Exciting vs. Scary
Railroads are staring into the face a boogeyman: Autonomous Trucking
It doesn’t really matter what your view is on the subject, whether you are for it, or against it. The unsettling reality is that automated trucking is likely to be inevitable. And probably for trains, too, in some capacity.
Technology always wins. Always.
Enter the Luddites – who destroyed stuff
Never heard of them. Here’s a little slice of history as excerpted from Wikipedia:
“The Luddites were a group of English textile workers and weavers in the 19th century who destroyed weaving machinery as a form of protest. The group was protesting the use of machinery in a “fraudulent and deceitful manner” to get around standard labour practices. Luddites feared that the time spent learning the skills of their craft would go to waste as machines would replace their role in the industry. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luddite)”
I think you know how this eventually turned out.
Cotton gins, self check-out, robotic welding, the eventual outcome is clear. Despite potential PAC efforts and maybe some delays, technological change in the form of significant automation is coming. Technological progress is both inherently deflationary and inevitable.
Scared or Excited?
The rail industry has much hallowed ground. History, tradition, and heritage weigh heavily on the positions the rail industry takes regarding progress. Many times, this manifests as protective corporate behaviors to preserve the-way-we’ve-always-done-it. But not always.
The businesses and railroads that have had or continue to have the most remarkable lives are ones that find a way to make change work. Progress is intentional, thoughtful and imaginative. The rail industry is perfectly positioned to continue re-imagining how business is done and reap the financial benefits of doing so. Peeking into other industries that are transforming, helps.
At PST, we’re fortunate enough to be at the nexus of the necessary and the probable. With input from our customers, we are helping to facilitate intentional, controlled, productive change, by building solutions to embrace technological eventualities. And, some may even create new ways of doing business for railroads.
Why should the rail industry wait for changes to happen to it? Collectively, we can make the changes happen to the industry. Imaginative problem solving and pragmatic evaluations always create new opportunities and new ways of magnifying business.
That is the definition of professional excitement. Why wouldn’t you want to be part of that?