Canadian Shipper


Transplace Shipper Symposium wraps with discussion of key challenges, solutions for shippers

DALLAS, Tex.–Transplace wrapped up its 13th annual Shipper Symposium in Dallas last week. General Motors Chairman Tim Solso and other leading supply chain and business visionaries addressed current transportation and economic issues, including the impact of regulatory changes on truckload capacity, and the role of emerging technologies, such as 3-D printing, drones and driverless trucks, in the supply chain.

“The Shipper Symposium brings together leading industry experts to address the latest trends and issues impacting the global supply chain, and share strategies for successfully navigating challenges and driving operational excellence,” said George Abernathy, president and chief commercial officer, Transplace.

“This year’s event featured an accomplished group of speakers who shared deep insights with our customers and partners to help them gain a greater understanding of the ever-changing industrial and economic landscape and apply new knowledge to their businesses,” he said.

A highlight of the event was a discussion of the capacity crunch.

Transplace CEO Tom Sanderson and BB&T Capital Markets Managing Director Thom Albrecht examined the state of truckload capacity and the impact of recent regulatory changes. According to Sanderson, “In the first part of 2015 there have been some isolated capacity issues, but we see capacity demand in far greater balance.”

He went on to discuss how capacity challenges were exacerbated by the reduction in driver productivity resulting from changes to the hours-of-service regulation.

“The general rule of the thumb was that the changes to the hours-of service would cost the industry between three percent and five percent, but different segments of the industry were impacted differently.”

Thom Albrecht explained that many carriers – from the largest fleets in the country to small operations – experienced a five percent to eight percent impact to their miles per truck per week, but were too embarrassed to report that figure.

A panel of experts examined how 3-D printing, drones and driverless trucks will change the future of the supply chain industry. During the session, Brent Hankins, lead electrical engineer for the Advanced Concepts group at Peterbilt Motors, addressed the development of autonomous vehicles and their impact on the trucking industry. He noted that, “Drivers are already becoming comfortable with the adaptive cruise systems and advanced safety systems we’re putting in trucks, so it will be a natural progression. Once we get more to [a level] where the driver can start disengaging from the steering wheel and move his attention to something else, he may handle more of the logistics and be in charge of finding his next load or contacting the people he’s delivering to. There’s certainly always going to be someone in the driver’s seat, but it just probably won’t look like it does today.”

General Motors Chairman Tim Solso discussed leadership principles and how the best leaders influence and inspire a successful business culture that allows team members to think innovatively and become peak performers. Solso shared his belief that the single biggest cost reduction opportunity for companies is the cost of material and how it’s moved through the supply chain.

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