ATLANTA, GA — "The mega-trends that today influence U.S. and international shipping activity are likely to remain in place for years to come, exerting an even more profound impact on the way trade and commerce are transacted", The Colography Group, Inc. said today in marking its 20th anniversary in business.
The key trends, most of which The Colography Group has identified through its innovative and groundbreaking research methodologies, are as follows:
--Transportation will become even more time-based, with buying decisions predicated on speed and reliability of service instead of how the goods move and who moves them. The proliferation of sophisticated yet user-friendly technologies that enable businesses to gain full pipeline visibility into their order and inventory flows will make the management of time-definite shipping needs easier and more effective than ever.
--The continued shrinking of the typical length-of-haul - today, two-thirds of all shipments move less than 600 miles to market - will continue to drive shipping to short-haul, regionalized transportation in the U.S. and Europe.
--Truckload and less-than-truckload carriers, at the expense of higher-priced airfreight services, will rule the long-haul shipment category (over 1,500 miles). The medium-haul market - 900 to 1,500 miles - will continue to decline in relative importance.
The creation of new distribution platforms, most notably e-business, will re-make shipping patterns. Goods ordered on-line can be pulled directly by the consignee and are not subject to consolidation. Shippers and their customers are abandoning traditional centralized inventory models in favor of a decentralized, disaggregated infrastructure where goods are pumped out with more frequency as smaller, individual consignments. This will result in a continued decline in the size and weight of the average shipment.
--Multi-nationals will migrate to a balanced inventory management model involving a growing reliance on warehouses and inventory to supplement established just-in-time distribution systems. Overuse of the J-I-T concept during the late 1990's boom has proved problematic to intercontinental supply chains whose operations were disrupted by external shocks such as terrorist attacks, labor disputes and man-made disasters.
"Much has changed in our 20 years in business," said Ted Scherck, President of The Colography Group. "The founder of FedEx, who once referred to trucks as a `four-letter word,' has built one of the world's largest trucking fleets. UPS and the U.S. Postal Service, which once had locks on their respective core businesses, have lost their outright dominance. U.S. passenger airlines, which in the early 1980s controlled virtually all U.S. airfreight and mail, have been relegated to non-player status, handling less than 1% of the nation's total air cargo. Through it all, transportation has evolved from a lumbering regulated utility into an agile and customer-centric free-market model."
Scherck continued, "The mega-trends outlined above are largely responsible for seismic shifts in competitive positioning. Providers that embraced the secular changes and positioned themselves accordingly have thrived. Those that refused to change have either gone out of business or fallen hopelessly behind. And we see nothing on the horizon to reverse these trends; we believe that the market leaders of the future will be those who can build and execute around them."
Launched in August 1983, The Colography Group was founded on the premise that transport deregulation in the United States and the lifting of data-filing requirements with the federal government would open the door for the flow of private-sector information that could be used to identify and capitalize on opportunities in the new free-market age.
Rather than rely on data from government and trade association sources, The Colography Group devised a unique research model built on telephone surveys conducted with tens of thousands of transportation buyers. "We reasoned that if we spoke directly to the decision-makers, we could give our clients an unparalleled level of insight into shipping trends and behavior," Scherck said.
Each year, The Colography Group produces a plethora of reports covering virtually all types of shipping activity across the United States and nine world regions. At the heart of this research effort are the National Surveys Of Expedited Cargo, the U.S. version of which canvasses 30,000 transport and logistics decision-makers representing 75% of all U.S. expedited shipping activity.
Based in Atlanta, The Colography Group delivers primary research, strategic planning and new program development services to businesses looking to identify and capitalize on growth opportunities in the global time-definite, or expedited, cargo market, as well as to governments worldwide.