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The Danger of Traditional Thinking


Robby

I recently visited a small logistics firm here in Indianapolis. Like just about every trucking company, they had a solid, traditional-sounding name, operated out of a nondescript building, and were located in an industrial part of town. Are there good reasons for these choices?

Perhaps. Many decisions we make in business come from tradition. The reason that trucking companies have names like “Reliable Transport” or “Professional Logistics” or “[OWNER’S LASTNAME, Inc.]” is because that’s what other people name their companies.

That’s likely the same reason the building was fairly basic. And in the past, the best way to get information from the sales and operations teams down to the fleet was to carry it in person. Therefore, logistics offices tend to attached to the parking lots and service garages.

Trucks
© Flickr User candelabrumdanse

But today, it may not make sense to name your Central Indiana trucking company the same thing as many other companies. That’s because people are searching online, and having a distinctive name could make you easier to find. Plus, there are legal issues to consider in the 21st century that may not have applied few decades ago.

Also, there’s no particular reason to put the office in the industrial part of town. Sure, your fleet may need to be there in order to have easy access to customer warehouses, but thanks to communication technology, you can be in an upscale office building near where people live. Or, you can have employees work remotely. These could all reduce costs and make your business more attractive to potential candidates.

But if you look at a big list of Indianapolis logistics firms you’ll see that almost all of them have traditional names and locations. They likely operate using traditional methods.

And while tradition is fine, we all know what’s coming. The logistics business is on the cusp of a revolution. It’s called the driverless truck.

Self-Driving Truck from Mercedes Benz
© Mercedes Benz

This isn’t science fiction. Mercedes Benz has a working prototype and insist it will be ready for mass production within ten years. So if you’re starting a trucking company today, you likely want to be ready for self-driving vehicles inside of a decade or two at the most.

Traditional thinking affects every industry, and every job within every industry. Sometimes we want to do things the way we’ve always done them. But often, we need to evaluate the traditions, and decide when to break with them.

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About the Blogger: Robby Slaughter is a productivity speaker and expert. He is a principal with a AccelaWork, an Indianapolis consulting firm.

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Tue, January 20 2015 » Change Managment and Learning Organization, Corporate Culture, Leadership

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