As 2022 comes to a close, TruckNews.com reached out to several trucking industry executives to ask about the biggest challenge their fleets will face in the coming year, and how they plan to address these issues.
In this instalment Gene Orlick, president of Alberta-headquartered Orlicks Inc., offers his insights.
Q1. What is the single greatest challenge that your business will face in 2023?
I have given this a lot of thought, and I feel that the biggest issue in Orlicks’ business for the next year is labor. Not just the imminent driver shortage due to the demographic swing, and us baby boomers, but the support staff, dispatchers, CSR’s, accounting clerks, mechanics, safety personnel, and more.
My business has doubled in size over the past three years, Covid years, and I have firsthand experience in not being able to find staff for all departments. Case in point: I, the president, have been dispatching for nine weeks in a row.
Q2. What steps are you taking to address that challenge?
We have kept up with wages in all areas of the company, and recently [introduced] more pay raises to support [team members] in their fight with inflation. I am comfortable with my current staff staying on as they are mostly long-term employees and have done well and enjoy our culture.
New hires are just not there, indicating that there is no recession on our doorstep – regardless of how hard the federal government is trying to push us into one with, again, raising interest rates, and thus cooling down the construction industry.
Orlicks is somewhat protected from that recessionary event as we are primarily [a hauler of] food and beverages. People drink and eat more in a recession, they say …