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Truck 2030: Digitally reinventing for the long haul

By IBM Team

February 26, 2021

Truck industry leaders are using digital reinvention to drive future success.

As Bob Dylan so eloquently put it, “The times they are a-changin’.” For the truck industry, this couldn’t be any truer.

What previously was a very singular, manual, labor-intensive process of picking up and delivering a package has been replaced by truck companies implementing logistic processes called capacity-as-a-service, crowdsourced delivery, truck platooning, optimized predictive maintenance, driver/truck/road-specific routing, smart cargo, automated driver assist, and the list goes on and on. And this doesn’t even include the transformation that is happening with powertrain and emissions through the electrification of the vehicle.

Thanks to digital technologies such as cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), advanced analytics, and machine learning, these and many other truck capabilities and mobility services are available today or are expected to be readily available by 2030.

64% of truck executives say their organization’s future success depends on digital reinvention.

For the next 10 years, technology advancements and customer expectations are the top truck industry influencers. The availability to tap into a global workforce with the right skills at the right time is also consistently top of mind.

Sustainability requirements are driving the need for green powertrains. Also, green goods transportation concepts integrated into increased virtual shopping experiences are having a direct impact on the truck industry. And new concepts in goods mobility being introduced by non-traditional, outside competition will likely impact current and future revenue streams.

The truck company of the future

Regardless of how quickly the future materializes, one thing is certain—digital technologies, coupled with data, are creating entirely new ways to foster seamless touchpoints with customers, enabling new mobility services for fleet managers and drivers, and uncovering unimaginable opportunities for truck organizations.

The truck company of the future will be different than those of the past. But there are serious questions truck executives need to answer. How can a truck organization reinvent itself like a high-tech company that centers its business on digital and data? What role will truck companies play in goods mobility beyond their traditional role of simply moving freight? How will truck companies attract, retain, and continuously reskill their workforce to deliver on the promises of the future?

Truck companies will likely spend $118 billion to continuously reskill employees by 2030.

To answer these and many more questions, the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) conducted the Truck 2030 Executive Survey of executives from companies that include commercial vehicle manufacturers and ancillary manufacturers (bodies, trailers, engines, utilities, and the like). Included in this survey were 1,320 executives from 1,188 companies.

Visionaries focus on digital reinvention

Within this group of executives, we identified a subset called the Visionaries. These executives have a strong understanding of their business and digital strategies, and their companies have performed better than their peers in revenue growth and profitability over the past 3 years (2017-2019). This group demonstrates a higher level of understanding and need for the digital reinvention of their organizations compared to the rest of the survey population we call the Others.

$465 billion of annual revenue will likely shift from sales to services by 2030.

64% of all respondents surveyed say that digital reinvention is required to succeed—or even survive—today and in the future. The Visionaries, like the Others, are early in their digital reinvention journeys, with both groups saying they are about 36% complete. But what sets the Visionaries apart is their sense of urgency and readiness. 53% more of the Visionaries have a high degree of urgency compared to the Others. And 112% more believe their organizations are ready to digitally reinvent their enterprises.

For the Visionaries, the time is now—for the Others, it’s time to catch up. Read the full report to learn how innovation will transform the truck industry over the next decade.

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