Omnitracs' Road Ahead blog

Outlook 2019 Day One Recap: Women in Transportation, Security, Compliance and More!


Day one of Outlook is a wrap! Our annual customer and partner conference, which brings together hundreds of leaders in the transportation and logistics industry, started off with a riveting keynote from Ray Greer, CEO of Omnitracs, and a keynote speech from Ray Martinez, Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). You can read about those sessions here.

Here’s a recap of some of the highlights from today’s breakout sessions:

Disruption or Distraction? Trends and the Future of the Transportation Industry

Susan Beardslee, principal analyst at ABI Research, led today’s discussion on the future of the transportation industry. ABI Research has provided strategic guidance on transformative technologies for more than 25 years, and this session was designed to give our customers a unique perspective on why change is necessary. With the industry moving away from siloed and static technology to an integrated, holistic approach, the time is now for us to focus on collaborations (such as the one we recently announced with Red Hat). Additionally, societal changes like congestion, urbanization, an aging population and a new digital-native workforce will impact the logistics industry and drive transformation.

One of the main points Beardslee discussed was influencers of change. Both security and regulation are two of the main factors, with government agencies developing initiatives to address these needs. Additionally, the driver shortage is also forcing fleets to amend their recruitment tactics and adopt technologies to attract niche groups of drivers. Also, electrification and alternative fuel options are creating their own revolution as many companies explore new ways to reduce costs and be more energy efficient. Beardslee noted that Volvo is one of the brand’s leading the electric truck movement.

Autonomous delivery is another major trend to watch in 2019. Retail and convenient stores will be particularly focused on technology to support this type of delivery, as consumer demand evolves every day. Blockchain is also greatly impacting supply chain management. A blockchain is a digital, public ledger that records online transactions. In our industry, blockchain represents an opportunity to improve operational efficiencies in a secure, standardized method. It could help automate billing, schedule and document management and other back-office tasks. Additionally, it offers transportation and logistics companies applications such as audit trails, transaction history, and product traceability.

Healthy Paranoia: Adopting a Stronger IT Security Mindset


With technology becoming increasingly important for the logistics industry, we were excited to welcome FBI special agent Miguel Clarke to Outlook to speak about adopting a stronger IT security mindset. Agent Clarke made it clear that organizations must adopt “healthy paranoia” when it comes to cybercrime –  as “your ability to protect yourself is only governed by how badly an attacker wants to get you.”

While 73 percent of breaches are perpetuated by outsiders, 28 percent involve internal actors. Agent Clarke noted that that the “insider threat” is always going to be problematic, as it’s the largest area of vulnerability given that IT pros must extend certain levels of trust to employees.

To build a stronger defense against cyber criminals, IT professionals must first define what is crucial to defend. This requires prioritization – protecting what is most important to the business first and foremost. From there, it comes down to installing a company culture focused on security. This requires installing operational discipline and situational awareness into the employee base and establishing countermeasures and protocols to follow in the event of an emergency.

Agent Clarke urged that companies should simply assume the security breach is coming, and act accordingly. He recommended pursuing tabletop exercises, where IT professionals set aside time to discuss emergency protocols with all high-level executives. Planning for the worst-case scenario ahead of time is what will help ensure stronger IT security.

How to Attract, Retain and Advance Women in Leadership Roles in Transportation

The need for more women in the transportation industry is obvious – today, women only make up 10 percent of top executives and 14 percent of board seats. Ellen Voie, president and CEO of Women in Trucking, expressed to attendees that this is a huge, missed opportunity. There’s a clear correlation between high-level female executives and business success, as firms with the best records for promoting women have 34 percent higher overall profits when compared to industry medians.

To recruit and retain more women in transportation, Voie recommended closely tracking recruitment, hiring and promotional data and analyzing that insight for gender bias. She also suggested changing up the language used in job recruitment posts to be more appealing to women. It’s also crucial to align diversity strategy with talent strategy and focus on culture first –  a supportive culture is a requirement before companies can truly advance diversity initiatives.

Compliance and Regulatory Update


Our resident compliance expert, Tom Cuthbertson joined FMCSA Director Joe DeLorenzo to discuss the latest regulatory changes and how they will impact drivers. This session was jam-packed, with standing room only, and attendees were encouraged to ask questions throughout the entire presentation. Customers weighed-in about the impact of the mandate while others asked questions to ensure that their temporarily exempt devices are ELD-certified by December of 2019. Other customer questions and FAQs were focused on rest breaks and the confusion around enforcement between AOBRD and ELD.

In addition to these sessions, we had several breakouts throughout the day focused on Omnitracs One. This allowed customers to gain a deeper understanding of how Omnitracs enables them to access our platform using their existing hardware. Our training programs with Omnitracs experts allowed customers to answer all their burning questions surrounding hours of service (HOS) basics and using our XRS solutions. We also tackled the data dilemma in a session hosted by our own Deb Gaskill, senior strategic implementation consultant, and David Julian, director of distribution and routing of Breakthru Beverage.

Thanks to all of our employees, customers and partners for making today a success. We look forward to seeing everyone again tomorrow! Stay tuned for more updates from our conference and make sure to follow us on social media: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

What was your favorite topic from today? Share it with our team.