For years we have been experiencing supply chain issues. Much of it is a result of Covid and the challenges brought on by the pandemic. Now that we are on the other side of the pandemic, there are still issues getting goods from suppliers to consumers.
Nick Lowe has been driving truck locally for over 20 years, mostly for agricultural businesses. Driving locally means that he rarely goes out of state and only delivers in the lower half of the state. A significant reason for this is based off of competition and customer base.
One of the biggest changes Lowe has experienced is the technology in the trucks. “They’re going for environmental impact, less of a carbon footprint – that all comes at a cost,” said Lowe. These changes have increased the prices of trucks and the maintenance required for them.
The biggest challenges Lowe sees include the driver shortage and inventory shortages. Both of those combined result in delays and unhappy customers which can sometimes lead to losing those customers. Lowe says his company tries to cater on customer service, but that isn’t always enough.
Lowe shares that, “We do still have a lot of those loyal customers, but also you see a lot of the big customers we have outsourcing….it comes down to cost and availability for a lot of our customers and sometimes they got to make the decision to not go with us.”
When asked if there is a light at the end of the tunnel, Lowe said it is hard to say. Much of that will depend on the economy. One way he believes the industry can overcome driver shortages and increased costs is to improve efficiencies. That include filling up trucks more to make each trip count. That would require customers to adjust their expectations of invest more in storage facilities.