Fleets take to the Internet

A growing number of trucking firms are using the Internet to fulfill a variety of business needs, from helping recruit drivers to selling freight services to shippers, according to recent research. Over the last five years, I've seen a high rate of adoption of business Internet systems by truckers, says Professor Anuradha Nagarajan of the University of Michigan's Business School Nagarajan has been

A growing number of trucking firms are using the Internet to fulfill a variety of business needs, from helping recruit drivers to selling freight services to shippers, according to recent research.

“Over the last five years, I've seen a high rate of adoption of business Internet systems by truckers,” says Professor Anuradha Nagarajan of the University of Michigan's Business School Nagarajan has been researching the economic impact of the Internet on trucking for several years.

“I've been very impressed by how trucking companies are using the Internet to buy and sell services, connect with vendors, and recruit drivers,” she says. “The only issue holding back more widespread use of Internet- and electronic-based systems is that most regulators still want paper documents — even though most trucking customers want everything to be done electronically. Trucking is caught between a rock and a hard place.”

Despite those challenges, trucking firms are still beefing up their use of the Internet. According to a 2002 study conducted by Ecom-Ohio — a state technology policy group — 33% of Ohio's trucking companies use the Internet as a business tool. This compares favorably to the 32% usage level of all U.S. businesses.

That study also found that 38% of Ohio's trucking firms say using the Internet increased their revenues, with 52% saying the Internet increased productivity.

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