19th Annual Masters of Logistics Study: Efficiency remains top priority

The findings of our annual study reveal that shippers have not significantly changed how they manage their logistics and transportation activities over the past year. However, we find that the Masters are moving to a more defined organizational structure and are putting more 3PLs to work to help them gain significant cost advantage once the recovery finally kicks in.

By ·

Last year we reported that the economy had leveled the playing field for all firms with respect to competitive advantage that can be built through transportation and logistics. In essence, the significant performance and organizational structural differences between the Masters (firms with sales greater than $3 billion) and other firms that was built from 2006 to 2008 was largely eroded as the economy slid into a global recession in 2009.

The main focus for every firm became surviving the difficult economic times, and many began an unrelenting quest to reduce costs across all areas including transportation and logistics. The advent of 2010 brought hope and anticipation that the economy would begin its recovery from the recession; but to date, the economic signals have been mixed.

This uncertain environment is also reflected in transportation and logistics practice across firms of all sizes according to the results of the 19th Annual Study of Logistics and Transportation Trends (Masters of Logistics). In short, shippers report that they have not significantly changed how they manage these activities, and reducing costs remains the primary objective. A deeper look at the study results suggests, however, that while the playing field remains on equal ground relative to transportation, this may only be an intermediary gear for the true Masters of Logistics.

See below for related articles

27th Annual Quest for Quality Awards

Supply Chain Fundamentals: The Building Blocks of Success Virtual Conference


About the Author

Mary Collins Holcomb and Karl Manrodt
Mary Collins Holcomb, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Logistics and Transportation at The University of Tennessee. Dr. Holcomb was also a member of the faculty in Transportation and Logistics at Iowa State University, Ames. She holds B.S., MBA, and Ph.D. degrees from The University of Tennessee. Her professional career involved some eighteen years at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in transportation research and policy issues for the U.S. Departments of Energy, Transportation, and Defense. Dr. Holcomb’s background also consists of various industry experience with the former Burlington Northern Railroad, General Motors, Milliken & Company, and two years of collaborative research with Procter & Gamble. She is a principal researcher in one of the longest running annual studies – Logistics and Supply Chain Trends and Issues – that has been conducted for more than 14 years. Dr. Holcomb is the former editor of the Transportation Energy Data Book, author and co-author of numerous reports and articles in the area of transportation policy and logistics systems design. Karl Manrodt, Ph.D., serves an Associate Professor in the Department of Management, Marketing and Logistics and Georgia Southern University, located in Statesboro, Georgia. Prior to joining Georgia Southern, he served as the Executive Director for the Office of Corporate Partnerships and the Supply Chain Strategy Management Forum in the Department of Marketing, Logistics and Transportation at the University of Tennessee. Degrees include a B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology, Wartburg College, M.S. in Logistics, Wright State University, and his Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee. He is the recipient of the Chancellor's Citation for Professional Promise, the Walter Melville Bonham Dissertation Scholarship, both at the University of Tennessee, and the E. Grosvenor Plowman Award awarded by the Council of Logistics Management.

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

3PL · Logistics · Supply Chain · Transportation · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Top 5 Trends in Enterprise Labeling
Supply chains and the solutions used for managing them have become increasingly important as businesses become more global and interconnected.
Download Today!
From the February 2017 Issue
As the new administration sends waves of uncertainly through the global trade community, this could be the best time ever for shippers to build an investment case for GTM. Here are five trends you need to watch if you’re about to put these savvy systems to work
Carrier Consolidation Keeps Shippers Guessing
Getting Value from the Cloud
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Advance your career with the fastest growing logistics certification – APICS CLTD
During this webcast presenters will give an overview of APICS and the new Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD) designation. Learn how the CLTD program can help you stay on top of current trends and advance your career.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
ASEAN Logistics: Building Collectively
While most of the world withdraws inward, Southeast Asia is practicing effective cooperation between...
2017 Rate Outlook: Will the pieces fall into place?
Trade and transport analysts see a turnaround in last year’s negative market outlook, but as...

Logistics Management’s Top Logistics News Stories 2016
From mergers and acquisitions to regulation changes, Logistics Management has compiled the most...
Making the TMS Decision: Ariens Finds Just the Right Fit
The third time is the charm for this U.S. manufacturer on the hunt for a third-party logistics (3PL)...