Do you remember “The Skeleton Dance” song? It starts with the lyrics “the foot bone’s connected to the leg bone; the leg bone’s connected to the knee bone” and so on up the skeleton. In a way, it’s a great analogy for a supply chain. Every link in the chain connects to another link. And an issue in one link can affect all the other links.
If we continue the analogy, trucking might be the backbone of your supply chain. The U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics estimates that 70% of all freight moves by truck.
By extension, you could say that any interruption in trucking might affect 70% of the freight you receive and ship. Of course, if all your inbound and outbound freight travels by truck, there will be a much larger gap in your supply chain.
For your warehousing, which is another important link in the chain, one that receives and dispatches trucks daily, disruptions in trucking can trigger serious disruptions in warehouse operations.
The Truck Driver Shortage
We first mentioned the truck driver shortage on the PiVAL blog back in 2018. And it’s only worsened since then, primarily due to the pandemic.
First, with more disposable income from staying home, consumer demand for goods shipped by truck has skyrocketed over the last couple of years. And that has added even more pressure on the chronic shortage of drivers. Also, an ageing driver demographic, which suffered as much as any profession from labour shortages related to COVID, and early retirements, don’t help.
In 2019, the American Trucking Association estimated that 60,000 drivers would be needed to eliminate the shortage. Since then, it’s estimated that the number will increase to over 160,000 drivers in the next decade.
How the Driver Shortage Affects Warehousing
Warehouses store goods. The goods might be raw materials, parts or finished goods, but, without drivers for the trucks that bring the goods, a warehouse might sit partially or entirely empty. Then, when a solution is found to at least temporarily restore receiving, the warehouse can experience a sudden rush of incoming freight.
On the shipping docks of the warehouse, it can get very quiet when not so many goods go out. And, similar to receiving, there may be a sudden rush of shipping traffic.
Almost every point we touched on in the previous two paragraphs can be very costly to your company. Empty warehouses aren’t just empty spaces. They could also mean idle labour. Spikes in receiving and shipping can increase lost and damaged goods and less efficiency in storing and retrieving the goods.
How 3PL Warehousing Solves Your Warehousing Problems
When you choose third-party logistics (3PL) warehousing, you immediately minimize the warehousing headaches the truck driver shortage might cause. A reputable, full-service 3PL company like PiVAL has scalable warehousing space in key locations. They also have the systems, including inventory management, warehouse management, dock scheduling and barcoding, to ensure the most efficient and cost-effective handling of your goods.
Finally, they will act as your partner. The one who takes responsibility for the fastest, most efficient movement and storage of goods – so you don’t have to.
To learn more about the advantages of 3PL warehousing, check out our post “3 Ways to Gain Warehousing Advantages in Uncertain Markets“.