If you attended the High Point Furniture Logistics Symposium last week then you already know the big topic that was on everyone's mind was trucking. As an industry, the supply chain for furniture tends to far reaching but the focus in the room was clearly not on the potential for new tariffs in the market, consolidation in ocean carriers or rising costs of raw materials and labor. Although these topics were mentioned briefly they were just a footnote compared to managing trucking in a very difficult domestic market. Here are a few key takeaways from whole day of panel discussions by manufactures, retailers and truckers.
ELD Mandates - The new ELD mandate is really just a new way to ensure compliance to laws that have been in place for a long time now. The market is just feeling the real impact of full compliance now, but that full impact is a harsh reality. In a market where drivers were already short the pain is just multiplied. This is especially true for furniture that relies heavily on speciality furniture carriers. The risk of using common carriers is too great because of the risk for damage so they are confined to an even smaller pool of drivers.
Collaboration - There needs to be more collaboration. Drivers simply can no longer afford to wait to be unloaded. It is not just an inconvenience anymore, it has a direct impact on the drivers ability to make money because long wait times force them to shut down the trucks to rest. They simply can't drive the miles that that they used to drive if they are waiting to unload. The industry needs more collaboration so that when drivers arrive they can be unloaded quickly. If not that drayman won't be able to make that extra turn they are used to making or get to all their stops for the day. EDI may be part of the answer but the industry is very slow to adapt this technology.
Be a shipper/destination of choice - ELD mandates, driver shortages and industry collaboration are hard things to control but one thing you can control is how drivers are treated. Unloading quickly and providing drivers facilities, snacks, Etc. when they arrive at your door goes a long way and can make you a shipper/destination of choice. Even something as simple as making sure drivers are not waiting a long time for your to sign paperwork can be a big deal. In this market it is critical to look inside your own operation and help yourself.
Arranging thousands of container deliveries, Laufer helps our furniture customers deal with these challenges every day. We would love to talk to you more about how Laufer is built different and the solutions we can provide for you. Stop by our booth at the Las Vegas Furniture Market: HFA Retailer Resource Center B1050 Booth #28.
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