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In the quest for competitive differentiation, we are beginning to see more and companies highlighting the merits of their supply chain. While this tactic may not be ground-breaking in itself, the difference we’re now experiencing is that companies are exposing their supply chains directly to their customers, with capabilities that are intended to benefit the customer as opposed to just themselves.
Rail freight, which offers a key service to the construction industry, has seen an upsurge in rail borne demand for aggregates and cement. Construction traffic increased by 17% during the year 2013/14 and continued to grow this year with a 9% increase over the previous year for the first quarter of 2014.
The combination of falling oil prices and economic recovery has created more positive conditions for the haulage industry than we have seen for almost a decade. After years of continually rising fuel costs reducing profit margins to the limit, at last hauliers – and their customers – have some good news.
You wouldn’t think a saying from a fictional pirate would have much relevance in the real world, but sadly the quote attributed to Captain Jack Sparrow: “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem,” sums up one of the biggest challenges facing today’s supply chain: an inflexible mindset.
The driver shortage is critical, it’s not getting any better, and it is not so difficult to see why. It’s not about the money. Good rates are being offered across the industry, but I believe the problem is more closely related to the way drivers are regarded and treated.