Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Future

Today’s blog is a continuation of the information presented by Midwest Transportation Consortium presenter Jay Thompson, president of Transportation Business Associates. The transportation industry is on a strong upward growth pattern. Take time to strategize how you will stay ahead of the curve. Jay says successful companies must:

• Focus on targeted shippers
• Manage growth (unlike late ’90’s)
• Address personnel ($$ vs. home vs. work)
• Increase utilization (from 50% of available tonnage space & the miles per week)
• Utilize Information Technology (integration)
• Make the most of strategic relationships

We live in the information age
• Internet is largest innovation since printing press (the first information age)
• Affects every part of our life and work
• Allows information to be freely shared
• Replacing TV, radio, newspapers…
• Offers E-mail, information, low cost purchases…
• “Bigger” issue is what information to share
• WE must decide how to best tie it all together

The Internet is the CB Radio of this age
- Like a CB, information must be qualified (fleets, trucks, dealers, traffic…)
- Use it as a tool in conjunction with what and whom you already know
- However, personal relationships for business will be more important than ever

Information Technology for Trucking
Internet (Information, features / benefits, low cost purchases...)
Satellite / terrestrial communication (Trip notification, E-mail, load tracking, problems…)
Onboard electronics (Diagnostics, parameters...)
Revenue (Load costing, closest equipment, traffic lanes…)
Fleet software (Routing, mileage & cost summaries…)
Day-to-day operations (Productivity programs, notification…)
Equipment (Spec it to mission / operation)
Fuel (Where and how to purchase – different options)
Insurance (Health/life/collision/bobtail/workers compensation)
Financing (How to get best from industry & fleet programs)
Maintenance (Servicing and tires – fleet / OEM programs)
License and permits (Programs available)
Repairs (Information & planning – programs, dealers…)
Banking (Billing, direct deposit, automatic payment, debits…)
Retirement planning (Ask questions and help do something)
Accountants / computer programs (Pricing & services options)
Planning (Key business practice – benchmarking)
Industry Support Programs (Strategic alliances)

Examples From A Typical Company
• TRIP GENERATION - Trip costing, loaded & deadhead miles, routing
• ACCOUNTING - Billing, accounts receivable / accounts payable, checkbook,
operational information, advances, payroll, accountant tax information
• ON ROAD – Truck feedback, fuel prices, advances, directions, traffic, port
• ROAD & FUEL TAX - Separate calculation program
• LOG VERIFICATION - Audits, reports
• AGENT / BROKER FREIGHT - Agents process, DAT
• DRIVER SCREENING - DAC type program
• SPREADSHEET TYPE PROGRAMS - Cost analysis, maintenance
• INFORMATION PRODUCTS - Internet, satellite, relays

Key Trends
• INTEGRATION – functional & information (adapting reality to information)
• Customer needs assessments and software flexibility versus selling generic products
• Seamless information flow with shippers, consignees & all interested parties
• Paperless BOL, signature capture, automatic billing…
• GPS tied into truck for mapping, directions…
– transmission tied into other services
• Trailer / load tracking focus – security, planning, demurrage, used as storage, etc.
• Mobile devices for voice / e-mail for operators (retention issue)
• Mobile Internet – in dash – weather, news, sports, routing, mapping, etc.
Personal Keys To Success
• Focus on what you like doing best
• Work hard at it (work yourself out of job)
• You will be noticed & things will open up
• Take advantage of opportunities
• Networking is more important than ever
Some Final Thoughts
• You are OUR future!
• Listen before acting (take a walk first)
• Look at things historically - with a fresh eye
• Clearly define the situation
• Articulate vision – “Mission Statement”
• Don’t coast – if so – you are going down hill

That’s a lot to mull over. It is easy to get bogged down with the day-to-day but oh so important to think toward the future. I read that all industries go through a revolution every 8 – 10 years so we’re not alone. In training I have to keep up to be able to teach my students the way things are really done. Join me in the exciting journey.
Moving forward,

Jeff Roach

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