The American Way: How Manufacturers and Motor Carriers Remained Resilient in Adversity

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July 7, 2022

The last two years have proven to be unusually volatile, even for the roller-coaster-ready manufacturing, consumer products, and truckload industries. The need for essentials like baby formula, face masks, cleansing wipes, and other consumer products soared, but accessibility to these items was still restricted during the height of the pandemic, while many families remained under lockdown. As states reopened and vaccines became available, however, the immediate health and safety concerns surrounding the pandemic subsided. Thus, consumers gradually began to venture out and widespread economic recovery bloomed across the nation.

Rising rates of consumer demand ignited an economic resurgence that appeared to be promising in late 2021, especially for manufacturers in the consumer products sector. The Consumer Brands Association (CBA), has been essential in providing support and advocating on behalf of the companies responsible for the production of the food, beverage, household, and personal care products that Americans depend on every day. However, as e-commerce rates continued to soar, the manufacturing, consumer product, and truckload industries were met with a new set of unique challenges and shortages to overcome.

It’s not just one shortage we’re seeing…it’s everything from labor, to ingredients, to equipment, and parts. We’re seeing shortages across the board, making it that much harder to deliver these products to our distributors and consumers in a timely manner. It’s impossible to ignore because we, as the consumer, are seeing and experiencing those shortages too.

- Ellen Davis, Executive Vice President, Industry Engagement, CBA

To continue meeting consumers’ needs, the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) collaborated with its members to respond to the challenges presented during and after the pandemic. For instance, during the national hand sanitizer shortage, PCPC and its members successfully advocated for the FDA to allow non-traditional manufacturers to produce hand sanitizers. Soon after, cosmetics and personal care product companies quickly pivoted and refitted their factories to increase hand sanitizer production and supply, leading to more than 20 million units of hand sanitizer being donated to hospitals, community clinics, first responders, retail customers, and more. Despite challenges, PCPC remains optimistic about the future of the cosmetics and personal care industry.

For more than a century, the cosmetics and personal care products industry has provided significant well-being and economic value to society, from employment opportunities to the benefits of good hygiene and self-esteem. By continuing to work together, I am optimistic that we can make inroads on addressing some of society’s biggest challenges while also helping our companies prosper.

- Mark Pollak, Senior Executive Vice President, PCPC

Supply, demand, and product production are only part of the equation, though. Manufacturers still need reliable carriers and logistics companies to ensure timely deliveries to distributors across the country, despite seeing record-breaking turnover rates in 2021. Just last year, the motor carrier industry reported a shortage of over 80,000 drivers - with an additional 300,000 leaving the industry each year due to displacement, or retirement. The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has taken a proactive stance in working to combat labor shortages in the motor carrier industry by redefining what it means to be a truck driver in America.

Most people think of a truck driver, and they immediately think of an outdated caricature. Someone wearing a baseball cap and a t-shirt, getting paid to deliver a big shipment of items to a distributor … but in reality, truck drivers are the unsung heroes of our nation.

- David Heller, Senior Vice President of Government and Safety Affairs, TCA

On average, the products we consume travel roughly 1,500 miles before they reach our doorstep. If you think about it, nearly every product you’ve purchased has made a similar journey on a truck at some point, making America’s economic infrastructure heavily reliant on truck drivers for the transportation of goods across state lines. In fact, 80% of the country is entirely dependent on trucking for daily deliveries of essential goods like food, water, fuel, medicine, personal protective equipment, and vaccines.

Now, TCA is determined to generate more interest in the truck driving profession and begin recruiting the next generation of truck drivers by giving these professionals the long-awaited recognition they deserve as essential workers in the American economy. In July of 2021, TCA partnered with LaunchIt Public Relations to develop and execute the #TruckloadStrong initiative. In addition to reshaping the image of the trucking industry, the #TruckloadStrong initiative also showcases the industry’s commitment to:

  • Promoting truck driver safety and security
  • Using technology to improve efficiency and driver quality of life
  • Recognizing f the generosity of the industry through driver goodwill and carrier community outreach
  • Advancing the profession of truckload carriers and emphasizing its essentiality in the U.S. economy

Since 1938, TCA has taken pride in advocating on behalf of truckload carrier professionals by providing its members with educational programs, government affairs support, profitability benchmarking, networking opportunities, and live events. In the future, TCA hopes to close the gap in labor shortages by opening the industry to women, veterans, and younger drivers, who are currently largely restricted from entering the profession.

Despite changes in consumer behavior, high turnover rates, labor, product, and equipment shortages - the manufacturing, consumer products, and truckload carrier industries have remained adaptable, resilient, and eager to continue their work as positive agents of change in the American economy.

 

About CBA:
The Consumer Brands Association (CBA) champions the industry whose products Americans depend on every day, representing nearly 2,000 iconic brands. From household and personal care to food and beverage products, the consumer packaged goods industry plays a vital role in powering the U.S. economy, contributing $2 trillion to U.S. GDP and supporting more than 20 million American jobs.

About PCPC:
Founded in 1894, the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) is the leading national trade association representing cosmetics and personal care products companies and serving as the voice on scientific, legal, regulatory, legislative, and international issues for the $484.1 billion global industry.

About TCA:
Located in Alexandria, VA TCA is the only trade association whose sole focus is the truckload segment of the motor carrier industry. The association represents dry van, refrigerated, flatbed, tanker, and intermodal container carriers operating throughout North America. Founded in 1938, the TCA represents operators of nearly 210,000 trucks, which collectively produce revenue of more than $38 billion in annual truckload revenue.

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