, data tracking and a range of other services into a single platform, allowing carriers and drivers to maximize load utilization and lower costs by minimizing empty backhauls. 

 

Are there any drawbacks? 

As with any other technological advancement, there are some important considerations to make before deciding to invest in a DFM platform.  

 

Initially integrating a DFM service into a carrier’s existing freight matching methods can be difficult, especially when considering the price of a program and any training required for the transition.  

 

DFM platforms typically offer various payment models, ranging from a monthly or annual subscription-based service to freemium models with only basic features available for no cost. Although the overall cost can potentially be higher than the fees required for 3PLs and other matching services, it depends on the quality and abilities of the selected DFM platform.  

 

Another important factor is the inherent dependence on technology of any DFM service. Utilizing DFM requires internet connectivity, software platforms, and an understanding of the AI-generated algorithms. While the quality and ease of user interface has continued to improve in recent years, downtime, system glitches, and viruses can still disrupt operations and cause delays.  

 

The top concern for many carriers deciding whether or not to make the transition to digital freight matching is how to strike the right balance between automation and personalized service. While algorithms enhance efficiency, they may not account for all variables, making human judgment still crucial for complex scenarios and exceptions.  

 

Many clients and drivers will still appreciate some personalized services, so be sure to provide a human voice and perspective when necessary.  

 

 

 

For more information on evolving trends in the trucking industry and how to keep your carrier’s services ahead of the curve, remember to follow us on social media and stay up-to-date on our Employer Blog posts.  

 

 2024 Outlook: State of the Industry  

After two years of post-pandemic global supply chain disruptions, the ongoing driver shortage, and rising fuel prices, experts in the field forecasted a gradual recovery in freight and some growth as volume returns to pre-pandemic levels. An increase in consumer spending was expected to impact demand, however economic uncertainty continued to be a concern. 

 

Last year was a turbulent one in the world of transportation and logistics, amid fluctuating fuel prices, continued driver shortages, economic volatility, and a growing freight recession. Nearly two months into the new year, experts are still unsure if consumer demand will increase enough to offset the freight recession or if inflation and the overall global economy will continue to slow down and improve.  

 

Keep reading for Drive My Way’s outlook on the state of the industry in 2024, and find out what are the biggest trends, underlying issues, and expert predictions to keep an eye on this year.  

 

Ongoing Freight Recession and Economic Concerns 

The issue on the mind of most experts in the trucking industry going into the new year is how to address the ongoing freight recession that developed in 2023. Although the overall US economy was able to avoid a recession last year, the transportation industry wasn’t as lucky, due to a number of factors.  

 

After two years of a post-pandemic freight boom, consumer spending began to decrease in 2023, bringing overall freight volume down. Coupled with the influx of new carriers that arrived during the boom of the first two years of the pandemic, the trucking industry is now seeing an oversupply of trucks compared to a waning amount of available freight. A notable marker of the market’s volatility was long-standing trucking behemoth Yellow Corporation filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August of 2023.  

 

Although a recent CNBC Supply Chain Survey confirmed that these difficult economic conditions will continue at least until the end of the first quarter of 2024, the survey did hint at a potential slow increase in demand throughout the second half of the year. Some experts also believe that an upswing will come faster than initially anticipated due to the gradual turnover of the excess carriers that entered during the post-pandemic swell.  

 

With a global economy as volatile and unpredictable as we have witnessed the past three years, carriers should continue to monitor consumer trends and hire accordingly. Consider rightsizing or implementing strategies such as a hiring waitlist while the market continues to stabilize over the course of the year.  

 

Yes, There Still is a Truck Driver Shortage  

Despite this unprecedented freight recession, a familiar issue has continued to plague the industry in 2024. The American Trucking Associations (ATA) projected a driver shortage of over 82,000 for 2024, a sharp increase from the 60,000 gap that was projected in 2023.  

 

This increase is due to the fact that carriers are still struggling to recruit and retain quality drivers from newer generations to supplement the drivers that will leave throughout the decade. With the average age of an American trucker being around 47, carriers must focus on new hiring strategies to meet candidates where they are at, while focusing on retention to decrease the industry-wide high turnover rates.  

 

In 2024, continue to keep in mind what drivers are looking for from employers, and how you can streamline your hiring and training processes to cut down on unnecessary spending and save your drivers time and effort.  

 

Keep an Eye on Changing Trends 

A key to success in the new year will be flexibility and the fast adaptation to dynamic trends. As consumer buying patterns change and legislation involving trucking continues to be unveiled, every carrier should be ready to pivot when necessary while remaining prepared for the unexpected.  

 

With the steadily increasing rise of e-commerce, it’s important to have the proper infrastructure to optimize last-mile delivery services and real-time tracking. Focus on route optimization and delivery consolidation to prepare for the quick moving and relatively short distance required of e-commerce deliveries.  

 

It’s also important to keep in mind that new environmental regulations for the trucking industry will continue to have a greater impact in 2024. State level policies, such as California’s 2023 Advanced Clean Fleets rule, which plans on transitioning all commercial trucks and vans to zero-emission vehicles by 2045, will likely be felt by an increasing number of carriers and drivers this year. Six states have already pledged to join California, including New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Massachusetts, Washington and Vermont.  

 

When drafting your budgets this year, analyze what changes could be made in the present to lessen the cost and time required down the line to adhere to new sustainability regulations. Although electric vehicles still cost 3% more on average than their diesel counterparts, there are other efforts fleets can make to cut down on emissions, such as improving truck aerodynamics and investing in detailed telematics tracking.  

 

 

 

Although it hasn’t been off to a steady start, many experts still believe that 2024 could be a turnaround year for the trucking industry with an uptick in the second half of the year. With breakthroughs in combating supply chain issues and moving the industry towards a more sustainable future, it’s possible that carriers could see positive growth and a larger return on investments by the end of 2024 and into 2025.  

 

For more information on evolving trends in the trucking industry and how to stay ahead of the curve when recruiting and retaining quality drivers, be sure to follow us on social media and stay up to date on our Employer Blog posts.  

Diversify Your Truck Driver Candidate Pool

In today’s highly competitive market, there’s no “one size fits all” approach to recruiting and retaining qualified truck drivers.  

 

Recruiters must be willing to explore a variety of strategies and sources to find top talent and build strong, reliable teams. By increasing the scope of your recruiting efforts and demonstrating your commitment to the needs of all your drivers, you not only enhance the diversity of your candidate selection pool, but also foster a culture of inclusivity and understanding within your company.  

 

Keep reading to find out why diversifying your candidate selection pool contributes to a more dynamic and innovative workforce, and how expanding your recruiting efforts could position your company for long-term success in the ever-evolving landscape of the transportation industry. 

 

Why does this matter? 

You might wonder why you should expand your candidate selection pool if you’ve seen continued success from your long-time sourcing strategies.  

 

Even if you have a steady stream of applicants and a team of quality drivers, it’s still important to focus on future growth and prepare for potential changes in the industry. By expanding your candidate selection pool, you not only mitigate risks associated with unforeseen challenges, but also ensure adaptability and resilience in the face of evolving demands and opportunities. 

 

Sourcing your candidates from a diverse array of backgrounds, experience levels, and skill-sets also improves the overall function of your company. Diversity is not just a buzzword, it is something that helps companies better reflect the communities they serve while driving innovation and improved decision-making.  

 

Diverse teams offer a wider variety of perspectives and experiences, which leads to more effective problem-solving and creative solutions. In a field like trucking, where split-second decisions can have a large impact, diverse perspectives also enhance safety and efficiency.  

 

Broaden your reach  

The best approach to diversify your candidate selection pool is to source your drivers from a variety of channels. It’s important not to rely on a single method, especially as technologies change and the industry continues to grow.  

 

In today’s industry, social media should play a large role in your recruiting efforts, alongside traditional methods such as flyers, recruiting fairs, and team referral benefits. Meet drivers where they’re at by posting to a variety of online job boards and social media platforms, ensuring maximum visibility and engagement. By leveraging the power of social media, you can reach a broader audience of potential candidates, including passive job seekers who may not actively be searching through traditional channels.  

 

Utilize innovative technology to assist with your recruiting efforts, such as AI-driven applicant tracking systems or intelligent driver match technology. Driver-centric platforms, such as Drive My Way’s personalized recruiting software that matches truck drivers and owner operators with carriers looking to hire, can revolutionize your recruitment process by streamlining candidate selection and ensuring better alignment between drivers and carriers.  

 

Embrace diversity  

Another key step in expanding your candidate selection pool is by attracting a diverse group of applicants. By embracing diversity and highlighting it as a strength at your company, a wider variety of drivers will be encouraged to apply and refer others as well.  

 

Promote inclusivity by providing opportunities that benefit and support members of underrepresented communities in trucking, including women and people of color. Consider offering options such as mentor programs, which have been proven to positively impact drivers and build stronger communities within carriers.  

 

A diverse group of applicants can also include factors such as differing age groups and experience levels. A wide range of age of applicants is important for safeguarding against future uncertainty, especially as many trucking carriers face the challenges of an aging workforce. By valuing the contributions of drivers across different stages of their careers, you foster a culture of mentorship and continuous learning while strengthening your company’s resilience and adaptability in the face of evolving industry demands. 

 

Network and collaborate  

Look to other members of the trucking industry to continue growing your company and discover new methods of recruitment. Industry associations, such as the American Trucking Association or The National Association of Small Trucking Companies, are useful for making industry connections that can help your company find new ways to build relationships with potential candidates.  

 

Consider collaborating with trucking schools to identify and nurture talent early on. These partnerships might take longer to pay off, but they can result in a steady stream of qualified candidates who already know your company values, expectations, and culture.  

 

Focus on retention  

Increasing driver retention rates by prioritizing the experience of every driver is not only vital for recruiters aiming to attract top talent and improve overall driver satisfaction, but also for expanding the scope of your candidate selection pools.  

 

Investing in programs and infrastructure that demonstrate a commitment to drivers’ needs, mental health, and physical well-being is key to achieving this goal. Consider implementing options such as a regular driver engagement survey, which shows dedication to drivers’ feedback and perspectives, thus fostering a culture of inclusion and empowerment within your company.  

 

Offering other opportunities to support drivers, such as training for veterans transitioning into the industry or resources to prioritize and protect your drivers’ mental health, can position your carrier as a forward thinking and driver-centric organization where any truck driver would want to work.  

 

 

 

For more information on evolving trends in the trucking industry and how to stay ahead of the curve when recruiting and retaining quality drivers, be sure to follow us on social media and stay up to date on our Employer Blog posts.  

Electric truck

There’s no denying that the commercial transportation industry is critical to maintaining the infrastructure of our nation, and the world, as we know it.  

 

There’s also no denying that the transportation industry has a significant impact on global greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, and fossil fuel consumption. In fact, in the United States alone, where delivery trucks and trailers only compose around 4% of total vehicles, they generate nearly half of nitrogen oxide emissions and close to 60% of fine vehicle particulates.  

 

However, this pattern doesn’t have to continue. Many of the biggest names in the industry have already taken steps towards a more sustainable future by beginning the transition to electric vehicles and alternative fuel sources, incorporating technology to help fuel efficiency, and implementing regulations to leave a carbon-neutral footprint.  

 

Are you wondering how your company could contribute to the growth of sustainability in the commercial transportation industry? Have you been weighing the pros and cons of electric vehicles and alternative fuel sources? Keep reading to find out what you should know about sustainable transportation and how it could save your company time and money down the road.  

 

What Does Sustainable Transportation Mean? 

Sustainable transportation is an umbrella term for all the strategies and technologies that exist to minimize the environmental impact of the commercial transportation industry. When it comes to trucking, this involves using alternative fuels and electric vehicles, improving fuel efficiency and vehicle technology, and implementing policies and regulations that support sustainable transportation.  

 

For years, trucking companies nationwide have been adopting sustainable transportation solutions, a trend that is sure to continue growing. Since 2005, FedEx has taken various measures to improve its fuel efficiency through design changes and new technology, while Amazon recently made the largest order ever of electric vehicles by adding 100,000 custom electric delivery vehicles to its fleet.  

 

Carriers looking to take the first steps towards a sustainable future should consider integrating new technology such as smart logistics, Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, and other fleet management software to reduce environmental impact while saving money by streamlining operations.  

 

These technologies enable trucking companies to collect and analyze real-time data on vehicle performance, fuel usage, and route efficiency to make more informed decisions, cutting down on unnecessary miles to save time and fuel. Besides contributing to the rise of sustainable transportation, carriers that use smart logistics systems can optimize routes and loads, reduce idle times, and improve overall fleet management.  

 

Pros vs. Cons of Electric Vehicles  

As probably the most well-known and often debated solution to sustainable transportation, electric vehicles (EVs) have seen a steady rise in popularity and technological advancement since the first introduction to mass-produced electric and hybrid vehicles in the 1990’s.  

 

Since then, transportation and logistics companies across the nation have embraced EVs as an option to avoid rising fuel costs, meet increasing state and national environmental regulations, and reduce environmental impact. EVs are also often touted as a safer option, as they are usually equipped with the most up-to-date safety features such as emergency braking, forward collision warning, automatic lane-keeping and enhanced traction control systems.  

 

Although studies have shown that an average electric vehicle owner can save up to $1,000 each year on fuel costs, not to mention the potential government tax incentives and breaks, there are still many factors that carriers must consider before investing in EVs for their fleet.  

 

Upfront costs for purchasing EVs and installing the proper charging infrastructure are often an initial concern for carriers, especially since the proven lower operational and maintenance costs of EVs will likely not offset this cost in the short term.  

 

The current limitations to charging infrastructure nationwide also make it difficult to rely on EVs, especially in an industry like trucking. Although charging stations continue to be installed across the country, there are still many regions where it just isn’t practical yet to solely rely on EVs without a constant need to return to base to charge. Charging time is also important to consider, with larger vehicles taking up to 10 hours to reach a full charge.  

 

Environmental Regulations Affecting Transportation

The growing demand for sustainable transportation is also influenced by rising state and national regulations that aim to meet climate goals. While these regulations might not be taking effect in most states yet, the long-term implications for the transportation industry and increasing likelihood of environmental legislation means that carriers can save time, money, and stress by beginning the transition early.  

 

The 2021 Federal Net-Zero Emissions Goal laid out a path to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions and achieve a net-zero emissions economy by 2050 that is sure to have a significant impact on the transportation industry.  

 

2023’s National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization also aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions in both passenger and freight transportation by improving vehicle efficiency and continuing the transition to zero-emission vehicles.  

 

Statewide policies are sure to begin having an impact on transportation nationwide too, such as California’s 2023 Advanced Clean Fleets rule, which plans on transitioning all commercial trucks and vans to zero-emission vehicles by 2045. Six states have already pledged to join California, including New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Massachusetts, Washington and Vermont. It’s also important to note that even carriers from outside these states that have routes going through California will need to adapt to the state’s regulations.  

 

  

If you’re interested in more updates and trends in the trucking industry, be sure to follow us on social media or check out the rest of our Employer Blog posts.  

2024 is shaping up to be a true test of perseverance for every individual in the transportation and logistics industry. 

 

Facing a post-pandemic freight recession, shortage of qualified drivers, and ongoing supply chain disruptions, transportation companies worldwide will need to focus on streamlining operations and optimizing output in order to stay competitive in today’s global market.  

 

These circumstances can be especially difficult and detrimental for small, private carriers that don’t have as many resources or margin for error as larger companies. The first two years of the pandemic also saw many new carriers flood the market due to the freight boom, so the coming year will continue to reveal how many of these businesses are able to withstand economic uncertainty.  

 

While today’s market may seem daunting for small freight carriers, there are many resources available to help them navigate these challenging times. Keep reading to find out where to find these resources, and how they could benefit your business.  

 

Government Assistance Programs  

According to the World Economic Forum, direct government grants and zero-interest loans are the most helpful tool for small businesses facing economic uncertainty. It might feel challenging to ask for help, but there are many government assistance programs that exist entirely to support small businesses during economic hardship.  

 

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has been especially beneficial in promoting entrepreneurship throughout the US by providing limited small business grants for qualifying organizations that have struggled post-pandemic.  

 

Consider looking into the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program, which is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive and ability for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. The loan can be used on payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities, although at least 60% of the loan must be used for payroll in order to be forgiven.  

 

The government’s post-pandemic economic assistance programs are also important resources to research. Although some are no longer active, the Economic Industry Disaster Loan is still assisting small businesses that have suffered economic harm from the impacts of the pandemic. The maximum loan amount available is $2 million, which can be used for payroll, fixed debts, accounts payable, and any other bill that is unable to be paid due to the pandemic’s impact.  

 

Industry Associations  

Another valuable strategy to help small carriers safeguard against economic hardship is to join industry associations. Organizations such as the American Trucking Association (ATA) are designed to provide access to industry-specific information, networking opportunities, and a platform for carriers to advocate for their interests. A great way to start is to become a member of one of ATA’s  50 unique State Associations, which give members the chance to discuss local legislation and foster connections statewide.  

 

Other options include becoming a member of  The National Association of Small Trucking Companies which serves as an advocate for, a consultant to, and a source of collective buying power for its member companies, helping them save money. The Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association is another organization that offers members a platform for advocacy, a chance to learn about the newest industry updates, and the opportunity to receive exclusive deals and rebates.  

 

Technology and Efficiency Improvements  

Small carriers should also regularly conduct operational reviews to identify areas where they can improve their efficiency and reduce costs. By analyzing operational data and key performance indicators (KPIs), carriers can gain insight into what goals are being met and where new technology could improve operational efficiency.  

 

Consider implementing technology such as route optimization software and telematics to save time, lower fuel costs, and improve customer satisfaction. Route optimization software works uses algorithms to determine the most efficient route, considering factors such as delivery-time windows, total number and locations of required stops, driver schedules, and more.  

 

Telematics can help carriers to improve driver safety, reduce accidents, and lower insurance costs by providing real-time tracking of vehicles and monitoring of driver behavior. By investing in technology to improve overall operational efficiency, the up-front cost will be more than worth it in the long run.  

 

Other Resources  

Finally, carriers can benefit from other online industry specific resources, such as FTR and Freightwaves, to name a few.  These resources provide valuable data on economic forecasts and will help you prepare for likely market changes.  

 

In addition to keeping ahead of market changes, successful organizations make attracting and retaining top talent a priority. Drive My Way is now offering its own Small Fleet Plan to aid carriers in maximizing their brand reach and recruiting efforts. Through access to a large community of drivers and the use of advanced matching technology and digital marketing, Drive My Way’s plan can help carriers save time and money while attracting and retaining qualified drivers.  

 

While today’s highly competitive market might seem intimidating for small carriers, these resources can help any carrier find cost-effective solutions to their problems.  

 

For more strategies to save time and money while recruiting and retaining quality drivers, be sure to check out our Employer Blog or connect with us on social media 

The chances are, if you’ve been in the transportation industry for a while, you’ve heard the phrase “last mile delivery,” also called “final mile delivery.”  

 

In recent years, with the rise of e-commerce and a consumer-driven industry, last mile delivery has become a major differentiating factor among competitors, and a job opportunity for 1099 independent contractors looking to have a regular route close to home.  

 

With today’s consumers expecting fast and reliable delivery every time they make an online purchase, retailers and last mile delivery companies have had to work hard to offer multiple options for fast and affordable shipping and delivery rates. However, between a fluctuating economy and the unsolved “last mile problem,” there is still room for improvement in this key stage of the supply chain process.   

 

Read on to find out what last mile delivery really is, the current difficulties facing the transportation industry, and how new technologies are helping businesses nationwide combat the “last mile problem.”   

 

What is Last Mile Delivery? 

The supply chain process can be divided into three main stages:  

 

The First Mile is the creation and distribution of a product from the original manufacturer.  

 

The Middle Mile is the long distance transportation of a product from the manufacturer to its final transportation hub.  

 

The Last Mile or Final Mile is the transportation of a product from a hub such as a local warehouse or fulfillment center to its final destination at either a retailer or customer’s home.  

 

Every step of the supply chain process is important, but the last mile has the most impact on the customer’s experience, and their likelihood of ordering from a company again. Therefore, businesses must ensure the most quick and efficient last mile delivery as possible if they want to stay ahead of competition.  

 

What’s the “Last Mile Problem?” 

The “last mile problem” is another phrase you might have heard thrown around. This simply refers to the common factors that cause issues, delays, and additional expenses during the last mile delivery. This stage of the supply chain process might be the most critical to the consumer experience, but it’s also the most expensive and time-consuming for the business, often accounting for 53% of overall delivery costs.  

 

Many factors play a role in this notoriously difficult and expensive phase of the delivery process that affect both drivers and businesses. For drivers, last mile delivery can be difficult due to a short delivery time frame, dense urban areas that lead to more stops, last minute route changes, rising fuel prices, and failed deliveries.  

 

Businesses must also account for other factors such as the added pressure of customer expectation for rapid delivery and real-time tracking, the shortage of qualified drivers, and the costs of vehicle maintenance.  

 

The importance of last mile delivery is certain to continue increasing, which means that it’s essential to utilize the newest technologies and industry trends to find solutions to the “last mile delivery problem.” 

 

How to Prepare for the Last Mile 

There are several important considerations to keep in mind when attempting to optimize your last mile delivery process.  

Efficient Route Planning 

Effective last mile delivery requires efficient route planning to minimize travel time and fuel costs. Utilize advanced route optimization software to streamline routes and improve overall efficiency. Hiring or contracting with 1099 independent local drivers or owner operators can be an added bonus, as they will be more familiar with shortcuts and traffic patterns.  

Real-Time Tracking and Visibility  

One study recently reported that 93% of customers expect to be able to track their order. By employing technology solutions that provide real-time tracking and visibility into the delivery process, you can assist in monitoring driver performance, ensuring on-time deliveries, and addressing any unforeseen challenges. 

Technology Integration  

The companies that have best set themselves up for success in the last mile delivery process, such as Amazon, FedEx, and General Logistics, have all integrated technology to improve efficiency and lessen the chance of error. Consider technologies such as mobile apps, GPS tracking, and electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) systems to streamline operations and provide better service.  

Fleet Management 

The best way to avoid costly repairs and delays is by keeping your fleet upgraded and compliant with regulations. Many providers of last mile delivery also utilize electric vehicles due to their lower operating and maintenance costs and reduced carbon footprint. It’s also worth considering offering additional benefits for the customer, such as white glove service, that cater to businesses and individuals who are seeking a higher standard of care, attention, and service for their shipments. 

 

 

Although facing a number of difficulties and considerations as it expands, last mile delivery is sure to be a key part of the future of the trucking industry.  

  

To stay up-to-date on other trends and news on the trucking industry, be sure to follow us on social media or read more of our Employer Blog 

One of the best ways to learn about evolving industry trends and technologies, network with like minded professionals, and promote your company is by attending a trucking conference. There are many options to choose from throughout the year, each offering unique benefits for attendees.  

 

Most conferences take place over the course of a few days and can be a large investment of time and money. This means that it’s important to start planning early and discuss your options with your employer. Many 2024 conferences have already opened for registration, so it’s time to mark your calendars and start practicing your elevator pitch!  

 

One Last Conference in 2023 

Most conferences take place earlier in the year, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any happening this December. It might feel a little last minute, but registration for the 2023 Veteran Ready Summit is still open, providing you a great way to end the year on a productive note.  

 

2023 Veteran Ready Summit (Dec. 13-16, Washington D.C.) 

The goal of this annual conference is to bring together leaders from across the country to discuss, brainstorm, and learn more about creating a culture of support for veterans entering the trucking industry. Attendees will be able to network with experts in the field and receive the advice and tools necessary for creating military hiring programs while becoming a “veteran-ready” company.  

 

More information on the conference and how to register can be found here 

 

Conferences Happening in 2024 

There are many transportation conferences taking place in the new year, so get ahead of the game by planning which 2024 conferences you want to attend now. Below is a list of some of the largest conferences in the United States, listed in order of occurrence.  

 

Texas Transit Association State Conference, Expo, and Roadeo (March 15-20, San Antonio) 

This TTA conference offers a wide range of benefits, including informative speaker sessions, ample networking time, a full expo of venders and vehicles, and even the Texas State Roadeo competition which features 35 and 40 foot bus and cutaway/body-on-Chassis divisions as well as maintenance teams.  

 

Registration is not yet open, but space often sells out quickly so be sure to keep an eye on all conference news here 

 

Mid America Trucking Show (March 21-23, Louisville, KY) 

There’s a reason this conference’s tagline is “experience the entire industry.” With over 850 exhibitors, 58,000 attendees, and more than 40 featured events, this is a conference you definitely don’t want to miss. Best known for its extensive, interactive exhibit displays, the Mid America Trucking Show brings together the best of the best in the trucking industry to show that the future really is now.  

 

You can find more information on registration and how to become an exhibitor here 

 

Truckload Carriers Association Truckload Conference (March 23-26, Nashville) 

Join a crowd that’s likely to be more than 1,500 people next year at the annual Truckload Carriers Association conference. With an exhibitor hall featuring over 120 game changing products, this conference is a great way to meet industry experts and promote your company’s brand.  

 

Registration recently opened and space is sure to fill quickly, so be sure to check out more information here 

 

National Private Truck Council Annual Conference and Exhibition (April 21-23, Orlando, FL) 

NPTC is the national trade association dedicated exclusively to representing private motor carrier fleets. Join over 1,300 attendees and 185 exhibitors for a chance to network with and learn from other private fleet professionals. This annual conference features educational sessions led by top industry professionals, a world-class exhibit hall and 20+ workshops showcasing the latest, most innovative and best ideas in private fleet management.  

 

For more information and how to register for this year’s conferencee, click here. 

 

Safety, Security, and Human Resources National Conference (April 25-27, Phoenix, AZ) 

Hosted by the American Trucking Association, this is the only conference in the nation that features three main educational tracks focused on the latest in trucking safety, security and human resources. With over 450 attendees, the conference offers a chance to network and connect with colleagues while attending important educational sessions and a spacious exhibit hall.  

 

For more information on registration and what to expect at this year’s conference, click here 

 

2024 Walcott Truckers Jamboree (July 11-13, Walcott, Iowa)  

As one of the most fun celebrations of the trucking industry nationwide, this annual event put on by Iowa 80, the world’s largest truck stop, is a must-see. While it’s not a traditional conference, over 175 exhibits make this a great destination to discover innovative technologies and see how far the industry has come while perusing the antique truck display. There’s also an Iowa Pork Chop Cookout, live country music, and even a truck beauty contest! What more could you ask for? 

 

Admission and parking are free, but be sure to check out more information here 

 

American Trucking Associations Management Conference & Exhibition (Oct. 12-15, Nashville) 

The annual ATA Management Conference is the premier event bringing together industry leaders from across the nation to discuss and influence the future of commercial truck driving. Each year, this conference offers attendees a chance to learn about evolving industry trends, voice their opinions on legislation affecting commercial transportation, and experience the newest technologies at the expansive MCE exhibition hall.  

 

For more information on the ATA Management Conference and similar events, click here 

 

Accelerate! Conference & Expo (Nov. 5-8, Dallas, TX) 

Hosted by the Women In Trucking Association, this fast-growing conference offers an annual chance to learn more about current transportation and supply chain issues and how to create space for women and other underrepresented groups in the trucking industry. Featuring more than 70 educational sessions and an extensive exhibition hall, this unique conference provides all the tools for growth and success in this dynamic industry.
 

You can find more information on the 2024 conference and how to register here 

 

 

 

These are only some of the many conferences taking place across the nation in 2024. Local, regional, and national conferences all offer distinct opportunities to learn from like-minded individuals who are pushing the boundaries of the trucking industry each day.  

 

If there’s a conference you believe we left out, or if you want to learn more about other industry opportunities in 2024, be sure to reach out to us on social media or read more of our Employer Blog 

How satisfied are the drivers at your company? What about truck drivers nationwide?  

 

The answer to that question, and many others, can be found in Drive My Way’s 2023 Driver Happiness Report. Using data from the responses of over 500 professional truck drivers across the nation, we have analyzed driver satisfaction rates and the factors that affect them and compiled it into a downloadable PDF— and the results might surprise you.  

 

When asked if they were happy at their job, only 51% of drivers said yes. This result comes as a 3% decrease from our 2019 Happiness Report, when 54% of driver’s answered positively.  

 

While happy drivers are more likely to stay at their carrier, and three times more likely to refer others to their employer, drivers overall are nearly twice as likely to look for a new job than they were in 2019.  

 

The report isn’t just numbers, however. Drivers also made clear what employers can improve on to decrease turnover and increase retention rates. Compensation and communication topped the list, but there were plenty of other areas where drivers feel employers could step up to increase satisfaction.  

 

Interested in learning more about what these drivers had to say? Wondering what changes could differentiate you from your competition as we enter into 2024?  

 

To download Drive My Way’s Driver Happiness Report on the state of satisfaction among professional truck drivers in 2023, just click to this link and enter your email and company information.  

 

Drive My Way is a truck driver recruiting platform completely focused on drivers and their needs. We match company drivers and owner operators with CDL jobs based on more than 20 personal lifestyle preferences. If you believe we could help you reach your recruiting and driver satisfaction goals, visit our employer platform here.  

Small businesses are the backbone of America and that goes for small freight carriers too. The trucking industry has become highly competitive, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for a small freight carrier to stand out against the big, corporate companies. In fact, smaller carriers have some unique capabilities that actually make them more attractive to handle certain shipping needs over a larger carrier.   

There are thousands of freight carriers throughout the U.S. As of April 2023, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimated that there are at least 750,000 active motor carriers that own or lease at least one tractor in the U.S. and 72.6% of the nation’s freight by weight is moved by trucks. With those statistics in mind, there is a lot of business available for both large and small carriers alike, depending on the shipping need.  

Unlike large carriers, small freight carriers offer some unique benefits making them a versatile option for companies looking to diversify their logistics options. Large carriers often boast the most equipment and biggest crew, but this also means their routes are often very tight and they prefer to pick up a new load as soon as one is dropped off. This lack of flexibility may not work for every company, which is where a small freight carrier can become a huge asset.  

To best differentiate yourself as a small freight carrier, it is important to realize that smaller carriers can fulfill key needs including being able to travel to smaller, more niche areas that larger carriers do not service. Small freight carriers can also add more flexibility to dense markets, as well as add support to a shipper’s base, increasing capacity and shortening lead time.  

Small freight carriers can set themselves up for success by ensuring that they have a solid team in place and creating a brand that companies want to hire for their shipping needs. Some ways to do this include:  

Recruiting and Retaining Top Talent: Running a successful freight carrier and standing out against the competition always involves having a solid team of drivers who exceed expectations. These days, carriers must not only hone their recruiting techniques to continually bring in new and experienced talent, but they must have programs and incentives in place to retain drivers and build a solid team.  

Fostering Good Relationships: To stand out against all the many carriers in the industry, you have to create a face for your brand and foster good relationships with your clients and employees alike. Successful brands have a strong social media presence, create mentoring programs for drivers, and stay in constant communication to ensure all client and employee needs are met.  

Refining Marketing and Hiring Practices: Ultimately, the best way to build your brand and differentiate your company from others in the industry is to refine your marketing and hiring practices. By showing consistency in all company messaging, you can build trust, give your company a recognizable face, and foster relationships with clients and employees that will last for years to come.  

At Drive My Way, we are dedicated to keeping carriers of all shapes and sizes informed about the best recruitment, marketing, and employment trends in the trucking industry.  

Truck driving is a career path that demands strength, resilience, and commitment to seeing a job through. A good driver can take pride in the work of a job well done, even during the long, quiet miles of the open road. The same skills are required of the courageous men and women who serve our country. However, for veterans who choose to become drivers, the transition from the armed forces to trucking can be a challenging one, especially when it comes to mental health. We spoke with David Pike, Director of Recruiting for NFI, who shared his story of life as a military veteran and ways he’s found support with the trucking industry. 

A Comrade in Arms 

David Pike’s professional journey began in the Marine Corps, where he worked until 1994. After working in an ammunition and explosives MOS for six years, Sergeant Pike was returning from the Western Pacific deployment when he learned there were opportunities to be assigned to recruiting duty stateside and in the local community. He took the opportunity and quickly fell in love with the rewarding feeling of how recruiting can change someone’s life. 

 

“Initially, in military recruiting, you’re selling the glory, honor, and reputation of the Marine Corps. That changed shortly after a young Marine I had recruited, returned home from boot camp and said, “Thank You”. Not sure at the time why gratitude was extended, “It later hit me that I had changed that Marine’s life and gave him an opportunity and hope for a better future.” Pike said. Later, Pike shared, “Changing someone’s life is powerful and should be taken with the highest level of responsibility in any profession, especially transportation,” and this is why he loves so much of what we do in recruiting. He later noted, “We truly and genuinely affect people’s lives.” 

 

In 1993, upon leaving the Marine Corps after almost 10 years, Sergeant Pike transitioned his recruiting skills into the transportation industry. That transition was not without hurdles, but his story is a testament to resilience and dedication. He stated that in the 30 years since joining the transportation world, he and his team fully embrace the concept of changing lives and not “filling seats.” Pike shared with us a few of his most passionate items relating to his profession; and being a veteran himself, it is obvious that is one area that he is championing within NFI. Veterans all too often need advocacy when coming to a new industry. Veterans speak the same language and understand each other’s stories, challenges, and armored front better than most.  

Supporting Drivers: Unseen Battles 

Stress is a real issue in the transportation industry. Professional drivers may be comfortable dealing with the challenges of the road, but veterans have other battles and challenges they may be dealing with that are unique. “Mental health battles are often left unseen and not addressed,” Pike states. He highlighted the unspoken realities of veterans transitioning from military to civilian life. He pointed out that, 

 

“As veterans, we are expected to blend seamlessly back into civilian life despite having put up a shield for years even while carrying emotional burdens, memories, and experiences that most people will never understand. In the service, especially if you have any position of leadership, you are taught to NEVER show weakness, show confidence to your troops.” 

 

As a veteran, professional drivers may be reluctant to share their experiences from their past, even if it’s negatively affecting their present work. However, as an employer, sometimes simply checking in on the well-being of your drivers, especially at the human level, can make all the difference. Pike shared a powerful story about the significance of prioritizing humanity and respect as a recruiting professional. He recounts an experience with an Iraq War veteran translator and now a professional driver, Mohammed. Mohammed showed classic traits of stress and being visibly strained.  

 

His transportation manager reached out and learned that he was struggling with a tremendous burden and was now financially responsible for his brother, sister, and mother. They relocated to the States after the Iraq War. Due to his new familial responsibilities and schedule, Mohammed’s manager engaged and helped find solutions that would work for both Mohammed and NFI. This provided him a more conducive schedule to allow time to address those burdens and challenges at home and remain with NFI. Pike states, “It is that level of human connectivity that is often forgotten in trucking” and one we agree needs to return. When carriers engage at a human level, everyone wins; carriers earn loyalty from their associates, associates feel appreciated, and all related items tend to fall in place. The human factor is something Pike emphasizes and is something that sets his employer, NFI Industries, apart from so many others in the industry.  

The Power of Understanding 

Truck drivers may not always talk about mental health, but it’s a subject that affects us all. Pike was very open with us about his mental health struggles and ongoing resolution. His journey serves as a reminder that we’re not alone in this. In his role as Director of Recruiting with NFI, Pike knows that veterans often emerge from service with emotional armor, and the industry has a role to play in helping them transition to civilian life successfully. He advocates for support that comes from trucking companies and from fellow drivers, especially those who are brothers in arms. 

 

“We, as an industry, have to recognize that every veteran is coming out with an armored up mentality around one’s own struggles. We have to learn how to help veterans tear that armor down and be more receptive. How do we provide the tools and resources? How do we open doors for those veterans to get the help and get the transitional needs when they’re uncomfortable discussing their challenges? Connecting at a human level is where we have to start.” 

 

As recruiters in the trucking industry, Pike emphasizes the personal and company-wide responsibility to appreciate the value veterans bring to work teams. Their resilience, discipline, and dedication are qualities that can greatly benefit our companies and industry. Furthermore, he argues that employers must create environments that encourage open discussions about mental health and provide support to veterans and anyone else who needs it. 

 

Knowing the value of veterans, NTI is asking companies about how they recruit and retain military veterans in trucking careers. The results of this survey will yield invaluable insights into one of the most important recruiting segments in trucking. Please take a few minutes to tell them about your company’s recruiting and retention practices via this survey (at this link). They want to hear from you! 

 

The trucking industry can be a place of opportunity, support, and growth for veterans, provided employers are willing to open doors and extend a welcome to them. Through education, support, and understanding, employers can create an industry where veterans thrive and their unique skills and experiences are celebrated.