In support of Schneider Downs’ many clients in the transportation and logistics industry, we sent a delegation to attend the American Trucking Association’s (ATA) National Accounting and Finance Council (NAFC) Annual Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina from June 5 through 7, 2018. This was the first stand-alone conference in many years for the NAFC after being included in ATA’s Annual MCE Conference in the past. It was a rousing success with a wide variety of educational and informative topics related to the industry.
The conference included sessions on the following topics:
- Adapting to Changes in Tax Policy
- Mergers and Acquisitions in Transportation
- Productive Solutions to Cyber Risk and Threat Vulnerabilities
- The Future of Supply Chains and Why We Should All Embrace Blockchain Technology
- Reducing Risk and Improving Insurance Loss Cost
- Economic Trends in Trucking Amidst Policy Changes
Our delegation was thoroughly impressed by the quality of all presentations. Each session provided timely, relevant content presented by professional, knowledgeable industry experts, without exception. One session we found to be particularly insightful was that pertaining to blockchain technology. Tyler Jenks, SVP of Solutions Architecture from Very, LLC, presented the first half of the blockchain session. Mr. Jenks provided perhaps the most understandable explanation we’ve witnessed of how blockchain technology works, replete with witty commentary and relatable examples of this technology in practice. Dale Chrystie, VP for Strategic Planning & Support at FedEx Freight, took this a step further in the second half of the presentation, providing real-world examples of how his organization has implemented this technology in its current operations and where he sees it adding additional benefits in the future.
But the highlight of the conference for us was the keynote address by Chris Spear, the President and CEO of the ATA. For over an hour, Mr. Spear shared his insights on the current industry landscape and the organization’s legislative initiatives. His vision of the industry’s future is at once optimistic, yet grounded strongly in reality. One interesting thought he shared was how he believes autonomous vehicle technology will lead to a “Driver Assist” model, not a driver replacement. He compared this to commercial airlines, which continue to employ pilots even though they have for some time utilized autopilot technology to perform much of the flying.
The NAFC Board of Directors has plans to expand group membership and provide several educational sessions and webinars over the coming year. These could provide great opportunities for the accounting and finance team at your transportation and logistics company to obtain industry specific training.
The Schneider Downs Transportation and Logistics team will continue to be involved with the NAFC and will keep you up to date on these future activities. If you would like to learn more about the organization, you can visit its website at www.trucking.org/National_Accounting_Council.aspx.