“…social media is not about numbers, it’s about relationships” (Relationships Matter: Social Media and Transportation).
Building relationships is what business is all about; especially when your business’s reputation is based upon service and accuracy. In the freight industry, there are not only significant amounts of stiff competition, but there are thousands upon thousands of companies that will do the same job if your regular carrier is unavailable. This proves to be problematic for many companies who work to maintain a countless amount of relationships in order to keep their freight businesses on top of the competition.
Enter Noam Frankel, a founding member of American Backhaulers, jointly owned with MercuryGate, and also the creator of “Freight Friend”. “Freight Friend is a private network website for shippers, brokers and carriers. Shippers and brokers post loads that are visible only to the carriers they trust – their “friends.” Carriers post available capacity and regular lanes to one web site, knowing that only their shipper or broker “friends” can see and utilize them. Full radius based searching and matching functionality seamlessly connects the right loads with the right trucks” (MercuryGate Announces Freight Friend). Why is this genius? Because it solves the largest problem that shippers, brokers and carriers face. It connects those who already have trusting relationships and it also helps build new ones based on “friending” those who have relationships built with others in your “friend” network.
Social media is allowing companies to predict and correct problems in real-time, by providing a new communication channel that is built upon relationships with customers and other business partners. In the post titled “Social Media Is In Your Supply Chain Future” Adrian Gonzalez, president of Adelante SCM, Newton, Mass, explains how exceptions are common supply chain management and the window social media opens up for this area of industry. “Exceptions (delayed shipments, supply shortages, unexpected demand spikes and so on) are the norm in supply chain management,” notes Gonzalez. “Social media technologies can help companies identify and resolve exceptions faster and more effectively, especially since responding to exceptions often requires collaboration and communication among many different people and existing approaches (emails, conference calls) are inefficient” (Social Media Is In Your Supply Chain Future).
More and more transport companies are jumping on the “Freight Friend” site to connect with others in the industry. It appears that the transport trucking industry is now full speed ahead in its use of social media, when only a few years ago it seemed they were lagging behind. On their business blog, “Reed All About It”, Reed Transport announces that they have made significant changes to the way carriers can view their loads. They mention they are now using “Freight Friend” as their method, and ask others to “please take a moment to sign up and start exchanging your truck and lane information with us today. Be sure to send Reed Transport a friend request once you sign up!” (Reed Transport now on Freight Friend). It truly is great to see that sending a “friend request” on a social networking site is now so versatile that nearly every aspect of business is using this term!
Next up for “Freight Friend”: Going Mobile! I think this is the next step for a Social Media tool that is really driving forward supply chain innovation.
Lessons for others:
- Connecting, and building trusting relationships with business partners using social media is now the trend in supply chain management.
- Using social media platforms such as a “Freight Friend” style site will help companies resolve common “exceptions” in a far more efficient manner.
- Social media is becoming the best way for businesses that have not met face-to-face to build out their networks and opportunities with each other.
Submitted By: Lyndsey Ehgoetz, SMBP Student, University of Waterloo.
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Programme Director, Social Media for Business Performance.