CNBC released a news story a while back that got us thinking. According to the news story, a report released by the non-partisan American Society of Civil Engineers warned that if wide-scale improvements and upgrades aren’t made to our nation’s highways, bridges, tunnels, railroads, river-locks, electric grid, and the like, there will be a price that industry’s going to have to pay: namely, a staggering $3 trillion loss that could otherwise be saved by effective upkeep of our infrastructure.
Look, if it happens, it happens. We’re not here to play politics or point fingers one way or the other. We’re material handlers, not talking heads on TV. No, we’re here to present several possible strategies that our domestic supply chain could undertake “to pick up the slack” if things stay bad. If local, state, and federal government decides to let our roadways and airports degrade at the current rate they’re going, at least there will be those among us who are prepared and ready to do big business whatever the condition of the interstate or the tarmac. Because the fact of the matter is, this is something we can’t as an industry pretend won’t impact us. Better to roll with the punches than fall with the tree… Didn’t Bruce Lee say that?
Here are some things we as material handlers can expect down the road. First of all, we may well have to increase the load capacity of the individual handling unit. Take Liftomatic for example. On average we ship out 20-25 new pieces of drum handling/materials handling equipment per day. As of now, we ship equipment incrementally throughout the day, but we’re ready for all that to change. We may soon see a time when we need to consolidate our shipments to meet the lessened capacities of big rigs and delivery trucks to negotiate our streets and highways. In other words, we may have to roll with the shipping companies instead of having the luxury of them rolling with us.
Secondly, the need to keep meticulous track of the exact location of a shipping order is going to be that much more important. Already the major rail companies have websites whereupon you can track a given shipping order on a master screen. But with the advent of RFID tracking technologies, this level of tracking is going to be much more possible and practicable on the micro-level. Our cyberware and online data systems will have to be that much better than our jumbled concrete.
It’s never been an easy road to make a sizable living. It takes hard work, hard facts, and application of those facts to realities as they emerge. Whatever comes down the turnpike, we at Liftomatic plan on being ready to roll.