Challenges for national transport companies in Spain

We are already fully into 2019. And, as always, the beginning of the year has been filled with wish lists. Purposes and commitments to motivate us for the upcoming course. In our case, as our passion is logistics, our thoughts for 2019 are focused on the challenges and pending tasks that national transport companies have ahead of them.

Challenges of national transport companies
Coping with technological disruption

In recent times, the business world in general, and logistics in particular, has been practically overwhelmed by the simultaneous arrival of many technologies, all of them promising El Dorado to those who embrace them. We are talking about advances such as Big Data, the Internet of Things and the Blockchain.

The potential of these tools is undeniable. However, going for them without analyzing their use and their implementation on a case-by-case basis is a shortcut to disaster. National transport companies must examine what they can obtain from these technologies, how they respond to the current needs of their customers -or how they could provide new responses or services, even if they have not yet been explicitly requested-, what cost is their implementation, assess whether the workforce has the necessary training for its use and what are the terms and returns on investment that we expect.

Change of image of the sector

Traditionally, the public image of the logistics and transport sector has been that of an unattractive place to be or work. It is easy to resort to clichés about truckers or transport companies, and even within the sector itself it is easy to find people who continue to disregard the importance of the image that is projected abroad.

Fortunately, more and more voices are calling for the need to change this perception that is held from the outside. In our case, we are very proud to be part of the Palibex network, one of the national transport companies that is doing the most to change this situation. Among some of these initiatives are the presence in fashion shows and the use of street art on trucks. Things that seemed unthinkable but that show that logistics can be perceived in a very different way.

Shortage of professionals

According to the latest annual report from the job portal Infojobs, vacancies in purchasing, logistics and warehouses registered on its website have doubled in just one year: 2017 closed with 173,607 offers, 91,743 more than 2016, compared to 16,902 vacancies in 2013. in full crisis.

According to what Neus Margalló, head of studies at Infojobs, told El Mundo, the image problem was also behind this problem: “We still associate warehouse workers, forklift drivers with the logistics sector… but more and more other types of profiles are being sought more specialized”, points out Margalló, such as supply chain technicians, stock management, systems analysts, traffic managers, heads of distribution platforms…”.

But that does not mean that only professionals are missing in these new profiles. The more traditional positions are also being difficult to fill for national transport companies. El Independiente recently stated that “15,000 truckers are missing” on our roads. The physical demands and the amount of time away from home make positions such as warehouse clerks or drivers more difficult to fill.

The last mile improvement

Some studies estimate that up to 53% of the total cost of transport corresponds to the last mile, despite the fact that this represents a proportionally much smaller part in relation to the kilometers traveled. This is due to the difficulties of the last mile: absence of recipients once the destination has been reached, which is often carried out on urban routes -which are more prone to traffic jams-, etc.

The constant rise of ecommerce is also increasing the pressure on this point. There are more shipments to deliver, the recipient increasingly requires more speed or demands more particularities -such as delivery time slots- and there are certain companies that do not allow e-commerce deliveries to their employees in the workplace.

To alleviate this situation, in the cases of e-commerce, options such as alternative delivery points are being developed: smart ticket offices, collection points at public points (especially stores), etc. In the case of palletized merchandise, national transport companies are seeking greater collaboration and understanding with governments and municipalities. While the trend is towards a greater restriction of vehicles in urban areas, these deliveries -necessary for the operation of cities- demand greater flexibility in schedules, delivery places or areas reserved for loading and unloading.

Environmental care

National transport companies -and those of the whole world- have a great responsibility when it comes to taking care of the planet in which we live and move. The sum of energy consumption for the transport of goods and people accounted for 42% of total energy expenditure in Spain in 2015. This figure is 9% higher than the European average, so Spanish companies must do their homework in this section.

The situation is repeated if we talk about greenhouse gases. According to the National Emissions Inventory, during 2014 and 2015 the participation of freight and passenger transport in these emissions corresponded to 28.7% of the total, while the European Union average is 25.3%.

The world of transportation has at its disposal various tools to achieve improvements in these numbers. Among them are the improvement in the layout of routes thanks to the help of technology, the renewal of fleets giving way to more ecological vehicles, the arrival of new vehicles (such as mega-trailers, which are more efficient in consumption but which in turn pose other challenges such as the preparation of roads and the creation of routes to take advantage of them), etc.

These are just some of the main challenges for national transport companies for the year that we have launched. However, we can see how technology and training are going to be a common feature in all of them. The companies that make the best use of these tools will be one step ahead.

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Khaterine William

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