Trucking/logistics technology: Con-way set to Tweet carriers on the way to available loads

While the ubiquitous social networking tool Twitter has been used by myriad shippers, carriers, and industry associations, freight transportation services provider Con-way has taken an entirely different approach in terms of gaining new business via the “Twit-a-sphere.”

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While the ubiquitous social networking tool Twitter has been used by myriad shippers, carriers, and industry associations, freight transportation services provider Con-way has taken an entirely different approach in terms of gaining new business via the “Twit-a-sphere.”

Con-way Multimodal, a subsidiary of Con-way’s 3PL subsidiary Menlo Worldwide whom provides expanded freight brokerage capabilities and services in the 3PL and multimodal freight transportation business, has rolled out Con-way Tweetload.

Company officials described Con-way Tweetload as a patent-pending tool that helps carriers find available loads via Twitter, where carriers following Tweetload at http://www.twitter.com/ConwayTweetLoad can quickly see the latest available shipments and links to additional information on the Con-way Multimodal link board where carriers can place information on available loads daily.

Con-way Multimodal President Tyler Ellison told LM that the company is always seeking ways to better connect its carrier community with available loads. The primary method Con-way Multimodal has employed is a load board, called LINK, which carriers access by visiting Con-way Multimodal’s website, according to Ellison. Carriers must first be registered with Con-way Multimodal, and need to log in to access the board.

“Our goal in creating Con-way TweetLoad was to find a way to make it even more convenient for carriers to quickly find information on the latest available loads,” said Ellison. We began the planning process late last year, and then began testing it earlier in 2010. We also reached out to a few beta testers recently to get their feedback on the effectiveness of Con-way TweetLoad prior to launching it today. So far we have had a very positive response from our testers.”

In terms of benefits shippers can expect from TweetLoad, Ellison said that they will benefit from carriers’ ability to have immediate access to information on the latest available loads. And he added that by creating the patent-pending process of utilizing Twitter to pull information from the LINK board and posting it directly to Twitter, carriers are able to sign in to Twitter and follow the load posts, or “tweets,” for any period of time without repeatedly logging in on a separate load board. And by following the company on Twitter, Con-way said carriers will have more convenient access to load information updated every 15 minutes.

“The best part of Con-way TweetLoad is that carriers can conveniently follow the latest available loads from a handheld device, like they would for any other tweet coming from Twitter into their personal Twitter timeline,” said Ellison. “This makes it easy for carriers to access load information when away from a computer.”

What’s more, Ellison pointed out that many in the carrier and trucking community are primarily accessing the Internet through their handheld devices and Con-way is making the load information as convenient as possible for its carriers to access, which will in turn make it easier for them to do business with the company and more easily connect carriers with available freight.

The advent of Twitter to help find information on available loads was soundly endorsed by the American Trucking Associations (ATA).

“With this novel use of Twitter, Con-way Multimodal is leading the industry in maximizing the best features of new technology to improve their processes,” said Bill Graves, ATA president, in a statement. “This is a great example of how innovative transportation companies can make it easier for carriers to do business with them, which will be a benefit to our industry overall.”


About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

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