The idea of all or nothing has its appeal. It’s a chance to get everything out of your system in one go. We might drink more than our recommended daily units in one night, but hey, that’s OK, because we’ll be booze free for the next three days (48 hours at least).
But this all-or-nothing approach to life doesn’t always deliver. And if that’s the case in our personal lives, the same is true in the business world, too.
Take the idea that every vehicle on the road is zero emissions. It’s a worthy goal, for sure. However, it seems to be overlooking one crucial fact: the technology needed to achieve this zero-emissions world is either not yet ready or not appropriate for immediate adoption by the market as a whole.
Another example can be seen in the push for automated vehicles. For many in the trucking industry, the debate about the future of autonomous truck technology is already over. It’s a done deal and automation is going to increase truck utilisation to levels never before imagined.
However, before we get too carried away, first the technology needs to get to a point where it is safe and roadworthy. And let’s not forget the not-so-small matter of convincing other road users that this is a good idea. Good luck with that one…
Offering a vision of what the future holds is important – as long as that vision doesn’t overlook realities such as production capacity, technology immaturity and capital investment cost recovery.
When new technology is introduced to any industry, there is bound to be a transition period. In trucking, this transition may last for several decades as fleet owners and drivers adapt to the new technology and processes
Taking an all-or-nothing approach to change can hinder the conversations needed to ensure fleets are able to find solutions to real-world challenges at the same time as promoting business growth and profitability.
Admitting that change takes time does not mean the principles driving that change are compromised. Instead, it shows that advocates understand the market and that things simply don’t happen overnight.
Clearly, change is facilitated when clear goals are set – and sometimes those goals need to be aggressive in nature, but recognising that market realities will help fleets be part of the conversation. Rather than creating a them-and-us situation, advocates of change must form alliances within the industry, partnering with the people who buy, operate and maintain those assets and are at the frontline of dealing with the consequences sweeping change will bring.
All-or-nothing change is not a reality, but cleaner air, more efficient vehicles and greater industry productivity are goals everyone can work towards.
No one can escape the fact that change is coming to trucking, but something’s got to give. Whatever that ‘something’ is, let’s hope it’s not at the expense of the drivers.