Executive Briefings

Logistics Companies Weathered Tepid Economic Conditions in 2011, Survey Finds

In spite of a slow economic climate, 74 percent of the North American logistics companies surveyed achieved or exceeded revenue projections in 2011. However, companies that failed to meet their financial projections were up sharply from 14 percent in 2010, to 26 percent in 2011.

The findings of the 19th Annual Survey of Third-Party Logistics Providers analyze responses from 31 CEOs of large 3PLs across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific - companies that generated approximately $45bn in revenue in 2011. The report, written by Robert Lieb, professor of supply chain management at Northeastern University, and co-authored by Kristin Lieb, assistant professor of marketing communications at Emerson College, was underwritten by Penske Logistics.

While some North American companies may have fallen short of revenue projections, none of the companies were unprofitable, and none of the CEOs surveyed believed the regional third-party logistics industry operated at a loss for the year. Globally, 63 percent of companies either met or exceeded their revenue projections and 71 percent of these logistics companies experienced moderate profitability during 2011. However, Europe continues to struggle, with 25 percent of companies surveyed experiencing unprofitability.

"The difficulties facing the European market today mirror the economic instability North American logistics companies faced a few years ago," said Dr. Robert Lieb. "Globally, industry growth and company profitability continue to increase, but at a much slower rate. As we move forward, CEOs are being cautious, forecasting lower revenue growth projections over the next three years."

Looking towards growth, many CEOs have identified the health care industry as a strategic target, with 71 percent of the companies surveyed already having clients in the industry. Across all regions, companies are forecasting substantial growth in health care business during the next three years.

Within North America, health care clients generated six percent of regional revenues in 2011, with predictions showing an 11-percent share of revenue three years from now.  Within health care, more than half of the CEOs predicted the medical devices segment of the industry will grow fastest during the next three years.

Major supply chain and logistics industry trends and insights:

• Forecasting Revenue: Over the next year, all regions are forecasting lower revenue growth than last year.

• North American Market Opportunities: Increasing flexibility will be important as customers look for greater collaboration and integration of supply chain activities.

• European Market Opportunities: In attempts to increase growth, European companies will continue expanding into new industry verticals.

• Asia-Pacific Market Opportunities: As domestic consumption rises within Asia, companies are focusing on expanding 4PL offerings in these fragmented emerging markets.

Source: Penske Logistics

The findings of the 19th Annual Survey of Third-Party Logistics Providers analyze responses from 31 CEOs of large 3PLs across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific - companies that generated approximately $45bn in revenue in 2011. The report, written by Robert Lieb, professor of supply chain management at Northeastern University, and co-authored by Kristin Lieb, assistant professor of marketing communications at Emerson College, was underwritten by Penske Logistics.

While some North American companies may have fallen short of revenue projections, none of the companies were unprofitable, and none of the CEOs surveyed believed the regional third-party logistics industry operated at a loss for the year. Globally, 63 percent of companies either met or exceeded their revenue projections and 71 percent of these logistics companies experienced moderate profitability during 2011. However, Europe continues to struggle, with 25 percent of companies surveyed experiencing unprofitability.

"The difficulties facing the European market today mirror the economic instability North American logistics companies faced a few years ago," said Dr. Robert Lieb. "Globally, industry growth and company profitability continue to increase, but at a much slower rate. As we move forward, CEOs are being cautious, forecasting lower revenue growth projections over the next three years."

Looking towards growth, many CEOs have identified the health care industry as a strategic target, with 71 percent of the companies surveyed already having clients in the industry. Across all regions, companies are forecasting substantial growth in health care business during the next three years.

Within North America, health care clients generated six percent of regional revenues in 2011, with predictions showing an 11-percent share of revenue three years from now.  Within health care, more than half of the CEOs predicted the medical devices segment of the industry will grow fastest during the next three years.

Major supply chain and logistics industry trends and insights:

• Forecasting Revenue: Over the next year, all regions are forecasting lower revenue growth than last year.

• North American Market Opportunities: Increasing flexibility will be important as customers look for greater collaboration and integration of supply chain activities.

• European Market Opportunities: In attempts to increase growth, European companies will continue expanding into new industry verticals.

• Asia-Pacific Market Opportunities: As domestic consumption rises within Asia, companies are focusing on expanding 4PL offerings in these fragmented emerging markets.

Source: Penske Logistics