FinTech Female Fridays: Kelly Hanson, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Keep Truckin
What is your role at KeepTruckin and has your role changed since the pandemic began?
As a Senior Product Marketing Manager, my role at KeepTruckin involves communicating our company’s product and our vision to diverse audiences externally. Understanding our customers, and how our technology uniquely solves their problems, is a core function of my job. Since our inception as a company, we’ve always been focused on a “driver-first” mentality and advocating for our users—understanding our drivers’ needs and pain points has helped us create a product drivers love to use. In this new COVID-19 landscape, “advocating for the user” has taken on an entirely new meaning: our truck drivers need us now more than ever, and we can’t let them down. This includes the following focus areas:
* Raising awareness of the problems we are witnessing, founded in data that we have from our network of 250k truck drivers.
* Working with our leadership team to craft a message to get the attention of the government, and show that industry needs help beyond what is happening now.
* Working closely with industry leading partners, who are aligned with supporting our message and our driver community.
*Helping educate our customers, and customer facing teams, on where they can access information.
The Covid 19 pandemic will have major impacts on the global supply chain especially in an era where Amazon and delivery are expected conveniences. What is the current state of the impact to the supply chain specific to truckers?
Everything from household supplies to your clothes to your everyday necessities are brought to you on a truck. In today’s world, we have all become accustomed to the “Amazon” effect: on-demand, instant delivery of what we need, when we need it, direct to our doorstep. Smaller trucking companies and owner-operators make up the vast majority of carrier businesses that move these supplies, and allow us to get them when we need them.
COVID-19 has caused industrial production in America to fall rapidly in recent weeks. Goods that would typically be moved by truck drivers across the United States spanning various industries are stalled due to halted production and idling factories. The decline in freight being moved along the supply chain limits the availability of work for truck drivers. Lack of inventory means truck drivers have a difficult time finding jobs, and as a result, a difficult time making money to support their businesses and livelihood.
Long Term Effects:
While many of these truck drivers are not working, they’re still paying fixed costs like insurance and truck/trailer payments. The disconnect is that they’re continuing to pay money for their vehicles, while they’re not making money from using their vehicles. Without assistance from the Federal Government to assist with relief for these fixed costs, truck drivers who keep our country moving run the risk of going out of business. If this happens, when production is ready to get back to work following COVID-19, we will not have the available capacity to resume our supply chain as normal.
Shrunken trucking capacity could mean higher prices for the things we need, freight delays and more headaches for the economy. Additionally, without truck drivers to help move our goods, we can’t expect to receive them on-demand, with the convenience we have become accustomed to via the “Amazon effect” in our day to day lives. Our expectations for receiving what we need, when we need it, can turn into weeks vs. hours. Our trucking capacity is how we can keep our country moving.
What can truckers expect from the recent government bailouts? How can the supply chain keep functioning as close to normal as possible until the economy opens? What are the long term effects of the supply chain after we slowly go back to ‘normal’?
Through the Federal Government’s “Paycheck Protection Program” (“PPP), truck drivers can find some assistance in the form of access to loans for small business payroll. However, there are a few issues with this program:
1) given the sheer volume of companies applying to the program and its evolving implementation, there are hurdles to getting approved fast enough to take advantage of the money that is there before it’s gone;
2) even if they are approved, the programs do not address two big prerequisite fixed costs: truck/trailer payments and insurance.
The key to keeping our supply chain functioning as close to normal through the PPP is to single out trucking and address these fixed costs. Ensuring these at-risk companies can have relief for these costs ensures they will not go bankrupt and we can preserve our capacity for when this pandemic ends. Once idling factories are back to being operational, we will have drivers available to help us resume daily life if we preserve our trucking capacity. We can go back to business as usual once the economy reopens.
If we do not, there will be a ripple effect across the economy. Production will want to resume, but there will be no one there to move anything. Cost of goods will soar, timelines will be delayed, and in general, we will experience massive headaches delaying our economic recovery.
What is KeepTruckin’s role with today's supply chain impact?
Our role is to do everything we can to help our users do their jobs safely and efficiently; it’s in our DNA. Today, that means we have a duty to advocate for our users and preserve our supply chain. Within our network of 250k drivers, we’ve seen a 25% drop in vehicle usage, with many drivers struggling to find work. With this volume of data amassed and the insights we can derive from it, we owe it to our customers and to our economy to tell the story of what we’re seeing—our capacity is at risk and we have to preserve it, ensuring that our supply chain doesn’t experience catastrophic impacts.
How does KeepTruckin work with partners to help the truckers?
We are working closely with industry leading partners in our broader ecosystem who are strongly aligned with supporting our drivers and our message. We have had key players in the industry help to promote our petition to their users, in addition to offering their own relief as well—in the form of discounts and deferred payments.We all have the same user: our drivers. We need to advocate for them. We need to stand together and protect them.
What are the ways NYCFW members can support small business trucking owners and keep the supply chain active and functioning?
KeepTruckin is fighting hard to secure relief for our at-risk users, but we still need your help.
Please sign the petition — and share it! Tell your groups you are associated with that they should endorse it and encourage their members to sign as well. Our trucking capacity is how we can keep our country moving and protect our supply chain. It’s a cornerstone necessity for the success of virtually every aspect of the US economy.
Reach out to Kelly on LinkedIn.