Getting ready for changing times

Justin Tighe-Umbers, chief executive at NRC, outlines the association’s strategy to tackle the changes facing the industry.

I’m not sure Bob Dylan was envisioning AI, smart phones and electric vehicles when he sang The Times They Are A-Changin’. But changing they are, and at the fastest rate in history.

Industry associations must not only keep up with this pace of change but also be ahead of the curve so they can help their members prepare for what’s coming.

So, what is our strategy for keeping National Road Carriers and our members match-fit for tomorrow?

I’m a big believer in looking in the mirror first before trying to change anyone else. We’ve taken the same approach at NRC. We are looking at how we can improve ourselves to help our members. Getting NRC match-fit before we run onto the field is key and we are making great progress.

Underpinning the NRC strategy is our business transformation. We can’t prepare the industry for change without the right people, processes and plans. So we have been lifting every rock in the business, ensuring the way we work and our tools and support systems all support our team to do their best.

We are upgrading our relationship management system (a bit like a CRM). The shine has gone off, and it is just not keeping up with what we need to do to deliver value. Later this year, members will notice a fresher website and comms, and our team of commercial transport specialists will have a much richer dataset of your information. This means we can zero in on ensuring you are getting all the benefits available to you.

We are also investing in our member service experience and team training. You can expect to hear from one of our friendly team, calling to make sure you are getting the most from our great services. Think of it as a bit of a COF on your NRC membership – without the queue.

Working on ourselves is all very well, but what are we doing for members?

We are busy growing our stakeholder relationships with government and industry partners, which makes our advocacy more effective.

Our strategy has a simple objective: driving for industry settings that enhance road-freight-sector productivity, efficiency and safety. In such a high-change environment, this means being disciplined and clear about the work we are doing with the government. For NRC, it means that every contact relates back to one of the following three main issues:

  1. Workforce – settings that enable rapid growth of the labour force and keep workers and the public safe, from school leavers to overseas workers, from driver licensing to transport operator licensing.
  2. Just Transition – enabling an affordable pathway for emissions reductions in the transport sector that maximises existing assets and recognises carbon reductions through diesel efficiency as well as renewable diesel, electricity, hydrogen and hybrid technologies.
  3. Infrastructure – maintaining the roads we have while building the roads we need for productivity and resilience.

Within that, we are also working with the government to co-deliver initiatives aimed at improving safety and developing underlying data that delivers insights on the freight task at the national level.

Over the year, we will report on our progress and discuss in more detail the work and initiatives we are undertaking to deliver improvements for the sector.

Our service strategy is two pronged:

  1. Working with our commercial partners so members receive the best possible value for fuel, insurance, phones, tyres and other purchases.
  2. Enhancing our support services such as cost models and customisable cost indexes, and access to advice so they continually evolve to meet member needs.

The fruit of our strategy is already paying off. We are seeing our member base grow as the word spreads about the value we deliver. Pleasingly, much of this is from word of mouth.

We’re focused on getting it done for our members … with less hui and more do-ey.

‘A little less conversation, a little more action’ springs to mind – perhaps Elvis is more appropriate than Bob Dylan!