Billions of dollars are spent on shipping industry consolidation in the name of efficiency and better customer service, but almost three-quarters of large shippers would rather do business with several shipping providers than centralize their operations with one major supplier, says a recent Unisys Corporation survey of global shippers.
The survey is said to be based on in-depth interviews with senior executives from 52 major intercontinental corporations in industries such as technology, pharmaceuticals, food and retail. Logistics services, information technology, security and regulations were among the areas covered in the survey.
Key findings of the Unisys survey include:
• Concern over fuel costs. Shipping customers are concerned that increasing fuel costs will force them to consider other alternatives-including diverting airfreight to the sea. When asked what would drive them to use more air cargo, three-fourths of respondents surveyed indicated that it would have to cost less.
• Air capacity an issue in Asia. The peak season surge in air traffic continues to be a significant problem for companies that have shifted their manufacturing or suppliers to Asia. Survey participants expressed mixed support for making long-term capacity agreements.
• Bigger not always better. Respondents overall felt that the larger logistics providers deployed systems that were less flexible and user-friendly. Survey participants were generally satisfied with the real-time information received from integrators and perceived them to have an IT advantage with one company managing the information chain.
• Security and regulations necessary evils. While most respondents believed in improved IT security, many respondents, concerned about the increased regulatory and security environment, asserted that anti-terrorism security and related regulatory requirements put the most pressure on their supply chains. However, they were resigned to the fact that security and regulations are here to stay and will likely continue to become more stringent.
• Supply chain visibility works. The majority of respondents felt that IT helped move things through the supply chain faster. The faster shipments moved, the less chance there was that goods would be stolen, they said.
For more information or for a complete copy of the survey, visit http://www.unisys.com/.
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