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Dan's Transportation Newspaper

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Many of us receive information from multiple news sources on a daily basis. You may start your day with the morning newspaper in hard copy or on your iPad or Surface. If you are in the transportation industry, you are likely receiving trade magazines in hard copy and/or digital form, news feeds and white papers from various sources, updates from your LinkedIn groups, Twitter feeds, Facebook updates and of course dozens or even hundreds of e mails and text messages throughout the day.

Of course many of us have interests beyond freight transportation that may include Business, Investing, Sports, Technology and/or a range of other topics. Trying to stay abreast of the news in these areas can often result in another set of publications and news feeds. The management of information can be quite a challenge.

Using software developed by paper.li, Dan’s Transportation Newspaper tries to make life easier for transportation professionals. Published daily, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, the primary focus of the paper is Freight Transportation. Stories on truck, rail, air and ocean shipping are included as are stories on supply chain, trucking, warehousing, technology, data and energy management. Since many of us are keen students of Business, Economics, Social Media and Sports, the scope of the newspaper includes important stories in these areas.

The freight sections include articles from the Journal of Commerce, Transport Topics, American Shipper, Inbound Logistics, Truck News, Today’s Trucking, Logistics Management and other American and Canadian sources. The Business section contains features from the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, The Economist and other leading publications. There are 25 major news feeds that supply articles to the newspaper on a daily basis.

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At the end of each year, I like to take stock of the major freight transportation stories of the past twelve months and look ahead to the trends that will drive the industry in the coming year.  The two blogs that I write are prepared from my perspective as a consultant to shippers and carriers.

This year I would like to hear from you.  Those of you who follow this blog observe trends in your segment of the industry.  Please take a minute to share them with me.  Please post them on this blog or send a private e mail to dan@dantranscon.com

Please feel free to select any major trend or trends that are having or will have a major impact on our industry, whether regulatory, economic, technological, demographic, consumer behavior, environmental, modal shifts or business strategy.

To broaden the range of inputs and perspectives, I will also post this request on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.  In the coming weeks I will be preparing my two lists.  The lists will include a blend of my observations and yours.  Look for these two blogs in mid-December.  Thank you to those of you who take the time to share your observations with me.

 

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A well-developed sales pipeline is a key component of any well managed sales management system.  When properly utilized, the tool is an invaluable resource in measuring the number of quality leads in the system, the true number and dollar value of prospects versus suspects, the number of proposals submitted, the number of verbal commitments and the number and dollar value of signed deals. It is extremely useful in evaluating the effectiveness of individual sales reps and of the sales team as a whole.

As the utility of social media becomes well understood, skilled practitioners of sales management systems are beginning to take advantage of its value.  Social media can play a key role in every facet of sales pipeline management.

Lead Generation

Individuals and companies that are active social media participants are likely to generate leads, some anonymous, from individuals who visit your web site, participate in a LinkedIn group,  respond to a question on LinkedIn or who follow your tweets.  The key is to set a plan in motion to provide quality thought leadership on a consistent basis, to make useful white papers and other material available “free of charge” and to create a process of generating and identifying quality sales leads. 

Turning Suspects into Prospects

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The world of freight transportation is changing rapidly.  The signs are there and they are unmistakable.  Recognizing and responding effectively to these signals may help determine which shippers and carriers will survive in the years ahead.  Let’s examine the components of the new paradigm of freight transportation.

The Era is Cheap Oil is Over

The steep escalation in fuel prices this year is a harbinger of things to come for shippers and carriers.  This time there will likely be no major recession to bring energy prices down.  The sad fact is that 95 percent of transportation modes, passenger and freight, run on petroleum products and the likelihood of finding new sources of supply or of shrinkage in global demand is highly unlikely. In fact the use of petroleum in countries such as China and India is on the rise.

The result will be tighter truck capacity, greater use of intermodal rail services, the electrification of transportation systems, the relocation of factories and distribution centres and the slow shift to cleaner, cheaper fuels.  It will drive more LCV’s (long combination vehicles) or “turnpikes” and more triple trailer configurations.  This may be the impetus to harmonize our laws throughout North America to remove barriers to the movement of the most energy efficient vehicle combinations across our highways.   To curb use, many countries will have to begin looking at the Danish example of higher taxes on fuel inefficient vehicles and higher taxes on petroleum.  Get used to it.

The Driver Shortage is Real

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Social Media in Transportation in 2012

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It is hard to believe that a year has gone by since I sat in on a presentation on Social Media in Transportation at the 2011 SMC3 Winter Conference.  This past week David Tuttle, VP, Digital Strategy at TMP Worldwide (who spoke last year) was back again and joined by Bobby Harris, President and CEO of BlueGrace Logistics.  In the short space of 12 months it is clear that social media have exploded in popularity. 

Here are a few statistics to reinforce this message.  There are 800 million global profiles on Facebook, Twitter has 175 million users and LinkedIn has 150 million profiles.  Facebook reaches 85% of logistics professionals on the internet – over 2.8 million people; Twitter reaches over 22% of logistics professionals on the internet; LinkedIn Reaches 19% of logistics professionals on the Internet.

Beyond the impressive user numbers, there appear to be two breakthroughs this year.  The first is in functionality.  Companies and individuals are now starting to figure out how to embed the capabilities of social media in their businesses. 

David highlighted the “follow me” feature on LinkedIn.  It allows people to stay up-to-date on employment opportunities and organizational changes at companies of interest.  Your “career page” beside your “company page” is a powerful tool to “inform active and passive candidates” of opportunities.  It can be used to “see who is following your company and send automatic updates.”   Twitter can be custom branded and used both as a tool to communicate with your followers and to follow them as well.   

David also noted that a Facebook page for your business, with photos that tie in to the website or other business activities, can play a key role.  Targeted ads can be placed on the right side of the Facebook page and can be tailored to the specific demographics and interests of your customers. Each company pays for these ads on a CPC basis.  He also spoke about the importance of scheduling your communication over a period of time to maintain the attention of your fans and followers.  Take advantage of opportunities to connect directly with your fans.

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