Any conversation regarding the labor shortage in the trucking industry tends to gravitate towards the driver shortage. In conversations with owners and operations managers, the need for skilled labor is much more involved. Along with the less than glamorous truck driving career is the supporting rolls of diesel mechanic and miscellaneous support staff functions such as forklift maintenance and facilities management. For those who have never spent much time in a warehouse or dock area, it’s a dirty environment wreaking of propane. If the lure of the currently handsome salary of a trucking career won't attract young talent, the opportunity of support staff is a greater challenge.
So, here is yet another challenge for the facilities management staff. Keeping the assets in safe and operational readiness. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says fewer workers are entering vocational education programs as Baby Boomers age and retire. When it comes to diesel service technicians and mechanics, the Bureau reports, the field is projected to grow by 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. The BLS also said 67,000 technicians will be needed to replace retired workers, and 75,000 new mechanics must be added to meet additional demand by 2022. For many years, there’s been a societal push that stresses "without a college degree, you won’t have a career." Jennifer Maher, CEO at TechForce Foundation, an organization that raises youth awareness around technician careers, agreed that it’s an issue even for students who are interested in the trades.
Next-Gen Truck Maintenance
The industry shortage of diesel mechanics and nearly dry bowl of prospective recruits begs the obvious question. Who will service the existing fleet of commercial trucks not to mention the next- gen commercial vehicles? The transition should be interesting to say the least. There is no interest in the old technology but maybe some saving grace in the new. Still, the idea of young men and women getting their hands dirty for a living doesn't seem appealing to today's young career seekers. The maintenance of the fleet of these vehicles has morphed from turning a wrench on a single vehicle to tuning fleets online.
Technology Will Not Slow Down
"As the mechanics and technicians for the trucking industry, we can’t either,” explained Tom Wiers, chief executive officer of Wiers Fleet Partners. “We are up to the challenge and know the trucking industry will be forever evolving and our mechanics, technicians and drivers will always have a role in developing the entire trucking world. The advanced technology will also require specialized services and technicians who will be required to have an advanced knowledge revolving around autonomous tech.”
Moreover, there will continue to be a need for maintenance and service from teams like Wiers Fleet Partners as this technology advances. Items like tire blowouts, oil changes, drivetrain issues and more will still need to be addressed routinely. Additionally, these teams will have to embrace the change in technology and acquire new knowledge as autonomous truck fleets become a reality
Align Yourself With Asset Providers Who Have Done the Proper Vetting
The shackles of doing business in the trucking business in today's environment are challenging. Indeed, only the strong will survive in the coming years. The trucking industry is an intensively capital-intensive market in which to compete. Aligning your company with some established industry professionals ins a critical strategy in times of tight capacity and fluctuating pricing. It's times like these to look for the counsel of the logistic professionals from Land Link Traffic Services. We'd love to meet with you.