Masters of Logistics: Transportation @ digital speed

This marks the 26th year that Logistics Management’s (LM) 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 and utilization across all the modes.

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This marks the 26th year that Logistics Management’s (LM) 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 and utilization across all the modes—and by far the most comprehensive summary of how logistics professionals are currently managing their operations.

LM has once again partnered 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 study that has become a “must read” for more than a quarter century. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Holcomb and Manrodt on this project for the past 13 years, and I have to say that their enthusiasm and commitment to this study is nothing less than infectious.

Over those many years they’ve been able to adjust the questioning to mirror the evolving challenges facing logistics and supply chain managers. This relentless attention to detail has neatly defined current market realities, revealed new paths to meet these challenges, and as a result has helped countless logistics professionals re-engineer their supply chain operations to thrive no matter the situation.

It’s easy to say that the industry as a whole would be a less-enlighten one without their insight and commitment to the evolution of this study; however, it would have never gotten off the ground without the feedback of our devoted LM readership who has once again turned out en mass to give us this insight. For the 2017 survey, 406 logistics, transportation and supply chain professionals participated—a group that accounted for an estimated $21 billion in domestic transportation expenditures.

And as we have over the past 13 years, we’re offering the results of the study through several platforms. As always, you can turn to page 22 for the high-level findings, and if you want to go a little deeper into the data, Holcomb and Manrodt will be joining me in our “Annual Study of Logistics and Transportation Trends (Masters of Logistics)” Webcast on September 21st 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 ask questions directly to the research team. And of course, if you’re attending CSCMP’s Annual Conference (Sept 24-27), we’ll be delivering the results live on Monday, Sept. 25, at 3:45 p.m. ET.

What themes emerged form this year’s findings? Well, as we’ve been following over the last few years, the new demands driven by our e-commerce expectations have permeated the nooks and crannies of every logistics operation.

Understanding this new reality, Holcomb and Manrodt explored the relationship between a company’s strategy and its structure to see how well we’re incorporating transportation to meet the new speed of digital commerce. “While we found a majority of companies ‘strongly agree’ that transportation is a strategically important function, a significant percentage have not organizationally aligned transportation in a manner that supports their goals,” says Holcomb.

According to Manrodt, the research team expected to see transportation better supported in the organizational structure considering the new service demands—such as more emphasis on working directly with carriers and service providers to learn more about various aspects of their mutual businesses. “If this fundamental disconnection persists, it will most certainly be a problem for companies looking to be successful operating an omni-channel supply chain,” he says, “as speed of order fulfillment and cost to serve customers are some of the key challenges companies will face for years to come.”


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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