2017 Parcel Express Roundtable: Paying for peak performance

It can be hard to believe that very much happens in a year, but that theory is put to the test when it comes to the parcel express market.

In fact, over the past 12 months we’ve seen major changes in pricing from the parcel duopoly of FedEx and UPS; the accelerated emergence of regional parcel players; and don’t forget we’re all watching the increasing power and reach of e-commerce giant Amazon as it grows its own delivery capabilities globally.

These developments require parcel shippers to do whatever it takes to stay on top of their parcel game from both a financial and operational perspective. To help them along, Logistics Management has gathered Jerry Hempstead, president of Hempstead Consulting, a parcel advisory firm; David Ross, transportation and logistics director at investment firm Stifel; and Rob Martinez, president and CEO at Shipware, an audit and parcel consulting services company.

Over the next few pages, our experts offer their insight into what’s driving parcel market trends and offers some practical advice for how shippers need to re-adjust to ever-changing market conditions.

Logistics Management (LM): How would you describe today’s parcel marketplace?

Jerry Hempstead: All of the parcel carriers are doing well in volume and earnings—even the USPS is making money if you back out the Congressional mandates. And it’s clear that e-commerce is driving the volumes. To top it off, service levels this year are at record levels and are predictable and consistent.

My observation is that there’s no statistical difference between the service performance offered by FedEx and UPS across a year’s worth of activity, although FedEx offers a faster delivery on ground to about 25% more city pairs than UPS. This pressure on speeding up the promise and refining the networks to make the magic happen will only improve the consumer experience in parcel services.

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Top 25 Risk Factors for Manufacturing Supply Chains

According to a recent report from BDO USA, an accounting and consulting organization, manufacturers’ intellectual property, supply chain data and products have become prime targets for cyber criminals.

The 2016 BDO Manufacturing RiskFactor Report examines the risk factors in the most recent 10-K filings of the largest 100 publicly traded U.S. manufacturers across five sectors including fabricated metal, food processing, machinery, plastics and rubber, and transportation equipment.

The factors were analyzed and ranked by order of frequency cited.

Manufacturing Industry Serves Up New Risks

The manufacturing industry is getting mixed reviews.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Index reported that activity was up in April after five straight months of declines.

Then, in late May, the Purchasing Manager’s Index reported the first reduction in output since September 2009.

In the trenches, manufacturers say domestic demand has been solid, while global business has been more challenging. And the end customer matters: in a recent earnings call, Caterpillar’s CEO noted, “Just about any market that’s away from oil is doing pretty good.”

“Pretty good” is a modest but realistic goal for manufacturers this year, and their top concerns echo this cautious optimism. The annual analysis of the most frequently cited risk factors found the supply chain remains at the top of the list – cited by 100 percent of manufacturers we analyzed – while emerging and growing risks in cybersecurity, competition, labor, pricing, regulations and international operations are also keeping manufacturers up at night.

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