29th Annual Quest for Quality Awards: Going for gold

Which carriers, third-party logistics providers, and U.S. ports will walk away with a gold medal for their outstanding service performance over the past year? Our readers have cast their votes, and now it’s time to reveal this year’s winners of the coveted Quest for Quality Awards.

By ·

The editorial staff of Logistics Management (LM) is proud to unveil the results of the 29th Annual Quest for Quality Awards. This year, 127 providers of transportation and logistics services have received the ultimate vote of confidence, posting the highest scores across our lists of critical service criteria.

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For nearly three decades, LM’s Quest for Quality has been regarded in the transportation and logistics industry as the most important measure of customer satisfaction and performance excellence. To determine the best of the best, LM readers rate carriers, third-party logistics (3PL) service providers, and now U.S. port operators strictly on the basis of service quality.

To determine who wins the vote, LM readers evaluate companies in all modes, choosing the top performers in categories including motor carriers, railroad and intermodal services, ocean carriers, airlines, freight forwarders, and third party/contract logistics services. From January through May of this year, LM and our Peerless Research Group (PRG) surveyed readers who are qualified buyers of logistics and transportation services.

This year our research group received 4,709 total responses. In order to be a “winner,” a company had to receive at least five percent of the category vote. The result of this overall effort is a crystal clear look at not only the overall winner in any given category, but a broad list of companies that finished well above the average.

Transportation service providers are rated on LM’s five key criteria: On-time Performance, Value, Information Technology, Customer Service, and Equipment & Operations. Due to the nature of services offered by third-party players, a different set of criteria is used to judge this category. Third-party logistics providers are rated on the following attributes: Carrier Selection & Negotiation, Order Fulfillment, Transportation & Distribution, Inventory Management, and Logistics Information Systems.

This year we re-established our Ports category, using Ease of Doing Business, Value, Ocean Carrier Network, Intermodal Network, and Equipment & Operations as the five key criteria to measure service success.

The evaluation itself is a weighted metric. The scores take into account the importance readers attach to each attribute. Each year, readers are first asked to rank the attributes in each category on a five-point scale, with 5 representing the highest value and 1 representing the lowest value.

The PRG research team then uses those attributes’ rankings to create weighted scores in each category. For example, readers have historically placed the single highest value on the On-time Performance attribute—and they’ve done so again in 2012. In fact, the attribute was rated between 4.7 and 4.8 across the various carrier categories.

After readers have ranked these key attributes in order of importance, they then grade each provider that they currently use on each of the five core Quest for Quality attributes, rating them on a scale of 1 to 3 (1=poor, 2=average, 3=outstanding).

To produce a weighted score, the research team then multiplies the provider’s average scores for each attribute by the attribute’s ranking. Next, the weighted scores are calculated for all five attributes for a given vendor and added together to create an aggregate number. Companies score a quality win when their total scores exceed the average total weighted score in their category. But, remember, providers must receive a minimum number of reader responses to qualify for a win—at least five percent of the total base for the category.


2012 Quest for Quality Winners Categories

NATIONAL LTL | REGIONAL LTL | TRUCKLOAD | RAIL/INTERMODAL
OCEAN CARRIERS | PORTS | 3PL | AIR CARRIERS | FREIGHT FORWARDERS


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About the Author

Michael Levans, Group Editorial Director
Michael Levans is Group Editorial Director of Peerless Media’s Supply Chain Group of publications and websites including Logistics Management, Supply Chain Management Review, Modern Materials Handling, and Material Handling Product News. He’s a 23-year publishing veteran who started out at the Pittsburgh Press as a business reporter and has spent the last 17 years in the business-to-business press. He’s been covering the logistics and supply chain markets for the past seven years. You can reach him at [email protected]

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