Trucking’s Impact on Printers and Publishers in 2020

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2020 has been a chaotic year across the board. Despite COVID-19, the trucking industry has seen improvement, which will help serve publishers and printers long-term.

Leading into the 2020 year, the trucking industry was suffering from a shortage of drivers and general inconsistency across large-haul shipping timelines. When COVID-19 measures in the United States started to take affect in March 2020, this furthered those issues. Stay-at-home orders, figuring out quarantine processes, safe-shipping policies, and other security measures meant shipping in general saw significant slow-downs and needs for improvement, and that included the trucking industry as a whole.

However, after a few months of COVID-19, companies implemented many of new security and health measures to help resolve the issues. Further, a major change in household activities also started to take place. People across the country started relying on delivered goods to meet their everyday needs, and not just for recreation purposes. Toiletries, food, and much more started being delivered door-to-door, and that meant shipping became the primary means of providing everyday necessities, and trucking the means to get those needed goods from one place to another.

Trucking has not done a 180 from the beginning of 2020, but it is in a much better place. Trucking companies hire new drivers constantly. Timeline consistency has improved when it comes to standard shipping of goods. Most of all, demand is high!

Where the trucking industry stands at the end of 2020

The trucking industry on its own looks good, thanks to a steady influx of new drivers and increased demand. That said, the state of the industry when shipping comes into play lies somewhere between “incredibly busy” and “incredibly hindered.”

What does “busy” mean for the trucking industry?

The “busy” part is a good thing, and is not going away anytime soon. Forecasting shows a permanent shift in shopping and necessity-acquisition patterns in the United States. Projections show that delivered good are to continually increase over time, COVID or not. Demand for these delivered goods leads to further demand for trucking, and likely continued patterns of more drivers hired and more trucks being utilized for long-haul.

What does “hindered” mean for the trucking industry?

The “hindered” part, on the other hand, is also a long-term situation. Unfortunately, this is not within the control of trucking and freight companies. Due to the increase in shipping, sorting centers and mail organizations (public and private) are having a difficult time maintaining their timelines and handling the influx in product. Simply put, there are too many goods moving through the pipeline, and these organizations are at capacity. While this does not inherently hurt trucking, it means that the goods being moved by truck are not being offloaded in a timely fashion. This impacts trucking timelines in many situations.

The current state of the trucking industry

Both the busy and hindered situations became exacerbated leading into November and December of 2020, which are already notorious for shipping delays and timeline fluctuations. Some mail and sorting centers leave trucks to sit for days without being unloaded. In fact, USPS put measures into place to redirect trucking away from certain centers to avoid further back-ups, with embargos even being implemented in some cities.

Overall, trucking in 2020 has seen growth and improvement in its own industry, but met difficulties related to shipping and delivery of goods caused by COVID-19. It’s a mixed result that bodes well for the future of trucking, but also shows the need for some major improvements for how trucking and sorting centers interact.

How the trucking industry in 2020 impacts publishers

Publishers took some major blows due to COVID-19: required shifts into remote work, needs to drum up alternative revenue, shrinking bullpens, and much more. Something needed to happen for publishers that could act as a universal glimmer of hope in the dark of 2020. Luckily, two things happened, but both are long-term victories, and are just now beginning to impact publishers.

First is the vaccine. 2020 saw Americans spending significantly larger quantity of time, leading to a sizeable bump in content consumption, print and digital. While this put publishers in a space to succeed, other 2020 struggles meant few could capitalize on the opportunity. The vaccine gives hope for a more “normal” 2021. Publishers can get back into their routines and function at full capacity. This should allowing more publishers to capitalize on a long-term increase in reading magazines, books, and other publications.

Second is trucking. Sorting centers and shipping in general are heavily influencing trucking, leading to inconsistencies and hinderances. That said, more truck drivers are entering the market and freight is increasing in volume, which is a good sign. It means a future with easier capability to deliver on a national, and even international scale. It also means potential reductions in costs long-term due to the high volume of trucking.

How the trucking industry in 2020 impacts printers

Printers do a lot more than simply print publications. They are also responsible for coordinating with trucking and shipping to get product delivered to publishers and/or readers. That means any impact to trucking can impact the ability for a printer to get goods moved in a timely manner. A boost in the trucking industry is a step towards better delivery times and rates on shipping for publishers.

Further Information

To learn more about the state of trucking in relation to COVID-19, click here and here. For more information about the impact of COVID-19 on publishers, click here. If you would like more great content from Publication Printers and the Publication Printers Marketing Group, click here.

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Conferences Won’t Be the Same – Here’s how They are Different.

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COVID-19 put a major standstill on public gatherings, but it did a particular number on trade shows and conferences, impacting nearly every major industry in the United States. While it may seem like a small thing in the greater scope of the damage COVID-19 has wrought, a significant amount of business dealings, information gathering, and networking takes place at such events.  The lack of in-person conferences and trade shows showed a decline in business and lost revenue for the event holders, so companies had to adapt.

The Numbers around Conferences and Trade Shows

Studies have shown that only 42% of these events have been rescheduled, most for late 2020 or all the way out to 2021. The studies also show that should those events occur, the likelihood of their typical participation will be unlikely. The other 58%? Sadly, most of them were cancelled with no intent to reschedule a physical event. That said, about 69% of conferences and trade shows that closed up their physical events had enough time and capability to pursue a unique option: a fully virtual experience.

The markets these events serve would go underserved normally with the impact of COVID-19. However, virtual conferences allow for that audience to still be served, at a reduced cost to the event holder, and still provide the majority of the benefits. This is thanks to the digital age and the variety of media at the disposal of the average businessperson: smart phones, computers, televisions, music devices, etc.

The percentage of event managers that were able to make the transition saw the value of what they brought, even if it was in a rushed and non-traditional state. It proved that providing the perks of a conference or trade show’s true objective could still be met without the in-person, on-site element that has dictated those events since their inception.  It also allowed more people to engage with the content, as typically companies only send 1-2 representatives to a trade show.

Impact on Publishing Industries

The applications for publishers and the greater print & publishing professions is even better than most industries. Publishing is all about content, and in the digital age, it was clearly proven, to some detriment to print, just how portable content was between different media. In short, if it can be delivered on paper, it can also be delivered on camera or online.

While that normally is seen as a hurdle, when it comes to conferences and trade shows, it is a huge benefit to publishers. It means that almost everything there is to be shared and learned can all be easily translated into a digital medium and provided through a virtual event. Even the networking and community-building is possible through social media and other group channels.

Virtual conferences also allow for increased frequency, increased sessions, and increased attendance, as the limitations on these are usually related to space and budget. That means more engagement and opinions shared, more strategies provided, and the ability to virtually send samples and examples without the shipping or printing costs to deliver them. In general, it is a more cost-effective solution that may prove to be an improvement on the traditional conference or trade show, where lead-chasing and networking is limited to who you meet, where a virtual event allows engagement with everyone.

The downside for publishers is simple; digital is not seen as an ally by most publishers. That means there is an aversion to it at some level. Combine that with the technological aptitude needed to fully immerse in a virtual event – which is not common knowledge for many professionals – while getting “butts in seats” to attend virtually can be just as difficult as getting people to attend the physical conferences and trade shows once they can happen again. At least the costs of the virtual events means one can still turn a profit with a different attendance perspective.  

Further Information

To learn more about how virtual events can be a viable alternative to conferences and tradeshows, click here. For more information about the impact of COVID-19 on business event attendance, click here. If you would like more great content from Publication Printers and the Publication Printers Marketing Group, click here.

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