Opinion: Supply Chain Accountability
By William Feld
D&G Transportation Inc.
This Opinion piece appears in the Dec. 17 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.
Over the past several years, government regulation that should be directed at every link of the supply chain has become increasingly focused on the trucking industry’s portion. If this continues, it quickly will become toxic to our industry and the economy as a whole.
Those who speak of “leveling the playing field” without also including the words “throughout the supply chain” are not friends of trucking. In fact, even within the trucking industry, rules and policies that make sense for large truckload carriers of dry products will not always apply in a practical fashion to smaller, temperature-controlled, less-than-truckload carriers.
I will argue that many of the enacted and proposed regulations are most damaging to — and do not bode well for — small carriers/fleets and owner-operators. This also points to a hidden agenda that goes far beyond things such as safety concerns and best practices.
Doesn’t the independent-contractor business model drive innovation, efficiency, and productivity as well as being the lifeblood for job creation in our economy? Can anyone truthfully claim that they promote business while at the same time drive regulations designed to eliminate independent contractors?
A healthy supply chain requires a balance between production, transportation and distribution. This will happen only through a holistic, process-oriented approach to governance and oversight. When one part is overregulated, the entire supply chain becomes out of whack and dysfunctional.
Regulation that focuses exclusively on trucking serves to place a disproportionate amount of liability, expense and risk on transportation companies and their drivers.
It is easy to see how and why this has happened.
Transportation of goods from shippers to distributors is the part of the supply chain that interfaces with the general public via the common use of roadways. When a manufacturer experiences production problems or a consignee is behind schedule, few if any in the public sector would be aware because these processes are self-contained.
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