Saia study reveals ongoing shipper concerns

A nationwide survey of U.S. executives on their motivations and beliefs about economic conditions, budgets and supply chains revealed other worries as well

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Not surprisingly, the primary concern among small to medium-sized businesses, is the economy. But a nationwide survey of U.S. executives on their motivations and beliefs about economic conditions, budgets and supply chains revealed other worries as well.

In announcing its recent findings of the 2011 National Trends in Small to Medium-sized Businesses, Saia reported that the vast majority (65 percent) of U.S. executives said the economy is their number one concern, followed by fuel costs (23 percent) and health insurance (15 percent).

“Small to medium-sized businesses are the backbone of our economy,” said Rick O’Dell, president and CEO of Saia. “Normally, you would expect business leaders to be more upbeat coming out of a downturn like we recently experienced. I am encouraged by several of the survey’s findings including those regarding staffing and supply chain expenditures.”

This comes on the heels of a Fedex earnings report showing major a strong yield in all transportation segments.

More than one-third (39 percent) of those surveyed said capital expenditures will be the same in 2011 as in 2010. Capital expenditures for 2011 will be higher according to one-third (33 percent) of business executives. More than one-quarter (28 percent) say capital expenditures will be less in 2011 than in 2010.

Supporting their concern of uncertainty, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of executives said they plan on maintaining the same number of employees for the next 12 months as they have today. Seventeen percent of those surveyed said their company plans to increase the number of employees in the next 12 months, while 11 percent said they plan to reduce their current staffing levels.

“About one in ten small to midsize businesses are changing their inventory practices as a direct result of the catastrophes in Japan earlier this year,” said O’Dell.

“Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed say they do not have a contingency plan in place to handle inventory issues during a business interruption or emergency event.”

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About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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