Originally appeared in Fleet Owner

The fleets that thrive most stick to their plans and don’t yell that the sky is falling every time they are faced with disruption.

It seems like every day there is some news item on electric trucks, autonomous vehicles, hydrogen fuel cells, changing buying patterns for consumers and businesses, artificial intelligence in trucking, augmented and virtual reality, global pandemics and material shortages. Many of these items are disruptive. In other words, they have the potential to prevent the trucking industry from continuing to operate as it normally does.

I am not naïve and do not want to imply that these things don’t disrupt the trucking industry, but the reality is there have always been disruptions in trucking. Those of us who have been in the industry for a while remember the energy crisis of the 1970s. What about the first time emissions reductions were mandated? That certainly could be called disruptive. As could the subsequent tightening of those standards. I am sure there are many other examples of disruptions.

My point here is that disruption is nothing new. Probably since the inception of trucking there have been challenges and disruptions. Yet, somehow, we managed to adapt to them and go about the business of delivering goods. There have been blips but, for the most part, trucking has weathered a lot of change.

I think the fleets that have weathered the storms the best are those that stick to their plans. They have set replacement cycles for their assets, and they tend to stick to those schedules. I’m not saying they are rigid and don’t react to changing market conditions. What I am saying is they don’t go around yelling that the sky is falling every time they are faced with disruption.

They review their asset replacement schedules once a quarter and make minor adjustments that put them in the best position to continue to operate efficiently and profitably. They may trade some assets sooner than planned or keep some a little longer. What they don’t do is totally throw out the plan that has them turning over assets at a set pace quarter after quarter and year after year.

It is sort of the “slow but steady wins the race” philosophy of trucking. These fleets don’t ignore disruptions; they embrace them. These are likely the forward-looking fleets that already have ordered electric trucks so they can test them out in their operations. At the same time, they have not abandoned their plans to purchase new diesel-powered units to replace their existing assets. They understand that disruptions can be managed by keeping a level head and not abandoning their plans.

Trucking may be faced with a host of disruptions currently, but if fleets stick to their plans they should be able to ride out any that come their way.

At Corcentric, we stand ready to help any fleet bridge that gap.  To learn how we can help, contact Corcentric today.