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Transportation Industry Outlook and Trends Part 2: Q&A with Trimble’s Mike Hamill

As we move into 2024, we’re looking at how data-driven innovation will be front and center in the transportation industry, and how the freight market might turn to improve profitability across the supply chain. In this second part of a year-end interview (find the first part here), Mike Hamill, Transportation & Logistics sector vice president of strategy, shares his insights on more trends that are making a big impact right now and poised to shape the future of transportation. 

Where is the industry in terms of sustainability practices and making meaningful change?

The tip of the spear for sustainability is with shippers. They are acting as leading adopters within the industry’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives and setting the tone and pace to help create more sustainability within the supply chain. Industry participants are following suit, especially carriers, and want to be good stewards of our environment, reduce empty miles and help create resiliency in the supply chain to assure products are available on store shelves.

We’re already seeing networks redesigned to mitigate out of stock items and reduce lead times. An example of this is warehousing products closer to end consumers to expedite delivery.

Making alternative fuels available and economically viable is also important. Regulations must coincide with the industry’s current state allowing carriers to help determine feasibility and timelines. We can't cripple the trucking industry with regulations that are too far ahead of the industry’s capabilities. Government and key industry leaders must work together to make reasonable, thoughtful regulations that can be executed on, therefore helping create a logical, productive and economically viable path for the industry. 

Work is also happening to make diesel engines more fuel efficient. In the 1980s, diesel engines were far less fuel efficient in terms of miles per gallon and emissions produced than today, but with the evolution of electric vehicles, liquid natural gas and hydrogen, there are several opportunities to improve.

What value is the Trimble Transportation Cloud bringing to the market?

We're a product company moving to become a platform company through the Trimble Transportation Cloud. All of our new innovation is cloud native and our customers continue to migrate to the cloud. This approach will help increase efficiency between industry cloud participants to deliver productivity and automation, real-time insights and collaboration to participants across the industry. Trimble Transportation Cloud allows Trimble the ability to pass our own information, our own workflows and connect our products with third-party products, and as it evolves, will open the door to a pathway for the entire transportation industry.

Trimble Transportation Cloud offers neutrality, which means we are even partnering with some of our biggest competitors in order to create better outcomes for our mutual customers. The value of our industry cloud has been validated by our customers and is leading to continuous improvement and positive change within Trimble and the industry. 

We’re offering a “one plus one equals three” value proposition when it comes to Trimble Transportation Cloud, offering our own products with partner data and product integrations, creating greater interoperability across the industry. This approach also allows us to evolve our go-to-market strategy and improve our customer journey. 

I believe in the Trimble Transportation Cloud strategy and was excited about the strategy even before joining Trimble. When previously working within freight brokerage, I understood the value of data being accessible in one place,  the ability to connect to an industry ecosystem and having a single source of truth. Having connectivity to enable industry participants to move data between parties efficiently through integrations and the ability to connect with partners and vendors, and augment workflow. This approach adds value to our customers by providing solutions for long standing industry pain points. 

Fraud in the transportation industry has become a major issue. What is being done to mitigate it?

Yes, fraud has a multi-billion dollar impact on the transportation industry which increases costs for all industry participants and even impacts end consumers. Inventory replacement costs for shippers and insurance costs for carriers are just two examples. The industry is seeing a wider range of fraud and instances of it in many areas and levels – whether you’re a shipper, broker or carrier within the industry  – you’re susceptible and should be vigilant to protect yourself. 

As a director’s circle member of the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) and a member of its Fraud Task Force, I’m committed to helping the industry rebuild trust and validity amongst industry participants. The Task Force is working to create a fraud framework to help industry participants protect themselves, create curriculum and standards for fraud prevention training, provide resources and best practices, sharing of fraud data, and working with authorities to help combat the alarming rise of fraud within the industry.

I am passionate about this topic and truly committed to making a difference for the safety, security and betterment of our industry!

In case you missed it, be sure to check out part one of this interview!

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