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4/17/2014 3:00:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

iTECH: To Share or Not To Share

Should Carriers Share Their Tech Experience?

This story appears in the April /May 2014 issue of iTECH, published in the April 14 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

By Bruce Lilly, Contributing Writer

On the plus side, sharing information about the best ways to use technology helps the trucking industry become more efficient and successful. Some companies also find that technology can be a powerful marketing tool. Shippers often want their carriers, brokers and logistics companies to have sophisticated systems, so there’s an advantage to publicizing the use of various software applications.

See sidebar, ‘Freight Transportation Seen Lagging in Tech Applications’

The main argument against sharing such information is the age-old fear that opening up about how you run your company will make life easier for the competition. In an industry with slim margins and so many companies competing for the available freight, it should come as no surprise that many carriers hold their cards close to the chest.

Jim Burg, president of James Burg Trucking Co. in Warren, Mich., is a good example. On the one hand, he does his part to help the industry by sitting on the board of directors of HELP Inc., a public-private partnership that works on improving transportation technology, such as weigh-station bypass systems. But at the same time, Burg is cautious about sharing information concerning the use of technology at his trucking company.

“There can be downsides for carriers who share information about the technology they use,” Burg said. “For example, say that you learn that another carrier is using the XYZ system. Maybe you used that system once and you know that it has certain weaknesses. This would tell you something about that carrier’s weaknesses, because you know there are problems with the data the system delivers.”

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