After years of discussion about the need to digitalize the distinctly manual process of hauling freight in trucks, the sector is now primed to see a flurry of change over the next decade, an IBM study says.
According to IBM, the trucking industry will soon see innovations such as: capacity-as-a-service, crowdsourced delivery, truck platooning, optimized predictive maintenance, driver/truck/road-specific routing, smart cargo, and automated driver assist.
Those capabilities will be powered by digital technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), advanced analytics, and machine learning, the Armonk, New York-based company said in the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV)’s Truck 2030 Executive Survey.
The survey included executives from companies including both commercial vehicle manufacturers and ancillary manufacturers (bodies, trailers, engines, utilities, and the like), spanning a total of 1,320 executives from 1,188 companies.
The results showed that these and many other truck capabilities and mobility services are available today or are expected to be readily available by 2030. And as they roll out, the changes will be linked with other market forces, such as an estimated $118 billion of spending likely needed by truck companies to continuously reskill their employees by that date, and $465 billion of annual revenue likely to shift from sales to services by 2030.
However, various companies will ride the wave of digitalization at their own speeds. The IBM survey showed that 64% of truck executives say their organization’s future success depends on digital reinvention. But respondents also said they are early in their digital reinvention journeys, estimating they are about 36% complete.
In the meantime, market forces will continue to push digitalization changes forward, such as the growing importance of sustainability requirements, which are driving the need for electrified powertrains, green goods transportation concepts, and virtual shopping experiences.
So as truck company executives prepare for those changes, they will face three main questions, the IBM study found: