What Is Business War Gaming?

What is Business War Gaming?

Business war gaming is an experiential group exercise where an organization can pressure test an existing strategy or create new strategies and ideas via role-playing the competitors’ strategy and mindset before making full-scale investments. War gaming is about shaking things up, challenging norms, and taking a fresh look at the market from the lens of other key players.

It’s helpful to point out how much we already instinctively know about what war gaming is. Have you ever observed a youth team sports practice — from football and basketball to soccer and volleyball? If so, you already know that the pinnacle of many practices is a scrimmage, when the overall team is split into two opposing sides to compete against each other.

Interestingly, smaller-scale corporate war games are also frequently referred to as scrimmages — often designed to take under a day to execute and focused primarily on one competitor or a specific business issue or scenario.

So to define business war gaming, consider what the average youth soccer scrimmage aims to accomplish. While the scrimmage is going on, team members who are normally on the same side are suddenly playing against each other as if they are the competitor, running plays and behaving as they would — sharpening both their offensive and defensive skills in the process. This setup results in a form of practical role-playing where players’ skills are tested and developed with the goal of honing them even further for game day.

How Does Business War Gaming Work?

Professionally led war gaming exercises from Proactive Worldwide typically involve a pre-game planning stage, the development of briefing books and finally, the war gaming workshop. With this comprehensive approach, nothing is left to chance. The pre-game planning helps to define the who, what, when and where of the upcoming workshop. Once the details of the war game objectives are mapped out, who will take part, what strategies will be tested, when the workshop will take place and where it will actually occur have been agreed upon, it’s time to develop a briefing book.

A briefing book is usually compiled of 20 pages or less and serves to prepare the participants for the workshop. The brevity of the book is intentional so that people actually read it in advance. It contains a baseline of information so that participants that will represent that company are equally up to date on both the market landscape and understand the mindset, characteristics, and culture of the company they will role play.

Subsequently, a full-scale war gaming exercise will commence with a home team and two or three competitor teams. In general, each team is comprised of five to eight cross-functional members. It’s essential to remember that not every competitor team needs to strictly be an adversarial company. One of the other teams role played may also be a regulatory body, a distributor or even a consumer group focused on customer experiences. Depending on the desired outcomes, this may be a one- or two-day event.

For a more detailed description of what war gaming is, which exercises are involved and what resources it requires, you’re invited to listen to David Kalinowski, Proactive Worldwide’s President and war gaming authority, describe the process in his own words in the following podcasts:

What Are the Benefits of War Gaming?

Business war gaming is an engaging, exciting, and energetic experience. Unlike any affirmatory exercise, war gaming is strategically set up to provide helpful insights for actionable strategic decision-making. With a skilled facilitator, at the end of a workshop you’ll be left with a number prioritized actions to help you win.

War gaming helps align an organization’s leadership, aid in strategic (and in some cases tactical) decision-making, better evaluate its alternative strategies and recognize its hidden opportunities to seize and real threats to blunt. To learn more about the enterprise-wide benefits of war gaming for your business, contact us today.

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Benefits of CI for the Pharmaceutical Industry

The average time associated with bringing a new drug to market hovers around 10 years — with six or seven of those years spent in clinical trials. As such, the risks for pharmaceutical companies looking for a good ROI on their R&D efforts have never been greater. Besides the millions — and in many cases billions — of dollars spent on new drug development, pharmaceutical companies must contend with a myriad of other tactical, strategic and talent issues to ultimately successfully meet their business objectives.

Of course, at the same time, the call for more personalized and/or specialized drugs is increasing — along with the scientific breakthroughs that are making them a reality. And with the global pharmaceutical industry expected to grow by 5.8 percent so its net worth will be in excess of $1,150 billion by 2021, pharmaceutical companies that get their product development right stand to do exceedingly well now and in the foreseeable future.

Much like a targeted treatment developed to improve a particular patient’s condition, competitive intelligence — or CI — can be the game-changer in helping a specific pharma manufacturer better pressure test its strategic plans and tactical moves before implementing them — thereby preventing errors and unforeseen surprises.

The Competitive Advantage of Pharma-Specific CI

With the rise of CI, several companies in the sector offer their services without taking a unique approach to the organizations and industries they aim to help. Fortunately, at Proactive Worldwide, our approach couldn’t be more different. We have a dedicated team of doctorate-level analysts specialized in pharmaceutical and healthcare engagements, and our CI services are hand-tailored to the pharmaceutical industry as well as to the unique needs of each company we serve.

Here are just a few of the many outstanding benefits pharma companies can expect to take advantage of by trusting our Proactive Worldwide team to supply them with customized CI services:

  • Prioritize R&D spending: Through deep analysis of competitors’ objectives, both unmet needs and gaps in R&D spending can be identified and better prioritized.
  • Track market actions: By tracking who’s entering or leaving a market due to issues such as licensing and M&A activities, an organization can proactively defend and/or increase its market presence.
  • Monitor medical conferences: From the planning stages through post-conference reporting, knowing which scientific developments are most likely to impact an organization’s business strategy makes medical conference monitoring a proven way of enhancing the likelihood of that strategy meeting with success.
  • Assess potential investment activities: With clear reporting of potential investment activity in its market sector, a pharma company is capable of deciphering its competitors’ plans with sufficient time to take any necessary strategic actions.
  • Evaluate sales and conversion rates: Equipped with multidimensional market research, a pharmaceutical manufacturer can responsibly evaluate and strengthen its sales force structure as well as its approach to converting potential leads into definite sales.

Proactive Worldwide — Providing Custom CI for the Pharma Sector

Combining Ph.D.-level medical experts with MBA-level business analysts is what makes our team at Proactive Worldwide so successful in the pharmaceutical sector. To discover how our pharma-specific CI services can give your company the competitive advantage it deserves, contact us today.

Why Invest in War Gaming?

If you’re new to business war gaming, the exciting news is that you’re not alone. War gaming is a human-based experiential tool that, through targeted role play, allows you to better understand your competitor’s mindset and pressure test your own strategies.

As Proactive Worldwide’s president and co-founder, David Kalinowski likes to say, “War gaming is an important strategic tool that a lot of companies aren’t using as they ought to.” And this is a crucial point to consider when executive decision-makers need every competitive advantage they can get to ensure their business strategies meet with success.

To put this scenario into perspective, imagine what would happen if a finish carpenter chose not to use a tape measure. Without the aid of a tape measure, pieces of raw materials like molding and baseboards would wind up being cut too short or too long. The result would be extra costs for more materials and labor — plus, an end product that’s far less likely to be as appealing as if the carpenter used the tape measure in the first place.

Simply put, by overlooking a useful tool, a finish carpenter could very well jeopardize present and future business opportunities. And by comparison, war gaming is a proven tool that, when used properly under the guidance of an experienced competitive intelligence — or CI — firm like Proactive Worldwide, creates simulated attacks and defenses that leave your people far more knowledgeable about their own capabilities and preparedness to successfully thwart competitors’ activities.

War Gaming: An Investment in Successful Business Strategy

With more than two decades of experience in CI and facilitating engaging war gaming workshops, Kalinowski has repeatedly seen how this strategic tool can have a huge ROI for organizations that want to thoroughly pressure test their business strategies before implementing them. If you’re interested, you’re encouraged to listen to his thoughts on war gaming firsthand in Proactive Worldwide’s new Business Intelligence podcast.

In meeting the challenges of both strategic situations — like dealing with market disruptions and regulatory changes — and tactical situations — like product launches and new market entries — the investment in war gaming can be one of the most prudent business decisions you make. Here are just a few of its most important benefits:

  • Align leadership: War gaming helps business unit and functional leaders develop aligned strategies and prioritized actions to address the competitive landscape they’re facing.
  • Increase probability of success: By playing out competitors’ actions, strategies become more robust and more likely to meet with success.
  • Evaluate alternative strategies: To help neutralize threats and mitigate risks, alternative strategies can be identified and thoroughly evaluated.
  • Recognize opportunities: Otherwise hidden or unnoticed opportunities can be more readily discovered and exploited.
  • Bring cross-functional people together: When professionals from strategy, sales, operations and distribution — to name just a few — come together during war gaming, siloed knowledge and communication barriers are transcended.
  • Help successful strategy implementation: When it’s time to execute strategy, involving war game participants helps ensure better implementation, as those people feel more invested in the decision-making process.

To learn more about business war gaming broken down by industry for unparalleled strategic planning results, contact us today.

Proactive Worldwide Will Moderate a Roundtable and Host a Workshop at IntelliSummit™ April 2019

Schaumburg, Illinois, March 20, 2019

Jeff Mansfield, Senior Vice President of Consumer and Industrial Goods at Proactive Worldwide, will moderate a roundtable discussion and host a user conference workshop at IntelliSummit™, which will be held on April 10 through April 12 in Stockholm, Sweden.

Held annually in Stockholm, IntelliSummit™ is a three-day competitive intelligence — or CI — conference that brings together CI professionals from around the world. Organized by Comintelli and sponsored by Intelligence2day®, the event offers outstanding opportunities for networking, learning and giving back, as well as inspiring and drawing inspiration from intelligence leaders and fellow CI professionals.

On April 11, Mansfield will moderate a roundtable discussion titled “Managing expectations in a changing CI world.” The conversation will center on what best practices have proven to be most successful in CI. In addition, it will focus on how leaders’ expectations are changing as a result of disruptive business models, as well as how CI professionals can effectively manage those expectations.

On April 12, Mansfield will host the user conference workshop “How to set up early warnings within Intelligence2day®.” He’ll discuss how an early warning process functions, what elements it requires to be successful and the various forms of indicator classifications. He’ll also explain how to bring all of these concepts into Intelligence2day®.

As an expert qualitative and quantitative researcher, Mansfield possesses more than 13 years of experience providing high-quality decision support services. He’s well-versed in strategic planning, international business practices and value chain analysis across a broad range of industries. In addition, he’s highly skilled at overseeing many different types of global projects including private company profiles, logistics and distribution, supply chain analyses, industry trends, product launches, pre-merger and acquisition due diligence, pricing analyses, facility assessments, ongoing monitoring assessments, product development and benchmarking.

About Proactive Worldwide

Proactive Worldwide is a global research and strategic intelligence organization that has been providing data-driven, actionable information within the competitive intelligence, market intelligence and customer insights domains for well over 22 years. Our highly skilled professionals offer a wide selection of services, including scenario planning events, competitive research, user experience studies, competitor assessments, market entry and defense strategies and war gaming simulations. All of our services are based on primary source research. For more information, contact us online.

President of Proactive Worldwide Will Host a Workshop at SCIP 100/200 Boot Camp

David Kalinowski, President

Schaumburg, Illinois, March 1, 2019

David Kalinowski, President of Proactive Worldwide, will host the workshop “Foundations in Competitive Intelligence” at SCIP 100/200 Boot Camp, which will take place in Baltimore, Maryland on March 27 and 28, 2019.

The boot camp is an interactive event that’s intended to give participants the opportunity to learn and interact with one another as a part of their professional development. The workshops will teach them the core competencies that are needed to achieve intelligence-enhanced decision-supporting capabilities.

The workshop “Foundations in Competitive Intelligence” fulfills the requirements for the CAP-I Certification. Designed for professionals in search of a refresher course and individuals who are new to competitive intelligence (CI), it’s full of practical takeaways about the fundamentals of CI. When these fundamentals are consistently applied, they contribute significantly to organizational success. Workshop participants will hear stories, watch videos and discuss case studies, as well as participate in role playing and other breakout exercises.

After completing the workshop, participants will know how to implement an intelligence capability model to build their CI function, and they’ll understand the various strategies for managing stakeholder expectations. They’ll gain insights into conducting primary and secondary research and learn about constructing a network. They’ll also develop and practice their analytical skills, outline the various components of an Early Warning program and know how to demonstrate the value of competitive intelligence.

With nearly 30 years of experience in research, competitive intelligence and consulting, Kalinowski oversees all of Proactive Worldwide’s consulting services. He regularly lead numerous successful engagements for domestic and international organizations. In addition, as an expert in CI Function Development and Counterintelligence, he regularly advises executive boards — plus, he frequently acts as a facilitator at war gaming events for strategic leadership teams. He’s a dynamic presenter and a 2005 recipient of the SCIP’s Catalyst Award.

About Proactive Worldwide

Proactive Worldwide, Inc., is a global strategic intelligence and research firm that has been providing data-driven, useful information within the domains of customer insights, market intelligence and competitive intelligence to its clients for more than 23 years. Its professionals offer services that include but aren’t limited to competitor research and assessment, user experience studies, customer experience studies, war gaming simulations, market entry and defense strategies, and scenario planning events. For more information, get in touch with us today.

Proactive Worldwide Will Present at the CAS 2019 Ratemaking, Product and Modeling Seminar & Workshops

David Kalinowski, President

Schaumburg, Illinois, March 1, 2019

David Kalinowski, President of Proactive Worldwide, will be co-hosting with Jeffrey Jablonski of Erie Insurance the workshop “Implement a Strategic Early Warning Program to Mitigate Risk and Seize Opportunities” during the CAS 2019 Ratemaking, Product and Modeling (RPM) Seminar & Workshops, which will take place in Boston from March 25-27, 2019.

The RPM seminar will offer underwriters, actuaries and other insurance professionals the opportunity to stay current with industry developments and further their ongoing education. In addition, the seminar will also provide a networking platform, as well as a venue for a range of exhibitors to demonstrate their knowledge and services.

The workshop “Implement a Strategic Early Warning Program to Mitigate Risk and Seize Opportunities” will be held at 10:15am on March 26th and is intended to educate participants on how to avoid unpleasant surprises and identify high-potential opportunities by implementing a Strategic Early Warning program. This will enable them to monitor disruptive strategies and emerging threats, as well as track significant indicators, drivers, weak signals and other external forces that could impact their organizations’ current and future view of the market — something that’s essential to building greater business value.

As Kalinowski will explain, Strategic Early Warning programs enable organizations to protect themselves against both expected and unexpected competitive and market developments. They alert decision makers to crucial market developments, which allows them to minimize threats and seize opportunities before their competition. This is critical to survive and to thrive in today’s competitive insurance marketplace.

Kalinowski has nearly 30 years of experience in research, competitive intelligence and consulting. As such, he has spearheaded numerous engagements for both domestic and international organizations. Executive boards regularly seek him out for his expertise in CI Function Development and War Gaming. He’s an engaging, dynamic facilitator and a 2005 recipient of the SCIP’s Catalyst Award.

About Proactive Worldwide

Proactive Worldwide, Inc. is an international strategic intelligence and research company that delivers data-driven, insightful information within the domains of market intelligence, competitive intelligence and customer insights. For more than 23 years, our professionals have been providing a wide range of services that are anchored in primary source research, including but not limited to market entry and defense strategies, competitor research and assessments, scenario planning events, user experience studies, customer experience studies and war gaming simulations. Contact us today for more information.

Proactive Worldwide Will Speak at and Sponsor the 2019 SIR Spring Research Workshops Summit

David Kalinowski, President

Schaumburg, Illinois, March 1, 2019

Proactive Worldwide is proud to be a sponsor of the 2019 SIR Spring Research Workshops Summit in Chicago, Illinois from March 4 through March 6, 2019. In addition, David Kalinowski, President of Proactive Worldwide, and Anne Ellis, J.D., Director of Quality Assurance at Proactive Worldwide, will both host workshops.

The insurance landscape is continuously becoming more complex, and there are increasingly more data sets of research and competitive intelligence available. It’s critical for insurance professionals to continue to educate themselves and acquire the skills needed to analyze and gain insights into their environment, and then link that knowledge to strategic or tactical decision making.

The 2019 SIR Spring Research Workshops Summit will feature a series of presentations and hands-on experiences specifically designed to enhance and expand insurance professionals’ skills sets. In general, workshops will discuss primary research, secondary research, business and competitive intelligence and financial analysis, as well as development and presentation of findings. There will also be opportunities for attendees to network with peers and presenters.

Kalinowski’s 3-hour workshop is titled “Leveraging War Games for Competitive Advantage” and will take place on Tuesday, March 5th. Participants will learn how to apply war games to analyze competitor activities and have the opportunity to practice what they’ve learned in a war room battle theater. By immediately putting their newly acquired knowledge into action, participants will gain an in-depth understanding of the value of war games so they can conduct them in their own settings.

Kalinowski possesses nearly 30 years of experience in research and consulting in the field of competitive intelligence. During that time, he has led hundreds of successful engagements, both within the United States and internationally. His expertise on counterintelligence and war gaming is highly sought after and has been speaking at SIR events for the past 8 years. A dynamic presenter and facilitator, he is the recipient of SCIP’s Catalyst Award.

“Creating Professional Presentations From Storyboarding to Data” Co-Hosted by Anne Ellis

Anne Ellis will be co-hosting with Ed Cimoch of State Farm the workshop “Creating Professional Presentations from Storyboarding to Data” on Wednesday, March 6. Participants will learn how to present data and analytics in a visually engaging manner that captures the attention of the C-suite. At the end of the workshop, participants will edit an existing presentation using their newly acquired knowledge.

Ellis has more than 20 years of experience in adult education and professional publishing. At Proactive Worldwide, she oversees content development and ensures all publications meet the organization’s world-class standards. A graduate of George Washington University in Washington, D.C., she is admitted to practice before the Illinois bar, as well as before the Supreme Court.

About Proactive Worldwide

Proactive Worldwide, Inc. is a global strategic intelligence and research company that has been delivering data-driven, practical information within the customer insights, market intelligence and competitive intelligence domains for more than 23 years. Our multilingual professionals provide our clients with a range of services such as competitive research, competitor assessments, user experience studies, customer experience studies, scenario planning events, war gaming simulations, and market entry and defense strategies — all founded in primary source research. To learn more, contact us today.

Proactive Worldwide Will Present at Pharma CI Europe in Basel, Switzerland

Aaron Derdowski, Ph.D. Pharma CI Europe March 2019

Schaumburg, Illinois, February 26, 2019

Vice President, Health Care & Life Sciences of Proactive Worldwide Aaron Derdowski, Ph.D., will be sharing his expertise in a presentation titled “The Asset Journey: Optimizing Tools and Personnel to Maximize ROI from CI Throughout” at Pharma CI Europe in Basel, Switzerland on Wednesday, March 6, 2019.

Making regulatory predictions is highly dependent on a myriad of variables throughout the lifecycle of drug development — also referred to as the asset journey. Each step has its own unique questions, challenges and indicators that can be leveraged to forecast the drug’s expected impact on the relevant therapeutic landscape.

Dr. Derdowski will provide an overview of the tools, key personnel, and strategies needed to successfully monitor specific steps of the asset journey. Regardless of the specific therapeutic area, by implementing the right combination of experienced, knowledgeable professionals and suitable tools, organizations can achieve maximum ROI when they perform competitive monitoring in the drug development sector.

With the average new drug taking a minimum of 10 years and costing $2.6 billion to develop, pharmaceutical companies need to be aware of all of the variables that could impact the development and commercialization of a new product. In his presentation, Derdowski will highlight the concerns and considerations of each stage, as well as the strategies and tools organizations can use to navigate them. Attendees will gain a greater understanding of the factors that can impact the realization and success of their products.

Proactive Worldwide has extensive experience in the pharmaceutical sector, leading numerous pharmaceutical engagements for some of the industry’s key players. This expertise, along with primary evidence-based research, is critical to providing insights into the pharmaceutical landscape of today and tomorrow.

Derdowski coordinates client and research management for a variety of pharmaceutical, life sciences and healthcare engagements ranging from small, immediate projects to long-term worldwide ones. He has spearheaded more than 200 engagements and possesses a high level of expertise in the tracking pharmaceutical development.

About Proactive Worldwide

Proactive Worldwide, Inc. is an international strategic intelligence and research consulting firm. It provides its clients with data-driven, constructive information that falls within the customer intelligence, competitive intelligence and market intelligence domains. With a solid foundation in primary source research, Proactive Worldwide’s professionals have been assisting clients with competitor assessments, competitive research services, market entry and defense strategies, customer experience studies, user experience studies, scenario planning events and war gaming simulations. For more information, contact us today.

A Year in the Life of Strategic Planning: Create an Annual Strategic Planning Cycle that Supports Key Roles and Builds Up to a Strong Finish

The first article in our Strategic Planning series discusses how Competitive Intelligence can and should adapt depending on the type of strategic planning model your business employs. Our second piece focuses on constructive CI research queries that help your business target specific issues unique to your enterprise, thus gaining more insightful reporting relating to strategic goals.

We turn next to the concept of setting up CI research building blocks to both monitor progress and propel strategic planning endeavors forward throughout the year. Every quarter, corporate divisions should be working toward specific objectives that build on one another to serve the overarching corporate strategic planning cycle, and by extension, the overall good of the corporation. Under this strategic planning process umbrella, the overall corporate strategic plan must take its cues, so to speak, from each of these divisions’ annual plans. Each of these divisional entities should develop a routine cadence tied to quarterly CI reporting, with specific deliverables being aimed at the strategic planning development stages in the latter parts of the year.

Quarterly business performance indicators within each division are gleaned from several competitive intelligence functions, including, 1) pressure testing competitive strategies; 2) competitive and marketing intelligence reporting; 3) customer insights; and 4) competitive monitoring and alerts. Bearing in mind that a quarterly business review of business performance is essential to keeping everyone on track throughout the year, let’s break down what an annual strategic planning cycle looks like when it leverages these four CI functions:

Q1 – The first quarter cycle places most of its emphasis on research and preparation. During this Q1 cycle, business units put all four of the above CI functions in play to 1) facilitate business war games; 2) create a market entry assessment; 3) develop a customized comparative journey map; and 4) begin the work of timely and relevant insight into market movements, competitors and conferences.

Q2 – In this cycle, research and preparation continues, with BUs taking on more in-depth examinations based on the high-level corporate findings from the previous quarter. Strategic planning now moves into scenario workshops and refinement, with CI functions from Q1 serving as the foundation for additional CI functions that 1) facilitate these workshops; and 2) build new competitor profiles.

Q3 – The third quarter activity takes the intelligence gains from the previous two quarters and progresses toward developing the overall corporate strategic plan itself, with BUs taking up key roles in helping to devise that plan. This work gets a boost from more targeted CI functions that 1) develop a competitor function profile; and 2) create a customer usability study. By the third quarterly business review, all BU stakeholders and management will have a much clearer strategic direction going into the fourth quarter.

Q4 – Once the strategic planning cycle reaches the fourth quarter, a key CI pressure testing component is added, in which BUs develop their own key performance indicators. Throughout the year, competitive monitoring, alerts, and ongoing intelligence functions culminate in a final review communicating cumulative gains based on the strategic planning effort, down through the ranks as well as up the ladder in a board review setting.

One key rule to remember is that your strategic planning process is never really complete. The goal is to repeat the cycle and continually improve over time. Transparency, adherence to a set schedule, and developing reliable KPIs that build up to strong yearly results are excellent ways to stay on this progressive path.

About Proactive Worldwide, Inc.
Proactive Worldwide, Inc. is a global research and strategic intelligence consulting firm that provides evidence-based, constructive information within the competitive intelligence, market intelligence, and customer insights domains. Anchored by primary source research for over 22 years, PWW’s multilingual professionals assist clients with offerings that include but are not limited to market intelligence and competitive research services, market entry and defense strategies, war gaming workshops and scenario planning events, and customer experience and voice of customer studies.

Changes Will Continue to Impact the Trucking and Shipping Industry in 2019

The transportation and freight industry affects nearly all other industries, so it’s important to be aware of new innovations in that industry. Technology already has – and will continue to have – an enormous influence on the way the trucking industry operates. Here are just two possibilities:

  • What if you knew that there would be a lack of shipping capacity two years before it happened?
  • What would happen if you could move product to customers faster than competitors?

Foresight is critical to a company’s competitive strategy and seeing potential future market changes helps keep businesses’ competitive intelligence functions high on the priority list.

A retiring workforce, new regulations, and equipment shortages have created capacity constraints and are likely years away from being solved. There are several trends that have significant impacts on the way goods are transported. Competitive intelligence functions help identify these potential changes and suggest ways to use them to a company’s advantage.

Here are four innovative trends in the trucking space and why they should matter to you:

On-Demand Freight
Technology will continue to advance in every market, and trucking and freight will be no exception. On-Demand Freight Services simplify the way drivers and customers connect. The concept is simple: companies/users find and connect with service providers quickly, easily, and transparently through websites and mobile apps. Making connections this way streamlines the logistics process for low and medium-volume customers, and it removes the need for middlemen, usually 3PLs and other transportation brokers. For example, Uber Freight has transformed the industry with their product, and there are others on the way, including UPS, which launched an on-demand fulfillment networked geared towared B2B e-commerce, matching customers with available warehouse space.

Above all, on-demand applications connect shippers (or owners/operators) to customers directly. As adoption and use accelerates, shipping dynamics will quickly change the way companies transfer products to customers.

Why it Matters
Currently, the use of these services is modest; however, as they develop, local shipments across the country (e.g., less than 300 miles) will see activity. The technology has the capability to deliver products to market faster and improve the execution of just-in-time delivery capabilities.

  • Reducing the number of steps between the customer and shipper can change industry dynamics quickly. The technology under development is seeking to make this a reality.
  • These applications can provide owners/operators further control of the freight market, leading to a notable power shift in the industry (think Porter’s 5 Forces).
  • This technology has the potential to trigger new economic models for investors and companies seeking to support acceleration in this venue.

Electric Trucks
Most organizations understand the implications of electrically powered trucks; however, it’s probably unlikely that those who make strategic decisions have had an in-depth discussion of the advantages and disadvantages.

Electically powered trucks, while still under development, have the potential to change the cost structure of transporting goods. Fuel costs are commonly identified as the second highest cost, outside of driver compensation, to a fleet’s operation and are shared with customers (and consumers). Electric vehicles reduce or eliminate fuel costs in dramatic ways. In fact, many oil companies are closely monitoring the electrification market to determine the potential impact it will have on the U.S. gasoline and diesel market. If the technology advances, it can dramatically change the cost structure of moving cargo.

Why it Matters
Companies that offer price structures that no longer have fuel as the primary cost-driver can be dramatically different. Those who adopt them also put pressure on organizations that are not prepared to change.

Industries that rely on “business as normal” in the trucking space can see change in many industry segments. Truck-component suppliers, fuel companies, service/repair businesses, and insurance companies are just a few that will be impacted initially. Once the technology is proven, the market shift will happen quickly.

New companies may quickly enter the space and as non-industry players enter, it can instantly change the definition of who might be a competitor. Electrification can be a barrier-lowering event and can upend the market as well as create new opportunities.

New services and infrastructure will be necessary to support electrically powered vehicle operations.

Autonomous Trucks & Vans
With organizations like Freightliner showcasing trucks that have passive drivers and others pushing for completely driverless solutions, the way that we currently deliver freight will change dramatically. The change will not be overnight, but as acceptance grows and confidence builds, change will accelerate. Several organizations are testing autonomous trucking solutions. Most notable and successful have been autonomous vans delivering groceries and small parcels to homes. These small-scale delivery examples can help pave the way for larger applications. Success in the use of autonomous automotive vehicles in the private sector will accelerate their use in trucking.

The economic impact of autonomous trucking makes the likelihood of its success more about when, not if. Consumer demand for receiving products faster is higher than ever and organizations desire to keep costs of inventorying product low. Autonomous trucks help make that a reality.

Why it matters
The ability to circumvent bottlenecks in the transportation industry today (driver shortages, fuel costs, driver hour limitations) can drastically change a fleet’s strategy and cost structure. This affects both companies operating in the space and companies using carriers for business.

Semi-autonomous vehicles, which are expected to be mainstream prior to full driverless technologies, can impact the industry just as much. Semi-autonomous trucks/vans can increase operation times, improve safety, and optimize fuel consumption. Companies having these tools first or as part of the strategy moving forward is beneficial for lowering fleet costs or rates to customers.

Similar to the use of electrically powered vehicles, autonomous trucking can impact companies that have operational strategies that do not adjust for change. Playing a role in how the industry develops (versus sitting on the sideline) can tilt elements in some organizations’ favor.

Driverless or semi-driverless environments will require investments, new ways of looking at the freight market, and technology integration that brings rewards.

Industry Consolidation on the Horizon
With the bottlenecks of driver shortages, hours available, and rising costs of operation , consolidation in the trucking and freight space is expected to accelerate in 2019. Although, it’s not only freight companies that will see change; the growth of technology, 3PLs, 4PLs, and telematics companies creates significant consolidation opportunities. Technology and telematics companies are of particular interest because they already offer sophisticated solutions and have a captive customer base. Acquisition of these players by OEMs, freight companies, or non-industry players will dramatically enhance available and future solutions.

Why it matters
For those operating in the market, competitive threats can quickly change and escalate, and acquisitions of technology providers can be significant.

It’s expected that large companies will get larger. Owning more of the value chain or shoring-up capability gaps/ coverage is expected as companies pursue lowering costs or eliminating bottlenecks.

Consolidation can bring chaos or interesting opportunities.

What to Consider
Here are some considerations to think about when seeking to connect competitive intelligence to the critical topic of transportation and logistics:

  • Understand what your organization is doing regarding freight strategies and the possible opportunities the future holds. Chances are, topics like on-demand freight and consolidation may not be high frequency topics, although they should be.
  • Identify whether your competition has adopted strategies to address new technology, such as electrification or on-demand freight technology in their businesses and, if you can, how it has worked for them. Early warnings here can make huge differences.
  • Identify potential disruption risks in customer markets. How much exposure do your customers have? What percentage of your business do these customers represent?
  • Analyze and monitor the market for major events, technology advancements, M&As, JVs, or product launches that can inform leadership of large market shifts. Pay particular attention to companies like Amazon or Uber making acquisitions. Many of these topics are changing the barriers to entry.
  • Explore what investments are essential for the success of autonomous trucks/vans and determine how your organization can align investments. Initial investments can be minimal; however, when the technology is proven, preparation will allow for quick investment decisions that can put an organization well ahead of the competition.
  • Most importantly, consider how your organization can turn this trend into a competitive advantage.

Technological changes accelerate rapidly in today’s world, and trucking and delivery organizations need to consider a myriad of options as this article suggests, but decision-makers have businesses to run. Proactive Worldwide is in business to help lighten the load.

About Proactive Worldwide, Inc.
Proactive Worldwide, Inc. is a global research and strategic intelligence consulting firm that provides evidence-based, constructive information within the competitive-intelligence, market-intelligence, and customer-insights domains. Anchored by primary-source research for over 22 years, PWW’s multilingual professionals assist clients with offerings that include – but are not limited to – market intelligence and competitive research services, market-entry and defense strategies, war-gaming workshops and scenario-planning events, and customer-experience and voice-of-customer studies. To learn more, visit http://www.proactiveworldwide.com.