3PL Survey: What keeps you up at night?

By Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor
October 21, 2011 - MMH Editorial

Fuel prices are going through the roof. Customers that once valued long-term relationships are now low-cost shoppers. And an economic recovery long stuck in neutral might be shifting into reverse.

So what keeps the CEOs at some of the world’s largest 3PLs up at night? What do they think are their most significant problems?

That was one of the questions posed to 3PL CEOs in North America, Europe and Asia as part of the 18th 3PL Provider CEO Perspective, a survey conducted by Robert Lieb, a professor of supply chain management at Northeastern University, Kristin Lieb, assistant professor of marketing at Emerson College and Joseph Gallick, senior VP of sales for Penske Logistics.

The answer was the shortage of talent and it was consistent across all three regions. In fact, in North America, economic uncertainty was a distant fourth, behind pricing pressures and fuel price volatility.

In Europe, talent shortage was higher on the list than lowered volumes and profitability, 3PL stability, pricing pressures and the requirement to provide consistent excellence.

And, in Asia finding and retaining talent was a considered a bigger problem than rising labor costs, a rapidly changing marketplace, infrastructure challenges, compliance with government regulations, competition from other 3PLs and customers focusing on their unit handling costs.

Interestingly, hiring and retaining talent, especially competent engineers, was at the top of the list of issues facing the materials handling industry at both of the product section meetings I attended during the spring meeting of the Material Handling Industry of America (http://www.mhia.org) last month.

What that says to me is that CEOs in our industry, more so than politicians, are focusing on the big picture. Rising costs, competition and compliance are important issues in the short-term, but experienced and educated talent has more to do with the long term success.

There’s a lesson in there somewhere. 



About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Executive Editor

Bob Trebilcock, executive editor, has covered materials handling, technology and supply chain topics for Modern Materials Handling since 1984. More recently, Trebilcock became editorial director of Supply Chain Management Review. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.


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!

Recent Entries

The “good news story” of the season appears to be generated by officials at The Port of Oakland, who report that it has taken additional steps in an ongoing effort to manage a surge of inbound container vessel calls.

The PMA, which represents employers at America’s 29 West Coast ports, has finally asked for federal mediation in its contract negotiations with the ILWU.

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage in November was up 3.5 percent compared to October, which was up 0.5 percent over September at 136.8 (2000=100), marking the highest SA on record.

UPS said that through this acquisition it will augment its healthcare expertise and network in Europe, specifically in the fast growing healthcare markets in Central and Eastern Europe.

Carloads were up 12.1 percent at 312,271, and intermodal at 280,337 containers and trailers saw a 4.5 percent annual gain.

About the Author

Bob Trebilcock, executive editor, has covered materials handling, technology and supply chain topics for Modern Materials Handling since 1984. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. Contact Bob Trebilcock.

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.