Motor freight providers today are faced with an increasingly restrictive and demanding operating environment. In an effort to improve safety on the highway, hours-of-service rules have been changed. Security issues also play a role and global trade has become the norm. Shippers' goals of creating the integrated, time-based supply chain using lean inventory strategies necessary for their competitive survival place even greater demands on transportation providers. Yesterday's admonition to better understand shipper concerns and to respond to them is no longer adequate to ensure carrier success. Instead of simply reacting to shipper concerns, carriers must take a proactive approach to determining which shippers they should serve. This approach would enhance the ability of motor carriers to meet their own financial and strategic objectives as they provide shipper-specified services that are intended to enhance the shippers' product/service offerings to their customers. In contrast to focusing on market segments based on shipper similarities, adopting a core shipper strategy requires carriers to take a proactive approach to shipper selection by focusing on the carriers' competencies, resources, and strategic objectives.

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