July 18, 2010
The people at Google are truly amazing! They are evolving their search engine into something that can be an incredibly powerful tool for business. There are a zillion things that Google can do for different parts of your business and in this post, I will highlight the top 10 Google search tools that will help your supply chain.
Since Google is just a click away, I think it’s a very useful for everyone involved in the supply chain to be aware of how much easier it can make their lives. Everybody from traffic managers, to purchasing people, to accounting people and customer service will likely need to reference what Google can do during the course of the week. There are a lot of people who don’t even know all of Google’s capabilities. So without further ado, here is your:
Top 10 Google Search Tools That Will Help Your Supply Chain
1. Package Tracking – You can track packages by typing the tracking number for your UPS, Fedex or USPS package directly into the search box. Some of the LTL and motor carriers also allow for you to plug in their pro numbers as well. Google will return results that include quick links to easily track the status of your shipment.
Example of what to search for: “1Z9999W9999999999”
2. Time – This is huge when dealing with vendors or customers overseas or across the country. To see the time in many cities around the world, type in “time” and the name of the city.
Example of what to search for: “time London”
3. Currency Conversion – This is cool! To use Google’s built-in currency converter, simply enter the conversion you’d like done into the Google search box and they’ll provide your answer directly on the results page.
Example of what to search for: “150 GBP in USD”
4. Unit Conversion – Countries use different metrics for measuring. This tool is extremely useful. You can use Google to convert between many different units of measurement of height, weight, and volume among many others. Just enter your desired conversion into the search box and Google will do the rest.
Example of what to search for: “10.5 cm in inches”
5. Calculator – Since Google is right on your desk top you don’t have to go searching for your calculator. Plus it uses Excel style equations so it’s really easy for business people who think in Excel. To use Google’s built-in calculator function; simply enter the calculation you’d like done into the search box.
Example of what to search for: “5*9+(sqrt 10)^3=”
6. Weather – Weather plays a big role in transportation so this is great for getting a snapshot of the world’s weather. To see the weather for many U.S. and worldwide cities, type “weather” followed by the city and state, U.S. zip code, or city and country.
Example of what to search for: “weather San Francisco, CA”
7. Maps – Want to see the mileage between a shipper and a consignee or try to figure out where your vendor is located? This is great! Type in the name or U.S. zip code of a location and the word “map” and Google will return a map of that location. Clicking on the map will take you to a larger version on Google Maps.
Example of what to search for: “Seattle map”
8. Area Code – This can be helpful in situations ranging from trying to find where a phone call is coming from to finding out what part of the country you are calling. To see the geographical location for any U.S. telephone area code, just type the three-digit area code into the Google search box and hit the Enter key or click the Google Search button.
Example of what to search for: “212”
9. Stock Quotes – Wanna see how a freight carrier or a vendor is doing in the market? Just type the ticker symbol into the search box. On the results page, you can click the link to see more data from Google Finance as well.
Example of what to search for: “MSFT”
10. Earthquakes – I have heard carriers make up some crack pot reasons why they missed the delivery. In case you are given the old earthquake excuse, you can use Google to see if the story checks out. To see information about recent earthquakes in a specific area type “earthquake” followed by the city and state or U.S. zip code.
Example of what to search for: “earthquake 90210”
*When entering keyword or phrase into Google’s search engine with these tools, do not use quotation marks.
George specializes in consulting companies to run their supply chain as efficiently as possible. He also hosts a blog called http://www.freightsavingstips.com where he offers shippers cost savings tips and best practice ideas. Feel free to email George with any freight related questions at email@example.com.