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How to Plan Around Labor Shortages in Logistics

Labor shortages in logistics can have global consequences, with companies and consumers feeling the brunt of these issues locally. While certain aspects of labor shortages can be mitigated at a company level, others require greater industry-wide changes to have an effect. As a result, dealing with labor shortages requires a multifaceted approach.

Planning around labor shortages is vital to mitigate their impact on the supply chain. Understanding the reasons behind labor shortages and exploring the right strategies is key to overcoming worker shortages in logistics. Below, we explore the main causes of the labor shortage in logistics and how a third-party logistics (3PL) partner can be the ideal solution.

Causes of Labor Shortages in Logistics

The reasons behind labor shortages are different for every industry. In logistics, the most noticeable factors include the following:

  • An aging workforce: Demographic trends are one of the largest factors influencing labor shortages in the United States. The aging workforce is highly noticeable in skilled labor positions, especially in warehousing and transportation. As these older workers begin to retire, labor shortages increase — and open roles may not be filled as quickly as expected due to skills gaps.
  • Evolving technology: Automating various sectors across the supply chain has led to more job openings. Companies need human operators for every automated task — but there is a significant lack of qualified operators filling these positions. Because of this, productivity across the supply chain has dropped, which further adds to delays caused by worker shortages.
  • Skills gap: Evolving technology has caused a domino effect in labor shortages. Today, companies need workers with expertise in technology and skilled labor. There is a surplus of jobs requiring these intersecting skills, but a definite skills gap means many of these positions remain unfilled.
  • Job stability and higher pay: Understandably, skilled people are seeking positions that offer job security and higher wages, but it can be difficult for manufacturers to offer these benefits to potential employees, as business owners themselves struggle to source raw materials and guarantee a set amount of work.
  • Lack of diversity: Unfortunately, some sectors like transportation, are heavily skewed demographically. For example, women only made up 4.8% of 1.37 million truck drivers in 2021. This number continues to increase steadily, but certain stigmas about logistics work may continue to prevent certain individuals from entering the field.

Labor Shortage Challenges

The effects of the logistics industry worker shortage reach far and wide. Labor shortages affect businesses, consumers, and entire industries in different ways:

  • Business owners: Business owners may experience a decrease in productivity and quality of work as existing staff become burnt out. For the same reason, companies may deal with high turnover rates, exacerbating the issue. In transportation and warehousing, workplace accidents can also become more frequent as staff are overworked. As a result, businesses may not meet customer demands and risk their reputation, perhaps the greatest challenge of worker shortages.
  • Industry: Industries at large are affected by labor shortages. Worker shortages can lead to price hikes and empty shelves. All industries are affected by worker shortages, including food and beverage, construction, and health care.
  • Consumers: Labor shortages can severely affect customer service, and there are several challenges consumers face as a result. Challenges include long wait times, unanswered queries, unmet expectations, wrong orders being fulfilled, orders not being fulfilled, and a generally poor customer experience.

Is There a Truck Driver Shortage in the United States?

One of the most significant labor shortages affecting the logistics industry is a lack of truck drivers. It’s estimated that the United States needs tens of thousands more truck drivers than it currently has to keep up with freight demand. By 2030, that number is expected to rise to 160,000, signifying a major issue that many logistics companies are facing today. Between a lack of qualified drivers, older drivers retiring and drivers exiting the industry for other work, the driver shortage affects logistics in different capacities, and businesses need to address many causes of the issue.

How to Plan for the Shortage of CDL Drivers in the Logistics Industry

One of the areas where sectors, business owners and consumers all feel the impact of labor shortages is in food and beverage, particularly in how truck driver shortages affect the industry. Truck drivers are the link between farmers, warehouses and retailers. Delays in deliverables from farmers to businesses directly impact consumers, so it is evident that truck drivers are a crucial part of the food and beverage supply chain.

If your business relies on perishable goods, you cannot afford to be affected by a shortage of professionals with commercial driver’s licenses (CDL). In this case, 3PL support is an effective solution.

What Trucking Solutions Are Needed for Perishable Goods?

3PLs allow you to outsource the transportation services you need so that you can focus time and resources by not having to manage this element of your business in-house. When you partner with a reliable 3PL, you can enjoy a range of benefits that ensure your perishables are stored and delivered efficiently.

  • Temperature-controlled trucks: 3PLs can offer temperature-controlled trailers that are essential for transporting perishable goods, especially over long distances.
  • Real-time monitoring and route optimization: Integrating technology into trucking has become standard practice. This allows businesses to monitor their deliveries in real-time. It also enables companies to optimize routes and ensures fewer delays and quicker deliveries of perishable goods.
  • Driver training: Continued driver training is crucial both for driver safety and the safe delivery of goods. When drivers are properly trained and equipped, they have the skills and resources to adjust their trips when they face challenges like schedule changes and delays.
  • Dedicated fleets: 3PLs provide effective solutions because they have dedicated fleets. Time management is a top priority when working with perishable goods, and 3PLs have the resources to meet time-sensitive targets. Working with a qualified 3PL means you have access to well-maintained and cared-for trucks to get your products from point A to point B.

Collaborate With Keller Logistics for Your 3PL Logistics Needs

By collaborating with a reliable 3PL, you can keep your business operating in the midst of labor challenges. Outsourcing your transportation and warehousing needs is a strategic business solution that drives growth and maintains your reliability with your customers, even when there are worker shortages.

At Keller Logistics Group, we have over 40 years of experience in trucking and are committed to providing dedicated trucking, warehousing and co-packing solutions under the umbrella of a single 3PL. Contact our team today to learn more about our logistics services and request an obligation-free quote.

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