By Dick Hyatt
This Opinion piece appears in the June 27 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.
Social media are transforming the way America does business, and thereâ€™s no reason that shouldnâ€™t include trucking. When it comes to traditional trucking products such as vehicles, systems and components, the development life cycle can be fairly long. The time span required from initial concept through design, research and development and testing before production can begin can be measured in years. Information-management technology, on the other hand, often has a much shorter development life.
What that means for those of us who supply the advanced technologies used to manage trucking companies today is that our objective has to be communicating more effectively with our customers and partners.
Traditionally, we have employed such practices as focus groups to accomplish this task, and while they yielded results, these groups were expensive, time-consuming and static. Fixed in time, they simply could not address technology issues and customer and partner challenges in an effective and beneficial time frame.
But today, many trucking companies and industry suppliers of all types of technologies are successfully using social media communication channels such as blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube to meet almost immediately the challenges and needs of customers and partners.
These communication tools are happening live, giving us the ability to have a viral â€” i.e., rapidly spreading â€” ongoing conversation about whatâ€™s important to our customers and partners in general, as well as in the specific context of a customerâ€™s application of a particular technology. That helps to resolve problems quickly and leads to the more rapid development and deployment of new features and enhancements to products on an ongoing and constant basis.
Through the various social media channels, suppliers in all parts of the trucking and transportation marketplace are having conversations that help develop customer-driven solutions and drive improvements in how trucks, trailers and related assets are operated. On these pages, customers and partners challenge each other, with thoughts and comments that help collectively bring about positive and constructive changes that will benefit everyone.
Â© 2010, Transport Topics Publishing Group. All rights reserved.
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