Digital disruption and trucking

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We all know the trucking business is going to be changed significantly due to the rising tide of digital advances sweeping not only the freight markets but the business world as a whole – with electronic logging devices (ELDs) and the Internet of Things (IoT) but two examples.

Yet just how ready are companies – much less motor carriers – prepared to handle with the “digital disruption” such change will bring to their operations?

Not very much, if a new report from global consulting firm Accenture is any guide.

In Thriving on Disruption, a report compiled by the Accenture Institute for High Performance based on a poll of 561 chief strategy officers (CSOs) across 10 industries in 11 countries, “digital disruption” is predicted to “reshape industry” even though “very few” of those executives admit their companies are equipped to navigate such change.

In fact, the firm’s survey found that while 93% percent agree that new technologies will rapidly change their industry in the next five years, only 20% of the CSOs polled said they are “well prepared” for sudden industry disruption, noted said Paul Nunes, managing director for Accenture’s institute.

“Rapid and disruptive change is coming, regardless of the industry that you operate in,” he stressed. “[The] current economic outlook suggests that based on the declining lifespan of companies 75% of today’s leading industry players will be gone within the next decade.”

Nunes emphasized, however, that Accenture’s research shows that although some companies aren’t ready for such “disruption” they can “borrow from the playbook” of those who are by ensuring they don’t face it alone and make strategic investments in technology platforms that support more collaborative operating models.

Almost all of the best-prepared CSOs (95%) pointed out that their company growth agendas over the next five years rely on collaborative partnerships and that they actively use this strategy to support innovation and research and development, as compared to only half of those who admit they are less prepared.

Therefore, to Nunes it is “not surprising” that the companies that are “disruption-ready” are also 34% more likely than those less prepared to partner with advertising agencies, innovation companies (26% more likely), design service providers (24% more likely) and even customers (26% more likely).

They are also 36% more likely to collaborate with companies beyond their “traditional industry boundaries,” he added, with 32% more likely to align with companies they consider direct competitors – stressing that this “collaboration gap” has only increased in the past five years.

“As digital disruption breaks down the walls of established industries, it’s time for companies to rethink their approach to business strategy,” pointed out Peter Lacy, managing director for Accenture Strategy, in the report.

“In order to successfully navigate industry convergence and strengthen their network of alliances to build truly collaborative operating models, they must shift their mindset to compete as a ‘cluster,’ not as a single company, creating shared value for their alliance partners and customers,” he said.

Lacy also noted that those companies that achieve the greatest benefits are far more likely than their peers to build operating models that are collaborative and open.

“They embed collaboration into their culture through incentives, and revise their internal processes and technologies to make external collaboration ever more seamless,” he explained. “[Such] companies are successful because they capitalize on the innovation of an entire ecosystem versus only leveraging resources within a company.”

Something to think about as the trucking environment is poised to only get more and more competitive down the road.

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