Trucking executive outlook: Michael Kotendzhi, 18 Wheels Logistics

As 2022 comes to an end, 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 installment, 18 Wheels Logistics co-owner Michael Kotendzhi offers his insights.

Michael Kotendzhi
Michael Kotendzhi, co-owner, 18 Wheels Logistics (Photo: Supplied)

Q1: What is the single greatest challenge that your business will face in 2023?

Our biggest challenge for 2023 is forecasting. With limited industrial warehouse space available across Canada, forecasting is key to the success of supply chain that requires distribution space.

Last year there were supply chain challenges due to Covid-19, shutdowns, shipping congestion [on the] ocean and road, pent-up demand, and rising costs. All of these factors meant we needed to be as agile as possible to keep up with demand and ensure our customers were receiving the best service possible. In 2022, in reaction to the supply chain challenges of last year, customers began to order product early to get ahead of the curve, which worked well — almost too well.  Most customers are adequately stocked with products and goods to service their clients. 

There is another factor that can add complexity to forecasting, which is getting visibility into our customers’ vendors and suppliers to ensure their products can be produced on time. For example, last year our customers were affected with the shortage of semi-conductors.

We see strong demand for 2023 due to the cost of shipping being reduced immensely for ocean imports. Products arriving to Canada are currently being transported at 20% of the costs of shipping last year. Distributors and consumer goods providers are utilizing this as an opportunity to increase volumes.

Q2: What steps are you taking to address that challenge?

The key will be to build even greater flexibility and agility into our supply chain solutions. Customers want flexibility to modulate volumes in response to the changes in demand. At the same time, they want price protection to ensure they can forecast their business operations. 

Disruptions are the new normal, from extreme weather to demand, supply, geopolitical tensions, commodity prices, and overall business dynamics. 

We need to create visibility channels to meet the needs of customers to spot challenges sooner than later. 

This proactive planning will help to ensure execution to meet demand. Another factor to help will be automation, ensuring our processes and warehouse facilities are using the best automation technology available and accelerating our value proposition to our customers. 

Digital transformation of our business in linking with our customer’s business will help with pre- and post-forecasting strategies which are beneficial to everyone.

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