3 min read

How To Use Safety as a Competitive Advantage in the Trucking Industry

 

For new trucking companies trying to make their way, it can be a little bit of the wild west in regards to support and mentorship. With so little barrier to entry, and a growing number of new companies on the road, the conversation surrounding safety needs to start now. 

We speak with Jon Stanley, Managing Partner at Synergy-Solutions, about structural problems that can lead to unsafe conditions and how to correct this. 

Join us as we discuss:

  • The fundamental structure problem 
  • How long-established companies can survive in the marketplace
  • How to grow your business w/ safety in mind

“We have to build a culture in the industry that's centered on dependability and reliability and the safety programs that we've worked hard to develop.” - Jon Stanley

 

The fundamental structure problem 

There’s no debate: We need to keep everyone safe on the road. But that’s not always the easiest thing to do when education isn’t a top priority for new companies. Without adequate support and mentorship, these truckers are driving blind into an industry already saturated with equally uneducated drivers. 

In today’s market, Jon explains that there’s approximately 1.9 million carriers in the trucking industry — and of those carriers, 97% are 20 trucks or less. While anyone can start up a DOT number, more should be required:

  • Industry experience
  • Truck driving experience
  • Trucking company management experience 
  • Safety experience 

Imagine a new airline company that doesn’t take the proper safety precautions to ensure their planes and pilots are prepared for flights? It’d be hard to find a willing participant to buy a ticket. So why expect anything less for a trucking company that will be present on the road with thousands of civilian drivers? It’s a blindspot in the trucking industry that has gone on long enough. 

“We have these unsafe companies that exist because it's a cutthroat process that exists in the industry.”

— Jon Stanley

 

How long-established companies can survive in the marketplace

The trouble doesn’t stop with safety concerns. For the well-established companies, their ability to stay afloat is being threatened. Those same new trucking companies all need the same thing — to generate revenue. 

“I'm going to undercut as many people as I possibly can because I need the loads; I've got to generate revenue for those trucks,” Jon hypothetically explains. 

As more and more newer companies accept lower rates, it damages more reputable companies’ ability to request higher rates due to better equipment and money to pay their driving staff. 

 

Changing the emphasis

If we don’t want to kill off the remaining established trucking companies, priorities have to shift towards dependability and reliability. According to Jon, if a shipper doesn’t pay attention to who they’re sending their loads with, they might find themselves wrapped up in a lawsuit if that new trucking company makes a major mistake.  

So, as an established company trying to justify rates to a shipper, lead with your good CSA scores, solid hiring practices, and training programs while encouraging others to do so as well. 

“If you're coming into the industry as a new company, build your safety program now.

— Jon Stanley

 

How to grow your business w/ safety in mind

Smaller trucking companies aren’t going away — in an already understaffed industry, shippers will continue to use the resources at their disposal entirely out of need. But beyond established companies standing firm on their rates, it’s time to give the newer companies some mentorship. 

Training means safety, but also longevity as these companies learn how to maintain profit. Otherwise, we’ll continue to lose big and small trucking companies alike. 

"Compliance is the floor of a safety program. That's the bare minimum, it's the basics. If I don't have the basics in place, I'm certainly not doing anything to prevent accidents.” - Jon Stanley

 

A key takeaway

Small trucking businesses are a necessity to the industry. But with such a large portion of the workforce being uneducated in terms of safety and profitability, a fundamental structure problem is created. 

Shippers must continue to support established companies while smaller companies must be supported with mentorship to provide safe roadways and profitability for the long term. 


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