ACT: ‘Life in the Trenches is a Jungle Right Now’ in Commercial Vehicle Industry

According to ACT Research’s recently released Transportation Digest, the aggregate prosperity seen currently in the commercial vehicle industry and the U.S. economy as a whole is a welcome contrast to the situation that existed a year ago. However, there is a downside, according to the report.

“Our heavy-duty forecast continues to reflect the current ‘perfect storm’ of upbeat economic, freight and trucking indicators, with most at or on the verge of reaching all-time record levels,” Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research, said. “And it’s easy, if not particularly pleasant, to remember the business environment of 2020’s second quarter, with significant uncertainties in not knowing the extent of the virus and how deep the downside could be.

“All that said, good times and good numbers at a macro level obscure an uncomfortable truth — life in the trenches is a jungle right now. For purchasing managers in the equipment manufacturing chain, the struggle is obtaining supplies in a capacity-strained world, while for financial managers, it’s a battle to protect margins against rapidly rising costs. Fleet managers always have the driver shortage headache but are now stressed because the queue for heavy-duty vehicles stretches past year-end, even as many operators need new trucks today. The management skill set is really being tested to make the best of current good times, if this is really ‘as good as it gets.’”

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