Supply chain veteran Bryan Nella believes the time has come to look beyond the limited scope of our immediate lanes and needs and see the potential value across the wider trucking and transportation network. Fact is, when no miles are empty miles, everybody wins! Bryan recently joined SemiCab as Director of Account Management to evangelize the power of network thinking and help shippers, carriers, drivers, end-customers, and the environment realize value through collaboration.
Here’s what he has to say about the industry, its challenges, and how SemiCab will improve the future of long-haul trucking.
Q: What opportunities do you see in the long-haul trucking space?
A: One of the biggest opportunities for change and growth is in our ability to look up beyond the limited scope of our immediate lanes and needs and see the potential value across the wider trucking and transportation network. For years we’ve operated with a focus on executing single-leg moves that resulted in empty backhaul miles and excess costs. Taking a step back and looking at an entire ecosystem of shippers and carriers, and overlaying these individual networks, lends a unique opportunity to re-write how transportation is planned and executed.
If I have a load moving from Charlotte to Dallas, there is capacity available for another shipper in that destination market, but without a solution like SemiCab, that opportunity can’t be realized. With a solution like SemiCab, all parties are operating in the same network and there’s visibility into planned moves. The platform can apply machine learning to optimize routes across shippers and make updates as conditions change to optimize performance, eliminate empty miles, and ensure acceptance and on-time pick-up and delivery. It’s a game-changer.
Q: What are the top three challenges the industry faces?
A: It’s a challenging market - always has been and always will be. But right now, I think the biggest challenges are:
- Volatile conditions beyond our control (fuel prices, port bottlenecks, COVID, etc.)
- Management by spreadsheet
- An overemphasis on point-to-point cost-cutting
Q: How do you see SemiCab solving these challenges?
A: A digital freight consortium allows transportation to be data-driven, intelligent, and beneficial to all parties - shippers, carriers, drivers, and end-customers - plus the environment via lower emissions. Too often we have a knee-jerk reaction to market conditions or challenges and we focus on the most tangible problem in front of us, usually resulting in a quick fix to a lane or carrier.
The SemiCab approach looks at the big picture and observes all of the nodes and lanes across shippers and carriers and from there applies logic and simulation to uncover deeper value that can impact multiple players. When no miles are empty miles, everybody wins. We apply this consortium methodology to long-haul transportation, dedicated fleets, and private fleets. As a result, we’re able to provide 99% acceptance rates, an 8-10% reduction in transportation costs, greater on-time pick-up and delivery performance, and a vast reduction in empty miles.
Q: What do you believe is affecting industry growth?
A: Driver shortages have long been a challenge. And more recently, rising fuel costs are impacting some of the smaller carriers. Macroeconomic factors are altering consumer spending, making trade more volatile and uncertain. These are mostly outside-in factors that we have limited control over.
But there are issues within our control such as how the industry operates, plans, and executes. Is it shipper versus carrier in a battle of low costs? Or do we decide that there’s plenty of room for everyone to benefit if we can all get on the same page and holistically address challenges related to capacity misalignment, unreliable performances, sub-par acceptance rates, and drivers sitting idle for hours at a time?
Q: What led you to join SemiCab?
A: SemiCab brings to life a couple of emerging trends in commerce. One is servitization, where customers pay for a particular service to be available as needed, instead of purchasing physical equipment or assets. This is built upon reliability to the extent that they know that the service will always be there. That reliability - where you set-it-and-forget-it - has not been available in transportation before. There are too many moving parts and issues that come up that technology hasn’t been able to manage. This is where SemiCab can really change the game. We haven’t solved every day-to-day problem, but the network of carriers combined with the collaborative nature of the platform really brings the servitization vision within reach for the trucking space.
The other innovation that SemiCab brings to the table is the power of network thinking. Examining data across multiple shippers and carriers, and applying machine learning to find unseen patterns of value and efficiency that multiply across parties, is a big differentiator.
Q: How does your background complement SemiCab's mission?
A: The parallels between my prior work experience and SemiCab’s mission include:
- Finding new ways to deliver sustainable value to customers and their trading partners
- Evangelizing for a better, more efficient way of planning and executing the movement of goods
- Helping bring to life network-thinking that harnesses data and intelligence from multiple business ecosystems, to benefit an entire industry
Q: What will be your first tasks as Director of Account Management?
A: I’m here to make sure our customers are satisfied and continue to entrust their business to us. As such, I’m focused on:
- Understanding the baseline and status of each of our strategic accounts
- Assessing where there’s additional value to be obtained for each customer
- Engaging in dialog to pursue initiatives to improve delivery performance, acceptance, customer service and overall transparency into the movement of loads
I’m truly excited to be a part of the team and the mission!
To chat further with Bryan, connect with him on LinkedIn.