Technology, Multi-channel, Driver Shortages: Top Discussions at TMSA Seminar

Last Friday, TMSA held yet another Connections Seminar – in Atlanta at the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) building. While it was a smaller group than usual (20 individuals), the size of the group did not dwarf the relevance and impressiveness of discussions among marketing and sales professionals in transportation and logistics.

One of the primary goals of the TMSA Connections Seminars is to drive conversations and sharing of ideas among those who attend. After all, you can learn the most from your peers. Here are some of the biggest take-aways shared among this regional group in the Atlanta metro market: 

What are the concerns and challenges you’re hearing from your customers/shippers?
There was focused conversation on the top trends shaping the future of retail logistics. With the perpetual advancement of technology, retail logistics is experiencing significant change. What historically was complex is now blended with technology to ultimately create more efficient, self-orchestrated supply chains.

This is driven primarily by artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics among warehouses that have upgraded automated picking and packing equipment and capabilities. And if you’re not already using route planning or truckload planning software, you’re likely falling behind. If you’re utilizing various siloed TMS, WMS and enterprise-wide solutions, it may be to explore integrating for more efficiencies.

There was also discussion about more supply chain visibility and orchestration taking place in the industry. Shippers see that greater visibility translates to rapid, real-time, fact-based decision-making. More visibility also allows you to help give your customers greater ability to orchestrate transportations, warehousing, and ultimate supply chain management for more efficiencies, better service, and reduced logistics costs.

Lastly, there’s continued concern about the ongoing driver shortage – and now the impact the ELD mandate has had on this crisis. The growing U.S. economy relies heavily on trucking to move more than 70 percent of goods consumed, yet the industry needs to hire nearly 900,000 more professional drivers to meet this increasing demand.

What are the biggest challenges for sales and marketing pros with customers?
Many attendees suggested that we as marketing and sales professionals are relying too much on email communication and not enough “good old-fashioned” live conversations to build relationship and understand needs of prospects and customers. Technologies such as sales and marketing automation are driving this further. However, there also was discussion about how the trend is that millennials, the Gen X, Y and Zs of the world oftentimes PREFER less live conversation and more digital relationship-building. Bottom line: Know your customers and prospects, know their preferences, and adjust your approach with them accordingly. Technology enables more customized relationship-building when done effectively.

Special thanks to Jason Green, founder and Managing Partner of Intelestream, a Chicago-based Customer Relationship Management product development and consulting firm that offers solutions related to business processes and CRM technology, for being a thought leader and sponsoring this special seminar. Also thanks to Michael Stuart, Director of Marketing for ARKE Systems for serving as the Local Market Champion for this event.

By Brian Everett, CEO of the Transportation Marketing & Sales Association

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