FreightWaves Live 2021 Wrap Up - Future of Freight

June 3, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic taught us that technology is key to survival, growth, and collaboration. Discover what the future of freight holds for us, based on our learnings from the May 2021 Virtual FreightWaves Live event.

This year’s FreightWaves Virtual event focused on the future of freight, and on everything we learned throughout the pandemic. The two-day virtual event featured keynote presentations, fireside chats, rapid-fire demos, and networking sessions, all accessible from the comfort of our homes. For those of you who didn’t have a chance to attend, we wanted to provide a quick overview of what the future of freight looks like from this side of the highway.

The COVID-19 Pandemic taught us, a lot

We all know this, it was impossible not to learn something throughout the pandemic, but it’s important to document just how much the transportation industry took from this experience. For starters, all of us in the freight space learned that to survive, one must be nimble, flexible, adaptable, and resourceful. We were thrown into the water with a cinder block attached to the hip, no life vest, and no shore in sight, and yet we still managed to swim to the top. We did this by redirecting inventories, identifying priorities, and overriding IT supply proposals. We maximized production by making use of all spare capacity, and localized sourcing and production to reduce travel times. Others, like L’Oreal, repurposed their production lines to create hand sanitizer instead of their typical offering. The future of freight depends on our ability to adapt to tough circumstances so that the supply chain can survive the most arduous of circumstances.

The pandemic truly demonstrated to the general public just how important it is to have a robust, well-managed, and reliable supply chain; something that most people often take for granted. It showed us what our weakest link in the supply chain was—outdated technology, ineffective communication practices, unreliable vendors, lackadaisical planning—so that we could eliminate them and move forward. More importantly, it taught us the importance of partnership and technology, two features this industry has been lacking for quite some time.

The future of freight starts with collaboration

One common theme throughout the virtual event was the idea of partnership and collaboration, a message we’ve been pushing since our inception. We know that technology provides us with a new operating model, bridging the gap between logistics and execution, making true collaboration possible. We’ve said this countless times, the idea of collaboration isn’t a new one, but it’s one that’s been hard to get off the ground, until now. The pandemic showed the industry how vital partnerships are in helping organizations adapt, respond, and pivot during a global emergency. Relationships matter, and with the right technology—like SemiCab—partnerships can be used to solve customer problems seamlessly.

The future of freight lies in technology

Keynote speaker, Shelley Simpson from J.B. Hunt and Redwood Logistics CEO, Mark Yaeger both stated that the adoption of technology was key in not only surviving but thriving throughout the pandemic and beyond. Yaeger believes that being forced to work from home and employ digital technologies went a long way in reducing the amount of technology aversion the industry has faced in the past.

Embracing new technology has enabled the transportation community to:

●      Gain access to a variety of different offerings it may not have had access to before, like dock scheduling, better visibility into the marketplace, and driver location notifications.

●      Use data to make better-informed procurement decisions.

●      Solve customer problems

●      Combat the labor shortages we continue to see in the industry, whether it be through the development of more reliable autonomous vehicles or expediting loading and unloading through the use of robotic technology.

●      Facilitate relationship-building, an essential component of collaboration.

Technology will also be key in helping the industry work together to reach a top goal for many companies: sustainability. Companies at the top of their industries are prioritizing sustainability and making pledges to reduce or eliminate their carbon footprints. At the start of this year, Apple announced it is modifying executive bonuses based on environmental values in 2021. Microsoft also recently took major action and pledged to become a carbon-negative company within 10 years. For startups and enterprise leaders alike, the time to stop talking about sustainability and doing something has arrived!

Given that the transportation sector is the largest contributor to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change, we have a massive opportunity to be the change. SemiCab is committed to leading the charge. That’s why we’ve created a freight marketplace where everyone, including the environment, wins. We offer a cloud-based Collaborative Transportation Platform built to achieve the scalability required to predict and optimize millions of loads and hundreds of thousands of trucks, utilizing backhaul loads to eliminate empty miles.

For more information on what the virtual FreightWaves Live event covered, check out the event site. In the meantime, if you’re ready to join the SemiCab network, sign up with us today, or reach out for a demo— we’re looking forward to partnering with you.

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