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The Future of Supply Chain

Here’s a look at the challenges and opportunities facing specialized trucking in the time of COVID-19.

Since the early days of COVID-19, the supply chain has become a popular topic of conversation. With so much change and disruption, it’s not entirely clear what changes are permanent versus temporary. Currently, our industry faces a handful of unique challenges. We’d like to take a moment to focus on what’s being impacted in the world of trucking and logistics, especially as it relates to specialized. 

While the majority of supply chain conversations center around automation and artificial intelligence, automation is not a natural fit for specialized logistics. By nature, specialized trucking involves never-ending variables.

With countless moving parts, there is a need for a more customized, case-by-case approach. Unlike dry van shipping, which can be much more formulaic, specialized marches to the beat of a different drum. 

Here’s a look at the challenges and opportunities facing specialized trucking in the time of COVID-19.

Specialized Freight Challenges

Flatbed double drop hauling heavy machinery equipment

Global Impact

Commodities tied to the world market have been experiencing supply chain interruptions for much of 2020. As the spread of COVID-19 grew overseas, the global supply chain felt the effects. And when Europe shut down, the import and export of specialized commodities took a huge blow. And with fewer and fewer ships moving freight, there’s been an increase in demand for airplane shipments. 

Qualified Carriers

Pre-pandemic, sourcing qualified carriers required less legwork. The focus was on finding individuals who had the equipment, skills, and schedule to take on specialized shipments. Now, additional regulations and safety protocols require additional verification. 

Drivers need personal protective equipment, like facemasks, for delivering. Sure, these precautions need to be planned and prepared for alongside every shipment. But even more importantly, there needs to be enough of these items to go around.

Opportunities for Innovation

Expanding Offerings

Uncertain times call for adaptability. As smaller shipping companies struggle to maintain staff or remain open, we’re stepping in to fill these gaps in the supply chain. These efforts have required us to seek advice to ensure we’re doing things as they need to be done and holding the proper insurances.  

With shifts amid the global market, there is high demand in some areas and lower demand others. Prior to 2020, we did provide occasional logistics service for dry van shipping, and our services for standard and domestic shipments have expanded. Rising to meet growing demands pushes us to expand in areas typically outside of our scope. 

By widening our services and adjusting to the changing market, we are growing in unexpected ways. We expect to come out of this even stronger and more versatile than we were going in. 

Building Partnerships

With so much happening and new information coming out every day, it’s up to us to listen and respond in the best ways we know-how, so we can be there for our clients. The number of suppliers is changing, the available options are changing. There are projections for what the supply chain of the future may look like, but in reality, nobody knows for certain. But what we do know is that partnerships and relationships matter now more than ever.

Partnerships are built over time, and they are built on trust. During times of trouble, we rely on partnerships to help us through. How we work with our customers is no different. 

We focus on helping our customers look great in front of their clients. Our commitment to communication ensures they have the information they need to turn around and explain vital information to their clients.

When customers need consultation and education, we step in to provide them with what they need. They don’t have to have a background in trucking or logistics to work with us. We’re right there by their side, ready to bridge any gaps. 

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The supply chain and logistics industry certainly aren't immune to the current COVID-19 crisis. Here's how Ascent Specialized is reacting and recommitting.