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The Digital Revolution – How your business will be affected in the next 5-years!

Understanding how to leverage digital technology in your heavy-duty truck & trailer business is a critical component of keeping your company on the path to success. Failure to execute a digital strategy will result in business failure.

The Digital Revolution is defined on Wikipedia this way:

“The Digital Revolution is the change from mechanical and analog electronic technology to digital electronics which began anywhere from the late 1950s to the late 1970s with the adoption and proliferation of digital computers and digital record keeping that continues to the present day.”

The Internet, Smart Phones, Social Media, eCommerce, Cloud-Based Software, SaaS, IoT, Augmented/Virtual Reality, 5G, the list goes on and on. The Digital Revolution has affected every area of the heavy-duty truck and trailer industry.

What is going to happen in the next 5-years?

Digital technology is advancing at an unprecedented rate in human history. In comparison to previous advancements in technology, including the industrial revolution, digital technology is doubling on average every 2-years. Therefore, the Digital Revolution is estimated to have 3000 times more of an impact on future generations than all the other advancements in previous technologies in all the previous generations combined.

These are some of the changes that you can expect:

  • Software is going to continue to be the unique selling proposition for many businesses. This means that the company that adopts the best software and uses it to bring its products and services to market faster, cheaper, and more consistently is going to be 100 times more profitable than their competition.
  • Hardware is going to make a huge leap forward to catch up with the advancement of software. This means that the devices you use every day are going to completely change on a scale not seen since the 1980s when computers were being revolutionized every few years.
  • Self-Driving Vehicles will continue to enter the marketplace, this technology will disrupt several industries including taxi’s, UBER, bus, train, boat, heavy truck & trailer, and more…
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) will become more commercial and will impact every sector of the business, from the C-suite with AI assistants to operations, finance, and the digital sales channel.
  • Data is an enormously valuable asset that is on par with the value of your human capital. Those companies that put more data into the hands of the end-user customers are going to win and those that hold to traditional channels will lose.
  • The End of the Traditional Distribution Channel. The traditional distribution channel will be transformed into a digital sales channel that will utilize a wide range of technology to distribute products to end-users. I wrote about this in this article.
  • Massive Change in the Workplace. Millions of Baby Boomers (those born between post-WWII and 1964) will exit the workplace, Generation X (those born between 1964 and 1982) and Millennials (those born between 1982 and 1997) have already begun taking over senior management positions and Generation Z (those born after 1997) will enter the workplace. Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z all use digital technology, and each generation is exponentially more set on integrating digital technology into every aspect of the business to increase productivity, freedom, and flexibility. Also, your customers from those generations will not even look at your business if it is not up-to-date with current digital technology standards.

To be successful your heavy-duty truck and trailer business NEEDS to have a digital strategy. This includes using technology to make your business operate more efficiently and developing a strong digital sales channel to grow your business over the next 5-years.

What step-by-step action do you need to take?

Step 1Perform a SWOT analysis. Take an inventory of the technology you are currently using. Is it capable of adequately moving your business to the level required to keep pace with market demands? What are the strengths of your current strategy, what are the weaknesses, where are the opportunities, and what threats are facing your business?

Step 2Research your competitors. What kind of digital marketing are they doing? Where have they invested in technology to improve their operations? More importantly, what are they not doing? Answering this question is where you will find your greatest opportunity to influence your revenue.

Step 3Plan and act. This is so critical I can’t emphasize it enough. Many clients I work with are so overwhelmed by all the options available and the constant wave of new options coming at them that they either do nothing or try to do everything and in the end, accomplish nothing. It is far better to do a couple of things well than to fail to act.

What resources are available today for the heavy-duty truck and trailer industry?

This list is not exhaustive but these are just a few of the resources that I recommend using:

The world is going to continue to change at (for some) an alarming rate. You on the other hand can take advantage of all the changes by doing what you can to prepare now, developing a digital strategy, and continuously update that strategy as digital technology makes its dramatic march toward the future.


Would you like some help to develop your strategy?

Jamie Irvine works with forward-thinking heavy-duty companies as a consultant. Developing a Digital Sales Channel and Business Development Strategy that encompasses adopting digital technology is the most common consulting work that Jamie does with heavy-duty truck & trailer companies.

Author: Jamie Irvine

Jamie Irvine is the host of The Heavy-Duty Parts Report and a consultant that works with manufacturers, distributors, and SaaS companies serving the heavy-duty truck parts industry.

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