How to Stay Up To Date with Ever Changing World Of Transportation
The world of transportation is moving at a torrid pace. Industry consolidation, new government rulings, new services, new technologies, globalization and new leaders are constantly reshaping this world.
We all live and work in our own worlds. We all tend to interact with certain subsets of people on a daily and weekly basis. This can result in a certain isolation from the important developments that are taking place in the field of transportation. How can you stay informed of these changes? Here are few thoughts.
There are a number of excellent conferences that are held in North America each year. Each conference has its strengths and weaknesses and each provides the attendees with certain benefits. The Annual CSCMP (Council of Supply Chain Management Professionsals) conference is probably the best in terms of educational content and focus. There are usually one or more tracks on Transportation with excellent speakers addressing the key issues of the day. In addition, the conference provides networking opportunities and more recently, a trade show area. It boasts an annual turnout of over 3000 logistics and transportation professionals from all over the world. If you are going to attend one top notch educational conference a year, the CSCMP annual conference is the one.
IANA (Intermodal Association of North America) and the NIT (National Industrial Transportation)League co-host a trade show and conference annually. If you are shipper looking to meet carriers, this is your chance. If you are a carrier looking to meet potential carrier partners, this is the show for you.
SMC3 (Southern Motor Carrier), a rate publishing and pricing analysis organization and NASSTRAC (National Association of Small Shippers) also host some very fine quality conferences. The SMC3 winter conference in Atlanta is particularly beneficial since it attracts over 300 participants, including carriers, shippers and consultants, and often features presentations from the CEO's of major LTL carriers such as YRC and Fedex Freight. As the name implies, the NASSTRAC conference includes senior representatives from the small parcel and LTL industries. Both conferences are small enough in size and informal so it is easy to meet your fellow attendees and make some good business contacts.
The UK based eyefortransport organization hosts a number of conferences around the world each year. Their premier event is the 3PL Summit in Atlanta. The conference, chaired by Ben Gordon, one of the industry leaders in the facilitating mergers and acquisitions, provides value to both shippers and 3PL's (and others). Featuring two parallel tracks, one on Outsourcing and one on developments in the 3PL industry, this is a must for 3PL's looking to acquire or be acquired. It is also provides very valuable insights for shippers on how to more effectively select and work with a 3PL. The conference features a number of workshops on specific topics and extensive networking opportunities, including a "speed networking" session which is a great deal of fun.
The American Trucking Association and the Canadian Trucking Alliance also host conferences and are invaluable to their members in keeping them informed on key isses of the day (i.e. hours of service regulations). Participating in these associations allows you to shape the policies of most importance to your industry.
In addition to these conferences, there are number of events for targetted audiences (i.e. Northwest Intermodal Conference, i2 Users Conference, KOM Klinic) some of which are by invitation only.
Subscribe to Leading Industry Transportation Publications
There are a number of very fine publications that have a specific focus on transportation. Traffic World, Transport Topics and Canadian Transportation and Logistics in Canada are the most focused on transportation and the most authoritative. Other publications with strong transportation content include Inbound Logistics, Logistics Management, American Shipper, Today's Trucking (Canadian) and Transport Magazine (in Quebec) that is published in French. A subscription to these fine publications will keep you up to date on major developments in our industry.
Participate in Local Networking Opportunities
In many cities throughout North America, there are local transportation clubs and CSCMP Roundtables. These are excellent opportunities to network and broaden your circle of contacts. The CSCMP Roundtables often host lunches and dinners with high quality speakers that address transportation and related topics.
Participate in Internet Based Networks
A number of internet based networks have surfaced in recent years with Linkedin probably being the best known. By connecting with your colleagues on Linkedin, you have an opportunity to have visibility into their contacts and vice versa. This allows for referrals and networking opportunities.
Knowledge is Power
Clearly there are a number of resources available to the transportation professional. By utilizing these resources you can broaden your scope of knowledge and contacts, learn new skills and techniques for addressing transportation related issues and provide additional value to your organization.