Driving business forward in the face of change and uncertainty (with video)

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The only certain thing about the market is that it changes. Regardless of the state of the market, however, there are certainties and uncertainties that should be acknowledged within the transportation and logistics industry.

FreightWaves Lead Economist Anthony Smith and Erich Fischer, Principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP, recently sat down to discuss several factors — both certain and uncertain — affecting the present and future of the transportation industry.

Certainties and uncertainties discussed include:

  • Increased technology investment.
  • A focus on cost structure.
  • Increased M&A activity.
  • A repositioning in the way public companies are valued by shifting business models.

Fischer described certainties as factors that must be addressed in some manner — including evolving customer expectations and inevitable technological upgrades. Companies must respond to these factors, but managers are tasked with deciding when and how to address them.

Uncertainties, on the other hand, are changeable factors with unpredictable end points — including things like brand trust and industry restructuring. Leaders must decide how important these things are to their companies and whether to address these issues at all. If they do decide to take action, the path forward can be less defined.

“This is a really interesting time for the sector,” Fischer said. “There is an opportunity for companies to fundamentally reshape how the sector operates given how much technology and analytics are advancing right now, given the M&A landscape, and given the opportunities to restructure cost through variabilization, electrification and autonomy.”

Companies that react deftly to both certainties and uncertainties are the most likely to thrive in a changing landscape. There are opportunities on the horizon surrounding restructuring, new business models, competitive analytics and autonomous technology, according to Fischer.

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