LM Viewpoint: Shippers at a crossroads

This month marks the 25th year that Logistics Management’s September issue has featured the findings of the “Annual Study of Logistics and Transportation Trends (Masters of Logistics),” the clearest picture available of transportation spending across the modes—and by far the most comprehensive summary of how logistics professionals are currently managing their operations.

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This month marks the 25th year that Logistics Management’s September issue has featured the findings of the “Annual Study of Logistics and Transportation Trends (Masters of Logistics),” the clearest picture available of transportation spending across the modes—and by far the most comprehensive summary of how logistics professionals are currently managing their operations.

We’re honored to work with Mary Holcomb, Ph.D., of the University of Tennessee, and Karl Manrodt, Ph.D., of Georgia College and State University, in the ongoing development of this important study. Their enthusiasm and commitment to this work over the past quarter century has helped countless logistics professionals re-engineer their supply chain operations, and Logistics Management and the industry as a whole would be a less-enlightened without their insight and commitment to its evolution.
We would also like to thank the more than 380 domestic and global logistics, transportation and supply chain professionals who participated in this year’s study. And as we’ve seen over the years, data was captured from various-sized operations, offering the market deeper insight into logistics strategies at all spending levels.

This year, large companies with annual revenue of more than $3 billion represented 17.3% of participants, while medium-sized firms (between $500 million and $3 billion in annual revenue) represented 16.2%. The majority of respondents (66.5%) were smaller firms with reported annual revenue of less than $500 million—making this one of the more balanced samplings of the market we’ve ever captured.

We’re also thrilled to once again offer the results of the study via several platforms. As always, you can read the high-level findings in this issue starting on page 28. And if you want to go a little deeper into the data, Holcomb and Manrodt will be joining me in our “Annual Masters of Logistics” Webcast on September 22 at 2 p.m. ET.

During the Webcast, traditionally one of the best attended events of the year, readers will have access to the full report and be able to direct questions to the research team. And if you’re attending CSCMP’s Annual Conference (Sept. 25-27), we’ll be delivering the results live on Monday, Sept. 26 at 3:45 p.m. ET.

So, just what did our esteemed research team find this year? Well, it should come as little surprise that double-digit growth in e-commerce is placing increased pressure on organizations—retailers, manufacturers, distributors—to develop efficient and effective supply chain solutions to manage this growing part of their business.

“However, financial performance was essentially flat year-over-year for a large percentage of this year’s respondents,” says Manrodt. “And when financials are flat, firms find ways to either make more sales or cut costs. With that said, the pressure is on logistics and supply chain professionals to improve supply chain efficiency and ramp up their omni-channel performance—and do so soon.”

And while many logistics professional feel that they’ve worked toward creating a coherent omni-channel strategy and are justly proud of these achievements, our team found that many readers now say they’re at a critical crossroads in determining exactly how to make needed improvements.

According to Holcomb, results indicated that there’s now indecision revolving around three complex supply chain elements—transportation, technology and organizational structure—that’s currently blurring the strategic direction that logistics and supply chain organizations need to take to keep pace and produce desired bottom-line performance.

“While we outline these findings and make some suggestions to shippers, we do caution that waiting too long to make the proper decisions on these elements will only result in a competitive disadvantage that will be difficult to overcome in today’s fast-paced, global economy,” adds Holcomb.


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CSCMP · Shipping · All Topics
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