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Social Media have become huge in the last few years. There are new Social Media that pop up every day. I have been personally involved with social media for about ten years and have found them to be helpful to our freight consulting business. Here are few thoughts on how to make effective us of them in your company.

Social Media are an integral part of a company’s Sales and Marketing Strategy

The first point to consider is that Social Media should not be looked at independently from a company’s Sales and Marketing Strategy. They should be an integral component and should be used to accomplish a company’s key marketing objectives. The selection, of which media to use, how and when they should be used, should be developed as part of a company’s Business Plan. The Social Media strategy should correlate directly with the company’s marketing goals, target markets and revenue targets.

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As the year 2013 winds down, it is time to reflect on the major transportation trends of the past year.  While I saw and read about a wide range of developments, these are the ones that resonated most with me.

1.Technology Comes to Freight Transportation

Last year I predicted that we would see a flurry of new technologies come to freight transportation.  They did and I wrote about some of these new companies on several occasions during the year.  Technology was successfully applied to the freight brokerage business, freight portals, LTL density calculations and to other segments of the industry.  Buytruckload.com, PostBidShip, Freightopolis, QuoteMyTruckload,  and Freightsnap were featured in various blogs during the year.  They are changing the way business is done in freight transportation.  Watch for more of these companies to surface in 2014.

2013 has been called the Year of the Network by numerous supply chain and transportation industry thought leaders.  Companies that built a successful supply chain trading partner network focused on three elements:

Connectivity— unite disparate systems and trading partners

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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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What can I do to save money on freight?  The same question comes up with every shipper I meet.  This is a legitimate concern.  Freight rates are on the rise.

The economy is improving slowly and this is pushing up costs.  Motor carriers are experiencing cost increase pressures from higher fleet purchase prices, the shortage of qualified drivers, planned changes in Hours of Service, the impact of the U.S. CSA program (e.g. culling unsafe drivers) and the more disciplined approach being taken by many carriers to add to their fleets (based on solid customer demand) and to allocate their assets to high-paying, loyal shippers.  While this is a daunting list of cost increase pressures, there is much that enterprising shippers can do to mitigate cost increases or even reduce freight costs.  Here is my list.

1. Capture and benchmark your freight costs

In one of my recent blogs (http://www.dantranscon.com/index.php/blog/entry/to-save-money-on-freight-lets-focus-on-good-data-rather-than-big-data), I encouraged shippers to construct a freight activity data base.  This should include a detailed data template that contains origin/destination/shipper/carrier, freight revenue data.  In addition, shippers should assemble the current freight budget, actual expenditures and the variances.  This will be the starting point for just about any project that you work on.  Without quality data, you are not in a position to undertake too many freight projects effectively.  You can’t manage what you can’t measure.

2. Conduct a Transportation Audit

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