Who would argue that the transportation industry is in a major state of disruption?
The ELD Mandate, the continuing driver shortage, and a growing economy have all contributed to an ever-shifting logistics landscape. When we add in all the hoopla about autonomous trucks, platooning, and blockchain we can see that the disruption is ongoing. In this topsy-turvy environment, savvy digital freight brokers are reporting record-setting profits.
We hear a lot about relationships and how successful 3PLs create and cultivate them. And I agree 100% that relationships are king, but I think technology and, more specifically, speed closely follow. Those of you with industry experience know exactly what I mean about speed.
I fondly remember my first frenzied weeks working in a freight brokerage--it could have been Wall Street! The phones rang off the hook and no one talked--they yelled. Technology has quieted some of the noise involved, but it’s increased the pace--you only have so much time to react.
Customers can and will give their freight to another provider in mere minutes. A carrier can book his truck before you’ve hung up the phone. Some folks say it’s the best time to be in logistics. I’m going to take that a little further and say--there’s never been a better time to work for a freight broker or a transportation company!
So what makes me say that? It’s the amazing technology we can use and offer today! Most people think Transportation Management Systems (TMS), truck tracking software, or customer rate calculator tools (the big stuff) when they hear tech in freight brokerages. And sure, that’s correct, but I tend to think of the above technologies as enterprise tools for the organization.
What I want to examine today are the must-have tools--tools that increase productivity and efficiency for front-line employees.
Let’s take a look!
Social Media works for trucking and transportation!
Okay, I’ll rephrase that. While Social Media provides a great forum for seeing pictures of your Grandma’s cat or an elementary school friend’s kids, it can do so much more!
Take the Rate Per Mile Masters Facebook Group, for example. This is a master group that includes drivers, dispatchers and other experienced transportation professionals who post and comment about relevant topics concerning our industry.
If you’re not a member of this group, you need to change that now--especially if you’re a freight broker. This group provides an insider’s look at the most compelling issues affecting drivers and will help you gain new insights into the ever-changing environment. And it’s only on Facebook!
LinkedIn is a little different from Facebook. The mechanics of the platform are similar, but the audience is geared toward white-collar professionals who want to network. You won’t find many trucking companies on LinkedIn, but you will find shippers and supply chain professionals. LinkedIn offers groups of like-minded professionals who provide valuable insights on the state of the market, as well as, best practices and government regulatory information.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to master the art of social selling to make LinkedIn valuable, but you will want to keep your profile up-to-date and buff up your networking skills using the app.
Ring Central App
Yes, my heading is “Ring Central,” but feel free to substitute a VoIP phone system app of choice. We use Ring Central, and I think it’s pretty freaking powerful. No, I’m not suggesting that you turn into a workaholic and answer phone calls when you should be at home with your family.
Actually, quite the opposite!
I think given the right technology, Ring Central (or your VoIP app) can lessen your work time! For example, let’s say you have to run an errand or step out of the office briefly. With the right connectivity, you can do so without ever missing a beat The Ring Central App is cool because it has instant messaging, SMS, Phone, Voicemail, and Conferencing capabilities baked into a single application. In an industry where time really is money, it's invaluable to be connected (when you choose to be).
It’s an exciting time to work in the transportation industry!
Change often arrives alongside innovation. The problem is that it’s difficult to stay at the forefront of change and to utilize the technologies that can enhance both your work and your personal life.
Here at Squirrel Works, it’s our job to study and use the newest and most effective technologies. We understand that you’re busy and don’t have time to vet each new app. So for now, check out Facebook, LinkedIn, and Ring Central. And when you’re ready to learn more about relevant apps or technology, give us a call. We’d love to chat!...