The 2017 ALK Tech Summit Claimed an Unexpected Theme, One of Resilience


From the very first event at the 2017 ALK Transportation Technology Summit the overall theme of resilience began to make its appearance known. With the weather forecasts predicting heavy winds and torrential downpour it looked as though ALK’s 13th Annual Golf Outing, taking place at Bala Golf Club, would surely be canceled. However, our golfers proved to be more than willing as they marched out onto the golf course, armed with their ALK umbrellas. The day proved to be an overall success with the golfers staying out on the course throughout the entire morning without even the slightest complaint regarding conditions.

Our theme continued into the second day when Tim Hoelter, a top executive with Harley Davidson for over thirty years, shared his inspiring story of triumph. Tim, the only outsider among a group of 13 executives purchased Harley Davidson in a leveraged buyout in 1981. This buyout unfortunately aligned with one of the worst recessions in U.S history. Harley Davidson found itself under a staggering mountain of debt, an unsavory brand image, ownership of its trademark in jeopardy, and an onslaught of foreign competition and yet the brand persevered. Through strategic management, teamwork and innovation this unique group of men became the driving force behind what many regard as the most dramatic turnaround in U.S. business history, a true story of resilience.

When keynote speaker, YRC Worldwide Inc.’s Chief Customer Officer, Justin Hall, took the stage, resilience found its way back into the conversation but this time with a unique perspective. Justin shared his 5 S’s for “Resilience” today at YRCW which included Safety, Speed, Service, Space, and Segmentation. Justin went on  to emphasize the importance of company transparency in order to correct errors and grow from previous mistakes. This logic is what pushed Justin to create a customer advisory council to hear “the good, the bad and the ugly.” Hall has always understood that facing the negative head on is the only way for a company, particularly one as large as YRC Worldwide Inc., to find continued success.

While our three panels covered a range of topics including anything from the automatization of technology, to driver retention and mandating adaptive cruise control their was one fact that rang true, the T&L industry is up for any challenge. One of the biggest hurdles this industry is currently facing is that of technology itself, particularly regarding integration. As the industry is seeing trends that are heavily dependent on technology such as the electronic logging mandate or same-day delivery services, it is becoming increasingly more critical that all technological systems not only work together, but that you can trust them to work together. Ken Crane, director of IT operations at US Xpress Enterprises said, “There’s a tremendous amount of stuff to do, you’ve got to [fully] utilize time and assets. Bringing [technology] all together as seamlessly as possible is critical”.

This concept of integration is not a new one to ALK Technologies. As ALK looks to the future it is clear that continuing to integrate real time delivery information is key. However, it is a bigger mountain to climb than others may realize. As expressed by our senior vice president of enterprise solutions, Dan Popkin, “…we’ve made a massive investment in underlying GIS technologies. There is so much data that needs to be collected. It’s virtually impossible for any single map vendor to do it all themselves. Crowdsourcing has some great potential. We leverage customer data to create better data.” Despite the magnitude of this task we stand resilient, more determined than ever the adapt and adjust with the demands of the industry.

Resilience is essential for any industry to survive. At the 2017 ALK Transportation Technology Summit it was apparent that the T&L industry as this strength in spades.

For additional coverage of the 2017 ALK Transportation Technology Summit check out our articles on here and here