Chris Ronzio (02:04):
Hey everyone and welcome back to Organized Chaos. I'm your host, Chris Ronzio, and today with me, we have a special member of our Process People community and his name is Adam Wingfield. What's up, Adam?
Adam Wingfield (02:14):
Hey, what's up, Chris? How you doing?
Chris Ronzio (02:16):
I am great. I'm looking forward to this conversation.
Chris Ronzio (02:19):
So this is another one of our roundtable discussions where we put together a topic or a couple topics and just kind of shoot the breeze about that topic. And so today's topic is going to be all about the current state of the trucking industry, where you are an expert. So if someone's listening in here, they can learn a lot about the trucking industry, right?
Adam Wingfield (02:38):
That's absolutely correct. Been in it for a long time and I'm willing to share everything I can.
Chris Ronzio (02:43):
Okay. So we're going to talk about specifically building systems for small carriers, handling compliance issues, all the types of things that they might deal with. But since you are the expert in this industry, I'll let you take the lead on some of these points. I think there's going to be some useful tactics as part of the conversation and how it applies to any small business, so I'll try to keep pulling those out as we talk.
Chris Ronzio (03:04):
Kicking things off, what should people know I guess about the industry?
The State Of The Trucking Industry
Adam Wingfield (03:08):
The one thing about the trucking industry, the one thing most importantly that I want to make sure people know is that it's been around forever since the beginning of time. And the one thing that I do love about the industry is the industry is a true indicator of the economic patterns within the industry. Since 1972, just in the last 40 years, we've seen 12 bumps up and down within the trucking industry and where the trucking industry goes is typically where the economy goes as well.
Adam Wingfield (03:36):
I think that one of the things that really stood out within the pandemic is we realized how important the trucking industry was to America, how it really fueled the economy and how it kept the America moving, when times got kind of tough. So just showing people how important the industry is and really want to bring it to the forefront. So people truly understand that the trucking industry without it, we were pretty better much as a standstill at this point.
Chris Ronzio (03:58):
It's kind of the lifeblood of the consumerism in America, right? It's like everything that gets delivered has to go on a truck at some point.
Adam Wingfield (04:07):
Absolutely. Chris, there's no room that you can sit in that doesn't have anything in that room that has been brought to you by a truck, whether it's the chemicals that were made to design the microphones, whether it was the fabrics in the chairs that you're sitting in, whether it was the wood in your desk, trucks bring everything. Without trucks, America stops.
Chris Ronzio (04:25):
So I want everybody listening to the podcast right now, if you're in your office, look around. If you're in the car, look around. If you're out for a run, look around. Notice all the products, the headphones that you're wearing, the desk that you're sitting at, the couch next to you, all of the things that were delivered on a truck at some point, or even in B2B spaces, they were delivered to a factory in order to be assembled and for you to pick it up.
Chris Ronzio (04:51):
So trucking is, like I said, it's like the lifeblood of how things get to us as consumers in a lot of ways. Before we get into the specifics of the industry and what you do as a consultant in this industry, how did you get into this? Why trucking for you?
Adam Wingfield (05:05):
Man, it's been something that's been in my blood since I was 11 years old. I drove my first tractor trailer at 11 years old. I'm from a really small town in South Carolina. It's Alcolu, South Carolina. It's a very small town in Clarendon County.
Adam Wingfield (05:17):
I was introduced to it by my uncle and I've always had a love for it. But once I turned 21 years old, I was in college, and at that point I was at kind of as a standstill of really what I wanted to do. I wanted to chase my passion. I went to school for computer engineering. So I love computers at that point, but it really wasn't the thing that really fueled me.
Adam Wingfield (05:36):
So I got my CDL at 21 years old and started driving a truck at that point. And then as I progressed, started buying trucks. But then one of the things I really noticed when I got out there, Chris, was there was a lack of just business acumen.
Adam Wingfield (05:48):
I saw so many folks that were suffering, so many folks that were just kind of just frustrated with processes and things like that. That really you saw companies go out of business. And the small guy, I saw how we represented. So it really got into my mind that I wanted to create a space where we were going to educate and provide consultancy to folks and really to be the voice of the small carrier.
Chris Ronzio (06:08):
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, as a little kid, even my own kids right now, I've got a four year old and all he wants is trucks for his birthday. It pushes him around. So there's some appeal to us as kids. I remember the CB radios when I was a little kid, going on the highway, trying to get everyone to talk.
Adam Wingfield (06:26):
[inaudible 00:06:26] Yeah, I know.
Chris Ronzio (06:29):
There's this like innate love, I think, that we all have for these big things. So you got into it, you made a career out of it, but you noticed that there is a business need or there's a lack of business acumen.
Small vs. Large Trucking Carriers
Chris Ronzio (06:41):
Now, when I'm driving around, I see a handful of big company logos out on the roads, but there's a ton of small carriers, right? What's the makeup of big versus small carriers?
Adam Wingfield (06:55):
It's funny you say that. So when you think about trucking, you think about FedEx, you think about UPS, you think about J.B. Hunt, you think about Schneider, you think about Swift, because they're mega carriers. So you see they're branding and you see them all over the place.
Adam Wingfield (07:08):
But the funny thing about it is that, and true indeed enough, there's about 900,000 companies out in the trucking space right now that have less than 10 trucks. There are 651,000 that have less than two trucks. And there are only about 2,300 companies that have more than a hundred trucks. So as you can see, the trucking industry is dominated by the smaller carrier.
Adam Wingfield (07:33):
But they don't have the resources, they don't have the systems, they don't have the processes that the mega carriers are able to invest and able to deploy and that's where you see the 80% failure rate. So, let me part right there.
Adam Wingfield (07:49):
There is an 80% failure rate for companies that get started in the trucking industry in the first two years. So out of all of the 1.6 million companies that I pointed out to you, 80% of them are likely to fail over the first two years.
Adam Wingfield (08:02):
There's a variety of reasons why they fail. So compliance is one reason and then you got profitability as another reason. When you think about compliance, a lot of those compliance is just the repetitive, hey, A plus B equals C, and that stuff's all processes.
Adam Wingfield (08:18):
So that's something that when you talk statistically, statistically, that's what we struggle in the trucking industry. The trucking industry is truly driven by the small guy, but we just don't have enough of those really clear cut processes and systems to help facilitate those small guys from operating the way within efficiencies as they should.
Chris Ronzio (08:37):
So if 80% of these companies are failing in the first year, you said first year, first two years, something like that?
Adam Wingfield (08:43):
First two years.
Chris Ronzio (08:44):
First two years. Are as many companies being created today as there were five years ago, ten years ago? Is it still a vibrant startup industry?
Adam Wingfield (08:53):
It's funny that you say that because just since July of 2020, 170,000 new carriers were started. So every month since the pandemic started, it's been a trend of 10,000 carriers a month. And when I say carrier, I mean company. So let me make sure that I make the right parallel to that. But 10,000 new businesses start up every single month. And if you do the math 8,000 of them probably won't be around two years later. So it's a never ending turnover cycle. It's unreal.
Chris Ronzio (09:28):
So what's the dynamic between the big companies and the small companies? Are those big brands that you mentioned buying up small companies and there's a consolidation happening, or is it real competitive between the two?
Adam Wingfield (09:39):
It's not even competitive because when I think about, so there's two different markets, you got a spot market, which is kind of like the extra market, the stuff that kind of flows out, and then you got the contract market. Most of the larger companies, they operate on contracts. They've got contracts that they've facilitated.
Adam Wingfield (09:55):
You've got, just for instance, FedEx has got Nestle contracts. And then what FedEx is not able to fulfill, the small carrier comes in and it kind of, I don't want to say pick up the scraps, but they pick up what they're not able to facilitate. It's a ton of freight.
Adam Wingfield (10:09):
Now there's a ton of freight out there on the spot side of it. But most of that stuff on the mega carrier, which we call large carriers, the mega carrier. Mega carrier facilitates most of the large contract freight.
Adam Wingfield (10:21):
They don't exist on an extra market. They kind of like the market, like, okay, this is what we have left over. So the spot market is like the leftover market with the mega carriers are not able to facilitate.
Chris Ronzio (10:32):
Got it. Okay. So you've got the mega carriers that probably take a lot of the... Is there a difference between like the long hauls versus in-state kind of deliveries or is there any distinctions there or what type of jobs are taken?
Adam Wingfield (10:47):
Not necessarily because a lot of that stuff is facilitated by the customer. The customer's got their end customer. So that really doesn't kind of play a part, the actual distance doesn't play a part. The thing that plays most of the part is what's available when the mega carrier says, hey, you know what? I don't have available trucks to facilitate this particular shipment. I'm going to have to pass because I'm already contracted out. So when they pass on it, that goes down to what we call the spot market. That's when a small carrier comes up and they pick it up on a spot market.
Chris Ronzio (11:16):
Okay. Got it. So can you walk us through just the economics or the business model of trucking so that people that aren't in this industry understand how they make money?
Adam Wingfield (11:24):
Yeah, sure. So what happens is you go out, and I'm going to make it in a really small little bundle, you go out, you buy a truck, right? So a lot of times you're going to end up spending anywhere between 50 to a 100 thousand dollars on a used truck. You purchase that truck, you get your driver set up, you get all your licensing in place, you get everything that you need in terms of regulations in place, and you put the truck on an open market.
Adam Wingfield (11:47):
Typically on a tractor trailer, you're going to see anywhere between 5,000 to 10,000 dollars in gross per week. But the net profits are anywhere between 5% to 20 to 35% depending and contingent upon how that operator or that company owner manages and operates their business. So it's a wide gap in margins.
Adam Wingfield (12:09):
The one thing that's known in the trucking industry, I don't want to say it's known, but the one caveat is that the trucking industry has tight margins, especially on the spot side. Operational efficiency is super critical. You have to be operationally efficient, and you have to be obsessed with processes and profitability to ensure that you're going to be ahead of that curve.
Chris Ronzio (12:34):
And it sounds like from how many businesses fail, that's not the specialty of the industry, right?
Adam Wingfield (12:39):
It's not because there's a lack of information, Chris. I mean, I'll be honest with you. It's a lack of the... When I look at the roadmap, the beacon, the blueprint, there's the lack of that blueprint. There's really no system in place to kind of point people in the right direction from the very, very beginning. So what happens is most folks make the mistakes in the beginning, and you make a mistake in a truck purchase it's going to cost you 30, 40, 50 thousand dollars plus.
Adam Wingfield (13:04):
And folks that get into this business, they're ambitious. They just want to be successful. I love entrepreneurship. They want to be entrepreneurs, but they may not have the savvy that's necessary and they end up failing because they don't have those things already set up and aligned in place.
Compliance Issues Are A Lack Of Systems
Chris Ronzio (13:19):
All right, so let's go through some of these major issues that you've pointed out. And I think the first one you mentioned was the compliance issue, right?
Adam Wingfield (13:27):
Yeah. So think about this. So if I put you on an airplane with me, we're sitting on the airplane and the PA announcement goes on and a pilot say, hey, this is Adam. I'm your pilot today. We haven't had a safety inspection yet, but no worries. Everything's going to be all good. Here we're going to head out the California together. Trust me, everything's fine. Hey, would you want to fly with me on that particular airplane?
Chris Ronzio (13:50):
Adam Wingfield (13:51):
Well, no. Because you don't have that confidence. A lot of times, and one of the things is even on a compliance side within the trucking industry, the new entry safety audit, which is a federal related audit. So when you compare the trucking industry to the airline industry, it's almost the exact same. They're both regulated by the federal government.
Adam Wingfield (14:12):
If there's an accident in trucking, it's regulated by what's called the FMCSA. If your accident within airlines, it's regulated by the FAA. So you both got those federal administrations that's regulating at those things, but it's so loose on the trucking side. It's crazy to even think that some of those things are not as tightly regulated.
Adam Wingfield (14:33):
They're tightly regulated on the mega carrier side, because your mega carrier has a lot more assets, a lot more units, a lot more drivers, but when it's a smaller carrier a lot of that stuff flies underneath the radar. So from a compliance perspective, we see folks that end up going by the wayside because they're not able to pass a new entrant safety audit.
Adam Wingfield (14:53):
They may have an accident within that first year that they just can't afford because insurance rates will skyrocket for you. There's so many small things that can bubble up and surface on a compliance side that can mean disaster for a small company. And what we see is a lot of times, smaller companies may not have the resources to even set the company up the right way to even get off the ground.
Adam Wingfield (15:20):
And that's what's so frustrating from an industry consulting perspective is that I'm really passionate about small business. I'm passionate about the small carrier, because like I said, it's 1.6 million carriers out here and alone is the small guy, so we actually we're moving the country across. We got to put some standards in place.
Adam Wingfield (15:37):
And that's why I love when I was able to connect with Trainual, I was like, man, this is exactly what we're needing, man. This is exactly what we needing. We need to create a system and a process, even from an onboarding side.
Adam Wingfield (15:51):
So from a driver onboarding side, just the basic employee orientation side, it varies so much to the point where you may have no execution with a small company, moderate execution, and great execution. But the fact of the matter is that on the no execution side, I would think that would be a lot more prevalent than you see on a great execution. But you don't see that with the large carriers, right?
Adam Wingfield (16:16):
You can't go to a FedEx and not have an employee orientation. You can't go to FedEx and not have policies and procedures and things aligned to where you know exactly what you're responsible for doing, you know exactly what the consequences of you not doing those, you know exactly what you need to maintain your vehicles, we just don't see that on a small carrier side. And that's why I'm so passionate about turning that ship and righting that thing to where we can actually see some results.
Chris Ronzio (16:41):
Yeah. I mean, and I'm glad we're working with you because it sounds like this is a market that for sure needs that kind of level of systemization.
Chris Ronzio (16:49):
On the compliance side, getting started in a highly regulated industry can be really daunting. When you don't even know all the things that you have to get done, and all the licenses you need, and the things, the audits that you need to pass. And so is that part of what you do is go in and just give someone the full spectrum of everything that they need to have in place?
Adam Wingfield (17:08):
That's exactly what we do. So we'll take you from, hey, I know absolutely nothing about trucking. I cut hair, I do hair, I do nails, I cut grass, whatever that may be. We implement a system from day one to give you the blueprint. Step one, step two, step three, step four. We hold your hand the entire way, all the way across the board, and we see it through the entire year.
Adam Wingfield (17:29):
We want to commit to our carriers for at least a year, because obviously in that first year, it's daunting. There's a lot of things that happen. There's a lot of things that can impact the business. And then statistics show in entrepreneurship as a whole, that first year can be rocky. What we want to do is provide that support system in place.
Adam Wingfield (17:47):
And the thing that I love, I love systems, I love processes, I like things to be in order. I got ADHD. I hate when things are scattered. I like the things to be like, hey, the white socks go right here, the ones with stripes go here. So I'm very, very specific about that. And the thing that I love about what we're able to do specifically within the platform that you guys have is we were able to introduce that to a marketplace that doesn't have that.
Adam Wingfield (18:12):
It's so needed because, let me tell you something, if FedEx stopped moving, all of their trucks stopped today, do you realize that the entire market wouldn't see much of a difference in change because we would be able to fulfill the capacity on the small carrier side. And that's how big the small side is, and that's how important the small carrier is to the industry.
Chris Ronzio (18:35):
Wow. I can always tell when somebody likes that organization, what'd you call it? The OCD kind of thing, because the plaques behind you are perfectly centered. That's the mark of somebody that likes to be organized.
Adam Wingfield (18:49):
Chris Ronzio (18:50):
So let's say they get past all the compliance stuff and you're working with someone for a full year, what are some of the other pitfalls that you help businesses get through that otherwise could cause them to really struggle?
Adam Wingfield (19:03):
Understanding your profits, understanding your numbers, understanding exactly what impacts your bottom line. Within a trucking company, especially a single truck, a single truck can consume about 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel a year. And depending on diesel prices, that can be anywhere between 40,000 to 90,000 dollars a year that you just spend in diesel fuel alone.
Adam Wingfield (19:24):
So what we do is we really teach people on how to impact, how to reduce costs, especially in the most controllable aspects as possible. And then we teach you how to position yourselves to make better decision on fixed expenses, such as truck Notes, such as trailer Notes, insurance, things like that to really, really guide you to where it say, hey, you know what? That truck right there might not fit the budget. Let's do this. Trust us, because over the next couple of years you'll see it on the bottom line.
Adam Wingfield (19:52):
And then the thing about that is the trucking industry is cyclical. It goes up, it goes down. It's just like the stock market. The most important thing is setting it up from the beginning that it can withstand those particular moments, and that's one of the things that we do over that first year. We have that constant coaching and we want to constantly support those movements because I'm going to tell you, the numbers are against our carriers out here.
Adam Wingfield (20:15):
Because the thing about it is, like I said, you got so many things against you, especially particularly if you're operating on a spot market activity that you got to make sure that you can't miss anything. You almost got to check off every single box in order to maintain that success within trucking, and that's why we're so passionate about what we do.
Chris Ronzio (20:34):
Yeah. Now in an industry like this, too, you've got so many cost centers that fluctuate as well. Like the fuel prices are skyrocketing this year, right? You got labor prices are going up. And so how do you change pricing to make sure that you are maintaining your margin? How much are you tweaking pricing for your customers?
Adam Wingfield (20:56):
So the funny thing about that is that when you drive your car, and I can pull a hundred people right now and say, hey, what's your average mile per gallon on your car right now? And I would say out of the hundred people, like 99 people would have no clue on what I'm talking about. But the thing about it is that on a diesel truck, it is so important. Every mile per gallon matters.
Adam Wingfield (21:16):
One-tenth of a mile per gallon can mean a thousand dollars a year in cost. So if you think about that as that adds up, and then when you think about speed. So you go up and down the highway you really don't, hey, I'm cruising down the highway. I'm doing 70, 75, really doesn't matter. When I need to get gas, I'm going to get gas.
Adam Wingfield (21:35):
But in a truck, when you are over 70 miles per hour and you're pulling 80,000 pounds of freight behind you, 80,000 pounds of steel, the thing about that is in a truck you're wasting 27% of your efficiency over 70 miles an hour. Because your truck is fighting against resistance, it's fighting to pull that weight behind it.
Adam Wingfield (21:55):
So it's so important to understand the small minutia and understanding how important that every single decimal point plays in the overall operational efficiency. And when you think about the 10 truck carriers, so we talked about, in the beginning of this call, we talked about the 903,000 companies that have 10 trucks or less.
Adam Wingfield (22:13):
So let's just say you got 10 trucks and for your 10 trucks, that one mile per gallon can equal anywhere between 50 to 60 to 70 thousand dollars a year in just overall cost savings. That's huge. That means more payroll. That means bonuses. That means, hey, you know what? We're able to do a dividend reinvestment. We're able to upgrade our equipment. We're able to wash our trucks, whatever that may need to look like.
Efficiency Is Everything In Business
Adam Wingfield (22:38):
But I think that the one thing is in order to be successful in business, you need to be obsessed with efficiency and that's what we want to [inaudible 00:22:46]. There's nothing more that's, when you talk about a mechanical device, efficiency is everything, right?
Adam Wingfield (22:53):
I'm going to tell you where it comes from, my efficiency mind, let me say where it comes from. So my first job was at Subway, the sandwich shop, and I remember when I first started working there I got fussed at because I would give too many slices of tomatoes on a sandwich.
Adam Wingfield (23:10):
So a 6-inches only supposed to have two, and a footlong is only supposed to have four. And I [inaudible 00:23:16] throw on the footlong, you might throw three on a... But the thing about it is that as those slices add up, if that one tomato has six slices in it, every time you give six extra slices, you give away one tomato, right?
Adam Wingfield (23:30):
Over a lunch and a dinner, that could be a case of tomatoes that you're just giving away. And it didn't dawn on me when I used to get fussed at it about it. I'm like, you know what? It took me till I got to this point when I was in trucking and started thinking about efficiency, that you got to think about small things.
Adam Wingfield (23:46):
And that's what really dawned me to how process is so important, and following the processes, and ensuring that people understand the why behind the processes is super important.
Chris Ronzio (23:56):
I could tell you right now that clip right there is going to be on social media and everywhere, the little Subway story, because I just love the efficiency. I have a friend that owns a bunch of Subway restaurants, and she would be so proud listening to your talk about saving the tomatoes.
Chris Ronzio (24:12):
I was driving down the street and I saw a truck that had these kind of metal plates underneath the truck that I assume were for some kind of like wind resistance, or is that another innovation for fuel efficiency?
Adam Wingfield (24:27):
It is. What it does is it lowers drag. Those are what we call trailer skirts, they're called trailer skirts. And what that does is it stops the drag from going up under the trailer. And sometimes you'll see them even on the back, the trailer tails, because as the wind comes to the back of the trailer and it meets abruptly, it causes drag. But as long as it goes through very smoothly, it gives you a little bit more efficiency.
Adam Wingfield (24:46):
And at every tenth, every ounce of spare efficiency that you can in trucking means more money to the bottom line. Because just like I said earlier, trucking is about efficiency. And the thing about it is when you have a mechanical device, you have to reduce weight, you have to reduce wind drag, and you have to reduce fuel consumption, and that's where you get your money at.
Chris Ronzio (25:08):
I never knew I loved trucking so much. But the efficiency, the fact that it's so tangible, that you can make these little changes and you can see reductions in fuel costs or you can see improvements in margin. It's so interesting, where a lot of the productivity and software and things that we do are just so tied to time. I'm really interested in this.
Chris Ronzio (25:29):
Are there other systems, lacks of systems that you see in this industry? We talked about onboarding, we talked about profit, any other problems?
Adam Wingfield (25:38):
Just overall just management systems. It's kind of just the back office systems. You'll see, in a trucking industry, typically your larger carriers have their own what's called transportation management systems or TMS, is very popular in the industry. Small carriers don't adopt that so much because they feel it's cumbersome. They don't understand the why behind it.
Adam Wingfield (25:58):
So you find that you put a J.B. Hunt or a Schneider truck beside a Trainual truck, 9 times out of 10, your shippers are going to go to that truck that's over there with the J.B. Hunt, the Schneider, the FedEx. Because you get a FedEx delivery, you can go on an app, you know exactly where it is at all times, you know if there's any delays, you know exactly, you can almost watch it move on a map, but as a small carrier, they really don't adapt that type of technology.
Adam Wingfield (26:23):
They don't adapt those systems because it's almost like a rat race, and I hate to say it it's almost just, hey, I just got to get to the next load. I just got to get to the next load. And they don't see, we don't necessarily have the influence of the importance behind it, and don't realize the bigger picture.
Adam Wingfield (26:39):
And that's one of the things, I'll be honest with you, that I'm so passionate about changing is just the perception and importance of technology, embracing technology, embracing systems to allow us to show up better so that we don't necessarily have to compete with the J.B. Hunt.
Adam Wingfield (26:55):
You're not going to be able to compete with the FedExes and their 20,000 tractors and 50,000 trailers. You're not going to compete with that, but you got to be able to show up with the shipper and be able to provide them with access to those tools through shipment visibility, and things like that to really make them desirable to put their freight on your truck.
Chris Ronzio (27:10):
Yeah. And so is that where you, I know you founded an application, InnoPortal, right? Is that kind of part of your passion for the technology? So tell us about that.
Adam Wingfield (27:21):
It is. So within the pandemic, one of the things that was a big boom in the pandemic and a lot of people realized... It was almost like, I forgot what they called it. I don't know if they called it the Great Walkout or the Great Resignation or something like that over the last two years where people was like, you know what? Sitting at home, I might have got laid offs due to COVID, or I might be working from home. You know what? I think I'm going to start my own business.
Adam Wingfield (27:43):
So we found a lot of company, a lot of folks got out there and saw the opportunity to dispatch trucks. So that's an opportunity for people to be able to start an at-home business, to where they can help the small carriers find loads and keep the small carriers making money.
Adam Wingfield (27:59):
So what we saw is, when you see the dispatcher and the dispatcher business model, we saw that there's an opportunity to provide better structure by creating a system to where the dispatcher actually has a true system, not just Excel sheets, not just tablets, not just files on a desk, but create a true system where not only that they show that their carriers and their clients that they deal with, that they have operational systems in place and organizational methods in place to be able to handle 10, 11, 12, 13 different carriers at one time, they able to handle that seamlessly.
Adam Wingfield (28:37):
So we started the InnoPortal software to do that, and we've integrated with several large companies to help with APIs on making sure that they have visibility in certain areas and providing them necessary tools to make it a one stop shop for small dispatchers, as well as small carriers alike.
Chris Ronzio (28:52):
And I know you're probably going to be humble, but this thing has taken off for the last couple years, right?
Adam Wingfield (28:58):
Yeah, it has, it has, it has. Very humbly speaking, very humbly speaking, one thing that I've always been passionate about is finding a problem. So as an entrepreneur, as a business owner, I'd rather find a problem and create the solutions for it.
Adam Wingfield (29:14):
And that's one of the things that we found was like, hey, let's dig into the problem. Let's find out what the problem is, and let's create solutions so we can uplift the industry. I'm passionate about this industry, so I wanted to create the solutions to help improve that.
Is Autonomous Trucking The Future?
Chris Ronzio (29:26):
So as you think forward to how more types of technology will influence trucking industry, I got to ask you about things like autonomous trucks. I saw, I think it was Nikola Motors open a factory in Arizona where I am. And so these things pop up on the news, so what's your take on that kind of tech?
Adam Wingfield (29:46):
So I think it's, I'm going to be honest with you, Chris, and this is my opinion. I'm just one, I'm just a low guy on the totem pole. I believe autonomy is necessary in certain circumstances, but it's not going to replace the human element.
Adam Wingfield (29:59):
So when you think about, autonomy has always been in the airline industry forever. Autopilot is always there, right? From my understanding, when you're on a plane, for the most part the plane flies itself most of the flight, but you still got two pilots in there so it's not replacing the pilots.
Adam Wingfield (30:18):
What I see happening is I see autonomous almost on a relay perspective. So we get on I-40 in Flagstaff, we take a 200 mile trek. It's going to be autonomous. It goes from rest area to rest area. You're going to have a driver at one rest area, picking a truck up at one rest area.
Adam Wingfield (30:36):
When it gets to the end of the autonomous point, it picks up another driver and the driver takes it to what's called the final mile. Obviously, autonomous trucks won't be able to go to a fuel pump and fuel themselves. They won't be able to go to a shipping dock and back themselves. So it's going to have to have that human element, it's going to have to have that interaction.
Adam Wingfield (30:53):
So while I don't feel that it's going to replace the human element, I think it's going to enhance it and allow that shipment to go from California to North Carolina in a whole lot shorter period. Because one of the things that I want, for those that don't know trucking, a driver can only drive for a certain period of time before they have to shut the truck down for 10 hours.
Adam Wingfield (31:13):
So when you think about a driver can only drive 11 hours. So after 11 hours, they have to shut the truck down after the full 10 hours, and then they have to pick it up. So you think about a shipment that's going over 2000 miles, you think about how much downtime, that would definitely reduce that downtime because it provide that driver a little bit more legroom to wake and actually make that shipment the entire way.
Chris Ronzio (31:30):
Yeah, that's so interesting. So I'm drawing the parallels to the airline industry as well, because my cousin's a pilot for a major airline, and she talks about how you can only fly so many legs or so many hours and then you're illegal, you can't fly anymore, and so it's the same in the trucking.
Chris Ronzio (31:45):
And then also to the efficiency point we talked about earlier, I bet that will help. Having the trucks be held to certain mile per hour, and the steering, and that's probably all going to impact the fuel, right?
Adam Wingfield (32:00):
Oh yeah, 100%. 100%. Because the thing is, as we go on autonomous, there's going to be different regulations in terms of regulating speed, regulating drag, regulating efficiency. So you are going to see those trucks really, they're going to be the best of the best.
Adam Wingfield (32:13):
And I've seen some of them where, a typical truck right now is going to get anywhere between 6.5 to 7 miles per gallon, but when you think about the autonomous vehicles and the things that they incorporate, the technologies that they incorporate, they're getting 8, 8 1/2, 9 miles per gallon.
Adam Wingfield (32:29):
And when you think about that and you do the math over, a truck is going to travel a 100,000 miles a year. So when you think about that's going to make a big difference in terms of long term efficiency.
Chris Ronzio (32:39):
That's great. Adam, how do you measure success for you in this industry? I know you want to make a big impact.
Adam Wingfield (32:47):
You know what? I think this is... That's an amazing question. I really, and humbly, for me, until I leave the industry in a better place than I found it, and that's what I really stand for. When I came into this industry 22 years ago, it lacked a lot of things. It lacked everything from diversity and inclusion, operational systems and technology, just overall respect and candor in the industry.
Adam Wingfield (33:13):
When I leave here, when it's my turn to kind of punch the clock, I want to leave the industry in a better place. But in the short term, every person that goes through our tutelage, every person that comes across our path, we want to provide them to solutions to ensure that they're set up for success. Everybody's not going to be successful, but I want to ensure that everybody has a tools to succeed.
Chris Ronzio (33:32):
And then for anyone listening that's in this industry, that is struggling through some of the things that you mentioned, what would you tell them, what would you leave them with as kind of some parting advice?
Adam Wingfield (33:43):
Just hang on. Because the thing is that trucking is cycles. Hang on. Things will get better. There's going to be bad times or good times, just like anything else. Just hang on.
Chris Ronzio (33:52):
Great advice. Adam Wingfield. I love it. Thank you so much for innovating in this industry. It's amazing to be a part of this with you, through Trainual, through Process People. I can't wait to watch you. You do big things in the industry. So thanks for joining us.
Adam Wingfield (34:06):
I appreciate it, Chris. Thank you.
Chris Ronzio (34:08):
Hey, thanks for listening to Organize Chaos. If you like this episode, be sure to subscribe, leave a review or share it with anyone in your network that you think could benefit from this information.
Chris Ronzio (34:18):
For episode show notes, podcast, recaps, and tons of other small business news and inspiration, check out the manual. That's trainual.com/manual.