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2020 Vision, Part II: Industry Insiders Weigh in On What’s Next

In January 2020, we began to detail what some transportation experts see on the horizon.

This follow up post continues on this theme and features movers, shakers and experts, each of whom will weigh in on what’s trending and what is waiting in the wings for us. These conversations are all centered around a single question: In transportation, what will have the most impact in 2020 & beyond?


Claude Pumilia
President and CEO, DAT

The freight transportation and logistics industry is approaching a technology crossroads, an intersection where computer science and data science are converging. Promising a higher level of sophistication, and with companies across the market making large investments in technology and software engineering, data will be used to make freight hauling operations more efficient and productive.

One example of those capabilities is already apparent in the growing use of data to enable SUPPLY CHAIN VISIBILITY. Driven by the expectations of shippers and consumers, trucking companies can provide information on exactly where loads are located and when they will be delivered.

Even more frictionless freight hauling operations will result from the application by carriers and shippers of cutting-edge software, and AI and machine learning technologies. Those tools have exceptional value by enabling a holistic view that leads to more effective use of capacity, more productive operations and the ability to lower costs and improve profitability.

The ability to more effectively use data across entire transactions and supply chains will also allow enterprise platforms to manage transportation and logistics business practices more efficiently and effectively. For example, better use of balanced rate and profit data will lead to predictive pricing and intelligent freight matching capabilities based not only on historical rates, but driven as well by advanced algorithms and calculations.

The future of transportation and logistics operations is being written by organizations that embrace technology, and think more broadly about the effective application of data and how it can positively impact the freight ecosystem for many years.


 Wayne Brown
Vice President of Information Technology, Maverick Transportation, LLC

DATA continues to be the new currency. Companies that have the tools in place to consume it and take action on it will be the leaders and effect the most change in the industry.

Data points will continue to grow exponentially from partially autonomous trucks, vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure data, cameras, truck safety systems, and data harvested from the driver.

Over the next two years, the implementation of 5G wireless networks will greatly expand our ability to accumulate more data and additionally will provide better information and processes to the drivers in the cab.

Having data is not enough, though. Companies will need to commit to taking action on what the data tells them by aggregating it and mining it, and by committing resources to data science and partnering with companies and software that possess the ability to process it, interpret it, understand it, communicate and visualize it. Most importantly, we have to be able to translate the knowledge gained into solutions.

Trucking really is different from simple logistics models. Safety, maintenance, training, utilization and optimization are important, but the human element is often overlooked by the software, data and analytics we build.

There is a tremendous opportunity to make the driving job a better one using our data for predictive and prescriptive analytics. We can assist the driver with route planning, by building a better workflow, and by predicting bottlenecks in the network to make them safer and to give them tools to manage their day in a more effective way.


John P. Michell
VP of Operations Strategy, Daseke, Inc.

Ten years ago, you had a mechanical truck and a spreadsheet. You were a cyclops in the land of the blind. Now you have a computer on wheels and there is so much DATA, but a generation
of people continue to run their businesses with gut emotions and feelings.


Today, you have data you can start with to make decisions. For example, General Electric has a new business unit, GE Digital. When an industrial company does that it’s saying that ‘Data is the new oil—let us help you mine it.’

At Daeske, the largest flatbed and specialized transportation and logistics company in North America, we have more pricing data than anyone else. It’s a gold vein underneath the ground.
How do we tap it?

For all companies, technology is a big risk on the one hand because if you don’t use it and embrace it your competition will. Technology is also a huge opportunity. Everybody works for someone else these days and you always have to be able to justify your decisions using data. For instance, we recently had the opportunity to go to a shipper and say, ‘Here’s how much of your business we are doing, here is when we are showing up, here is our safety record, and more.’ We have that information and smaller carriers may not. Eventually you’ll either be someone who has the ability to talk to a shipper that way or you are going to work for someone who does. That’s where our industry is going.


John Esparza
President & CEO, Texas Trucking Association

Texas, unfortunately, finds itself with a rash of nuclear verdicts plaguing the industry that will have a serious effect on transportation’s future. TORT REFORM is the name of this game. The cure lies within the same scope of reform and support that the medical community sought during the late ‘90s and early 2000s amid similar attacks from plaintiffs’ attorneys on highly specialized medical professionals. Fast forward 20 years and those same plaintiffs’ attorneys, driven from the medical communities, have found a home attacking the trucking industry.


While the trucking industry had its first real victory in the area of tort reform during the 86th Texas Legislative Session, the need for reform doesn’t stop there. Last week, yet another insurance provider made a decision to no longer write casualty for commercial motor carriers in Texas. Choices are diminishing. It is up to the individual states to elicit change in order for the defense attorneys to level the playing field and end egregious settlements based on grossly inflated costs that only exist in reality in our judicial system. Attorneys exploiting a system which awards fraudulent and inflated prices only supports a house of cards whose outcome is inevitably predictable.

Unfortunately, frivolous lawsuits are not going away soon enough. If we are not successful in the years to come in creating equity in our courtrooms in these cases, all other challenges for trucking will take a back seat.


Ellen Voie
President & CEO, Women In Trucking Association

The biggest disruptor I see in transportation is the 3D PRINTER. Instead of shipping a part or item to a customer, the supplier will send the blueprint to the customer’s printer and the transportation of the product is eliminated. Imagine how this will also affect the expediting industry, as much of their service is based on getting the item to the receiver as quickly as possible.


On a different level, I also believe the trucking industry will become more sensitive to the needs of drivers so they can attract and retain good talent. This means a change in how we recruit, the words we use in our ads, and even where the ads are placed. We need to create a more diverse driver workforce. The majority of drivers are white males in their 50s, and this needs to change. If we don’t make the effort to attract women, millennials, and other groups, we’ll find it even harder to fill those truck cabs with safe, productive and happy drivers.

The one thing I see gaining traction in 2020 is the increase in female drivers, technicians, managers and directors. We’re holding this industry accountable in moving toward a more diverse workforce. Every large company out there started with a man and a truck and we are changing that. We’re helping women get training through our scholarship foundation and we‘re helping women become truck and fleet owners through our partnership with Expediter Services (ES).

Interested in learning more about what is on the horizon?
Stay tuned for further insights in future posts as we hear from additional industry experts on what to expect in the years to come.