We are now in a new world, everyone is talking about the ‘new normal’, we don’t know how long this crisis is going to last, a few weeks, months or years and at the end of it all, can you remember the good old days?
The whole world is looking down the barrel of an unknown future. This Covid-19 pandemic is feeling like a life changing event. There is little or no certainty in any of our lives, we are disorientated and also panicking.
The panic takes different forms in different sectors of society. The general uneasiness on the part of the public drives them to rush out to the supermarket and buy toilet rolls (clearly some kind of deep-seated animal instinct) and some other, a little more logical, goods, like hand sanitiser.
This induces a panic in the supermarkets themselves who are struggling to keep the full shelves their customers have come to expect. This expectation comes with no thought to how all of those bountiful goodies come to be on the shelves, they just appear like magic over night.
The number of deliveries required by the supermarkets from the DCs increases and the number of trucks required each day goes up. A few here and there is easy enough to cope with, but every customer needing more deliveries and more trucks in the supply chain means the panic is passed on to the trucking industry.
Panic? What panic? Running a trucking operation often feels like flat out panic at the best of times, so perhaps the trucking industry is well placed to cope while all around are losing their sanity.
If there is one skill which has been developed and nurtured in all of the best trucking operations it is the ability to seamlessly solve a problem when it crops up. The freight still gets to the customer and their processes are not disrupted, because the trucking operator has processes to come up with a solution after just about any kind of mishap.
We are also good at getting onto the the phone and getting them down off the ceiling and calming them to the point where they will accept a late delivery or a substitute load. The trucking industry feels like it is in a panic at the best of times, because we are good at alleviating it in others.
The problem now is prolonged panic. Not just a day when two trucks break down and one gets a blow out 100km from the nearest town and no spare, then a trailer is not where it is supposed to be. This has been weeks like this, with a prospect that there are many more weeks like this to come.
There will come a time when we will be looking back and remembering the old days, when diesel was $1.50 a litre, customers let payments run out well past 90 days and the authorities seemed hell bent on booking trucks for next to nothing, just for something to do. Bring back the old days, please.