Here’s some food for thought; the commercial trucking industry, while not often thought of by your average restaurant goer, has a whole lot to do with what winds up on your plate when you sit down to eat. Recently, commercial trucking was brought into the news through the debacle surrounding the Trucker’s Ride for the Constitution, a protest that, while not endorsed by major trucking groups including the American Trucking Associations, gained viral support despite a low reported turnout. The logistics sector in the US is integral to our infrastructures, allowing for the wide range of products offered in supermarkets and by extension, in our restaurants. The main factor to consider in commercial trucking that could effect the restaurant industry going forwards is the constraint of freight capacity. As the economy has been racked with problems over the past few years, commercial trucking firms have been growing at a slower rate, not willing to tempt fate by expanding without sure signs of economic growth in

New reports on industry growth are suggesting that the automotive industry may be finally showing signs of recovery. A recent Business Insider article points out that the industry was particularly hard hit after the start of the economic turmoil beginning in 2008, plagued by high prices for fuel, diminished sales volume and the effects of the poor economy at large. Similarly, in the commercial trucking industry, growth has been stagnant due to a fear of risk on the part of small business owners who are not comfortable pursuing expansion projects with the uncertainty surrounding taking on more capacity in a negative economic climate. Only now, with signs that recovery is finally coming into place can these business owners start thinking about their expansion without the timidity associated with trends in recent years. In fact, the possibility of a “capacity crunch” on the part of the trucking industry is possible if retail volume increases during a period of rapid economic development, according to American Trucking Associations Chief

  In today’s busy world, winning a larger share of your market can come down to one simple factor: are you more or less convenient than your competition? One way to ensure that you can serve your customers in a way that works for them is by taking your business model on the road. Increasingly, businesses have been going fully mobile, ditching a brick and mortar location in favor of a van from which they can run their operations. While this may seem like a drastic step, in reality, there are some serious benefits that are associated with going mobile. For one thing, it turns your location into a mobile advertisement. By having a mobile workstation, you are able to advertise your small business all over the neighborhood, literally, as you will be driving around from place to place in the course of your day. Taking steps to customize the appearance of your vehicle can turn your mobile business station into a local legend; the more outlandish

As a business owner, your cash flow is like your pulse. At all times it should be kept strong through a knowledge of responsible spending as well as a cohesive plan for obtaining capital should the need for expansion, wage payments, or other pursuits that require liquid cash arise. The economic climate of the last few years has been a tough one for many businesses; bad credit, devalued property and assets and increased requirements on the part of banks have made small business lending into one of the most hard-hit parts of the financing world. The ability to easily apply for credit from banks used to allow small business who wished to grow the option to access capital at will. Today, when a business owner goes to those same banks, they are much more likely to be turned away. An additional problem that faces many business owners goes beyond the increased lending requirements that they face. High risk industries as designated by banks include some

Yesterday President Obama signed into law a bill that ensures any official sleep apnea testing ordered on commercial trucking firms be subject to Federal regulations as opposed to guidelines. The significance of this is that guidelines have the potential to be much more confusing and less regimented than regulations. Another factor in the decision, which was applauded by trucking organizations including the American Trucking Associations, is the fact that regulations require much more due diligence and testing before they are able to be put into place. The annual costs to the trucking industry associated with the sleep apnea testings could potentially be as high as $1 billion annually, a not insignificant amount of expenditure. The requirement for formal regulation means that it will now be much more difficult to put mandated testing into place, which may save the trucking industry much money. The dangers of drivers on the road with sleep apnea are real as well, however. The requirement for formal regulations also makes it

The Truckers Ride for the Constitution, scheduled with much ado for today, Friday the 11th, has seemingly caused no actual traffic on the Beltway highway in Washington. The protest was organized by a handful of personalities, including an internet radio host and a trucker named Ernest “General” Lee. While the Facebook page for the event boasts impressive numbers, with thousands pledging their digital support, the Washington Post reports that only around 30 trailers and pickups actually manifested to press their cases against the government. While traffic was reported on the highway during the morning, it was attributed to rain and not the mass of truck drivers, who apparently spread out into smaller groups traveling at the speed of the traffic around them. A single instance of the truckers blocking all four lanes and slowing to 15 mph was broke up by warning from traffic police, with no arrests made or tickets given. While this morning did not cause any interruptions in commuting, the organizers of

The financial climate of the US in the post recession period has been grim for small business owners. The collapse of Lehman Brothers triggered a severe clamp down in lending requirements on the part of major banks, and small business programs were some of the most hard hit targets, with collateral demands increasing at the same time that many small business owners experienced dips in revenue from depressed sales as well as devaluation of their homes and other assets that could be used to secure funding.  In an informative article from the Washington Post published July of this year, it was noted that small business lending rates were down not only in larger banks, but also smaller local banks and credit unions, frustrating the hopes of expansion of many business owners who think of these banks as the only sources of financing available to them outside of family. Defaults on loans or mortgages caused by revenue losses dealt another blow to US small business owners,

The “shale revolution” refers to the growing natural gas business within the US. As the search for alternatives to fossil fuels intensifies, the trucking industry is becoming more and more attuned to developments in natural gas as a viable alternative to diesel. In March, Shell, the energy corporation, announced plans to create two new natural gas for transport corridors through North America. This indicates just how much the development of these non-imported fuels could represent an advantage for American trucking. For an in-depth look at some of the benefits of natural gas, which include vehicle performance comparable with that of fossil fuels and the ability to be produced domestically, interested readers can visit the Alternative Fuels Data Center’s page on the fuel source. In addition to this, lower emissions from this fuel source mean that it’s use could be beneficial for the environment and the reduction of our carbon footprint. Some concerns over the process of the fuel’s extraction, known as “fracking” have environmental groups up

Small business owners and employees in the commercial trucking business have show support for a proposed bill to create a report on industry cost analysis for sleep apnea testing, as well as official regulations for the testing as opposed to guidance. Commercial trucking financing the tests is a concern, but more importantly, the issue of driver safety is at the heart of the proposed legislation. With driver fatigue representing one of the most covered issues around the trucking industry of late, more and more regulations have gone in to preventing fatal accidents blamed on excessive hours and fatigue. The reason why trucking groups have called for formal regulation rather than simple guidelines is because of a mistrust of not adequately defined rules. If trucking companies would fail to comply with the guidelines and then an accident occurred, they could be sued for non-compliance. The possibility that non-compliance could result as an accident due to misunderstanding would be much higher without a formally defined procedure surrounding

Pinterest is a social media site based around image sharing, where users can curate boards of images relevant to their specific interests. If another user likes something on another user’s board, they can “re-pin” it to their own wall of interests. In this way, interesting pictures of products can quickly be shared across a wide and dedicated user base in a very targeted manner. Pinterest is particularly useful for consumers creating wishlists of products they like, and there is a vibrant community on the website centering around almost every type of product or industry. Marketing on Pinterest can loan your small business an edge by allowing your customers to share and comment on the best pictures of your products or services that you have to offer, while sharing them with the demographics that are most likely to create viral activity around your brand. While there is a particularly strong user base centering around all things fashion related, any business model can find a way to

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