Insights & News

Yes, One Day There Will be Driverless Trucks. Here’s What That Means for Your Supply Chain Today.

Posted On January 15, 2018

This past November, Tesla debuted a fully electric truck capable of hauling 80,000 pounds and traveling 500 miles between charges. However, it wasn’t just the fact that the truck was electric that made the vehicle so groundbreaking. Though it still required a driver, the vehicle was equipped with the second generation of Tesla’s Enhanced Autopilot technology, moving the trucking industry one step closer toward its inevitable future:

Driverless trucks.

Of course, that future isn’t tomorrow. Driverless technology has not yet been perfected, there will be inevitable legal and regulatory hurdles, and the nation’s 3 million truck drivers will likely have something to say about being replaced by computers and GPS systems. Still, with a shortage of drivers being a constant issue in the trucking industry, that future will happen. Fully automated trucks will change the entire transportation sector and have a massive impact on your supply chain. How should your company and your shipping department plan for that future?

Trying to envision the future—let alone plan for it—is difficult, if not completely impossible. Your shipping department is often just trying to keep up with the demands of today. That’s why so many shipping departments are still using antiquated technology, processes, or procedures. Asking most shipping managers and shipping departments to keep an eye on the technology of tomorrow and anticipate how it might impact your company is sort of like asking someone who’s trying not to drown to start thinking about what they want to make for dinner once they reach the shore. In other words, there’s a more pressing problem to be solved. The future can wait. But no matter how long you wait, the future eventually arrives.

At the Flat World family of companies, we understand that your business isn’t focused on the transportation sector and how it will change in the coming years. Though you depend on your supply chain, you aren’t a supply chain company. Your business is manufacturing, selling, and distributing the products your customers want. Instead, it’s our job to understand both the present and future of your supply chain. We help you maximize efficiency and increase visibility today, while keeping our eye toward the future of transportation management. It’s what we do.

Our leadership team has decades of experience in supply chain management, freight forwarding, custom crating, hospitality project management, and transportation-oriented information technology. We remember people saying that one day, trade agreements and technology would shift a significant amount of manufacturing to China. That day came. We also remember people saying that one day we would have the Internet in our pocket and could purchase almost anything we wanted online. That day came, too.

Eventually the future happens.

Driverless technology and other changes that seem far away now will impact your supply chain sooner than you think.When you partner with us, we’ll keep our eye on that future—while still helping you make the most of today.