A whirlwind of events currently impacting the automotive industry have caused a shortage of vehicle inventory, numerous delays to the supply chain and tight carrier capacity.
A longstanding driver shortage has only been further exacerbated by a workforce that is quickly aging out. In fact, the majority of drivers are now over 45 years of age, and many are choosing to retire or even switch jobs due to stressors from the COVID-19 pandemic. While the trucking industry is actively trying to recruit younger drivers to fill the labor gap, current federal regulations make this difficult since drivers cannot obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) until the age of 21. However, there is some hope in the industry that the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will loosen some of these regulations and allow younger drivers to start entering the workforce via apprenticeships.
On top of the already existent labor challenges, COVID-19 hit the trucking industry especially hard starting in early 2020. Ultimately, the virus slowed down commerce, caused businesses to operate under limited hours or shut down completely for periods of time, and a number of colliding social and economic factors further impacted the workforce. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, during the height of the pandemic, the trucking industry lost 6% of its labor force. Now, despite the economy shifting back into gear, the labor power still hasn’t reappeared to pre-COVID numbers.
Adding to further complications in the industry, Cox Automotive recently reported that new car inventories were down 63% at the end of September 2021 YoY due to a number of factors, including a global shortage of critical vehicle parts like semiconductor chips, foam and tire rubber. This has caused a spike in used-vehicle prices, as automotive retailers have been forced to source inventory from wherever they can, including used vehicles from auction sites, other retailers or even directly from consumers. Many of these retailers are sending carriers to more locations, more frequently and sometimes at much further distances to collect these units. These multiple and often longer trips add to the already-high carrier and freight rates at the moment – with many companies hiking up wages to help them retain drivers. In fact, the average weekly earnings for long-distance drivers have increased by about 21% since the start of 2019 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Many OEMs, retailers and others are now left wondering how they can get around these various challenges, keep up with consumer demand and move inventory fast and efficiently. The team at ACERTUS has outlined three ways to outsmart the current carrier-capacity crunch and better prepare for the moment when an inventory wave finally hits.
Utilize Technology for Business Intelligence & Data Science
There are a number of different tools that can help businesses work through the current capacity challenges – these include technology, business intelligence, data insights and even system integration. Technology and business intelligence can play a critical role in tackling logistical challenges, as well as in improving speed, transparency and capacity. Data can help inform important business decisions, provide key performance indicators to measure performance and, ultimately, help establish the most optimized rates. In addition to this, Application Programming Interface (API) connections can provide seamless connectivity to automate business processes. All of these tools are critical for companies hoping to navigate the current carrier-capacity constraints and keep their operations moving.
ACERTUS uses data-based insights, API connections and proprietary technology to improve the finished vehicle supply chain for its customers, carriers, drivers and employees. ACERTUS’s proprietary platform, VINlocity, instantly connects auto shippers to the widest carrier capacity in North America. This easy-to-use technology provides visibility into every aspect of the journey — from quotes, orders and status updates to spend and claims, VINlocity relieves many of the hurdles that inhibit efficient transportation. VINlocity Carrier, ACERTUS’ proprietary electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) application, optimizes the supply chain by eliminating paper and providing a platform for carriers to share critical shipping information. Carriers can quickly and efficiently send status updates, condition reports and photos without any need for paperwork. This system feeds critical data and information to shippers, so they can better plan for and anticipate vehicle arrivals.
Through API connections, ACERTUS provides its auto partners’ software and operating systems. This provides ACERTUS’ customers with easy access and ensures they can quickly and efficiently place order entries while on their own company-wide system, and it allows the ACERTUS team to plug into a business’s site, communicating and conducting operations on behalf of that business. This API integration also gives auto players more visibility into the vehicle-logistics process, from the very first order entry to the final delivery.
Additionally, ACERTUS’ automated load-dispatching technology, Book Now, instantly matches freight to available capacity. With Book Now, shippers spend less time waiting for their loads to be assigned and carriers can move much faster with less down time.
Ultimately, with tech-based solutions, auto shippers can better manage the current capacity crunch and be well-positioned to manage the pending inventory surge when new vehicle production ramps back up.
Innovate & Find Pathways for More Efficiency
Improving logistics doesn’t just come down to technology – it’s also about identifying operational efficiencies wherever possible. To do this, auto players often have to look at their full journey, from start to end, to better understand where they can improve speed and cost.
ACERTUS transforms the traditional approach to automotive logistics by blending technology, people, experience and infrastructure to create an intelligent approach to logistics. ACERTUS’ technology platform provides visibility into every aspect of the customer’s journey, and its carrier fleet provides reliable and flexible capacity. ACERTUS partners also gain access to unmatched infrastructure for storage, repairs and reconditioning, title, registration and compliance, overseeing every detail or potential complication.
Currently, ACERTUS is adapting its technology, building out an omnichannel marketplace to further leverage its vertically integrated strategy. With team members mining through and analyzing data, ACERTUS can continue to create process, product and pricing optimizations for its customers – as well as design and develop machine learning and predictive AI algorithms, helping to drive automation and seamless, personalized experiences.
In an industry overwhelmed by small, single-service and siloed providers, ACERTUS stands out for being able to offer full-service integration. Its team can ensure vehicles will deliver safely, on time, clean, titled and registered and, if needed, repaired. This allows for a single, cohesive service that can move vehicles anywhere and at any time.
Partner with a Well-Positioned Logistics Provider
One of the most critical pathways for outsmarting the current carrier-capacity crunch, is to partner with an expert vehicle-logistics provider. With this type of partnership, OEMs, retailers and other auto players can gain the tech solutions, well-positioned infrastructure, service options and innovative logistics they need to keep their operations moving smoothly.
The ACERTUS team is closely monitoring current supply-chain and carrier-capacity challenges, watching out for all possible opportunities to help its customers move faster and more efficiently despite the ongoing capacity constraints.
Whether the current capacity challenges drag on, the challenges eventually subside or new disruptions arise, ACERTUS is ready to offer partnership to navigate the road ahead.
Learn more about ACERTUS’ full range of transport and vehicle-logistics services at https://acertusdelivers.com. To connect with one of our team members or receive a pricing quote, contact us here or call us at this phone number: 855-ACERTUS (855-223-7887).