MH&L’s 2012 Salary Survey Comments

March 1, 2012
Doing more with less is a standard refrain for material handling and logistics managers, who still feel constrained by a weakened economy.

The MH&L 2012 Salary Survey invited respondents to share comments regarding their salary, their job situation, the material handling and logistics industry, or professional challenges. All responses were posted anonymously. Following the open-ended responses are comments to the question: “What is the biggest challenge facing the material handling and logistics industry today?” Some of the following comments have been lightly edited (primarily for clarity) or consolidated, in instances of redundancy.


I think my status should be raised due to the amount of responsibility I have. People with three years less employment here have a higher position and are less dependable. Also, no higher education or management experience.

Manufacturing needs to be reestablished in this country.

This company has had a wage freeze on for the past three years but revenue has increased.

Stressful position due to being responsible for things I have no control over.

My salary is very good for the area that I live in; my job situation is poor due to poor management (my bosses).

All bonuses have stopped and no pay increase in five years.

Company has provided me a good compensation package.

All is great!

What a change in 35 years!

The economy is creating an unstable market resulting in lower staffing and greater expectations to do more with less vs. minimal investment.

It would be beneficial if Technical Schools would set up six- to 12-month classes on basic warehouse training. This industry has been a stepping stone for folks to move up within companies. I know that we spend a lot of time training employees instead of having productive time quicker because an individual does not have the basics down. The basics are general knowledge of forklift operations (3k to 30K) gas, electric and diesel. Handheld scanner knowledge, general computer skills including Excel, Word, Outlook, etc. Having employees that can hit the ground running and be able to reduce the training time by weeks would be a tremendous benefit to us all, plus having folks who would go through such training would make them more marketable once they have been trained and would give the industry another source to recruit from.

I don't feel I get paid enough for the jobs I do.

Pleased to have the opportunities and pay level in the current job market at my age.

We are exploring opportunities to reduce labor and increase automation.

Salaries have not increased in several years and bonuses have disappeared in recent years.

Hiring people with a proper work ethic. Technology does not correct stupid.

We need to bring in less material volume, bring it in more often at a lower cost without committing the company to maintain or extend business with our suppliers. We have stopped valuing the building of partnerships and now seem to take all we can and then move on to the next victim. Very unsatisfying for ethical professionals.

I am considering becoming a full-time consultant.

The biggest challenge that I face at this time is the attempt to change the company focus from a small family-owned company to part of a multi-billion dollar, multinational corporation.

In this marketplace and within my current company it is becoming more difficult to challenge the workforce to think beyond themselves and envision a better tomorrow. The media doesn't help in this category as the focus seems to always come to negative newsworthy stories and the positive stories seem to be in the back pages in fine print. I believe that the U.S. economy can have a bright future if it accepts the challenge of our current global market and refrains from making past fiscal mistakes and concentrates on a conservative approach with regards to our future generations.

To reduce costs many companies are reducing pay scales and expecting more experience.

By title I am the warehouse manager, but my responsibilities fall in manufacturing as well. As a result, I am mis-titled and undercompensated.

My salary is below the market average and our parent company does not seem to care about that. All that matters is money in the shareholder's pocket.

With the changes in the economy, people need to be more service-oriented than ever.

Job is challenging. Salary is always not enough.

Managerial dedication is critical in controlling escalating costs, and speeding the processes results in superior client service.

Hope the economy comes back.

Too many illegal aliens in this country.

We undervalue experience. Good judgment comes from experience.

We are a school district so we are always behind the rest of the industry.

We are very optimistic and do our best effort to find ways to improve the productivity of our clients.

I basically work for free.

I feel the industry is on the way back. This recession hurt many companies but the ones that have survived will come back stronger than ever.

For over 20 years in the field the pay is not fair when you are doing two to three other people's jobs.

The corporation for which I am employed does not recognize individuals in the lower ranks for their contributions. Therefore they place little value on those people. All the kudos go to the top along with all the rewards.

There seems to be a slowdown in the industry.

Too many have cut corners when demand was down, and now are suffering or closing down. My previous full-time employer closed in October due to an inability to pay bills, meet payroll, etc., not because of low demand for product.

Schedule preparation, reluctant to embrace the benefits of cycle count, better accuracy, fewer hassles, inaccurate sales forecasts causing constant stockouts, replenishing inventory stock, reducing obsolescence inventory, effective use of personnel.

Our greatest challenge is having our parent company as our main supply chain supplier. Often our logistics hands are tied.

The economic situation in this country has caused many companies to do more with less, which is causing employees to be burnt out and not at their best. Hope there is a change in the near future.

Regardless of the lack of political support for manufacturing and with unfair import regulations 2012 is going to be a profitable year but a hard-earned one. Then I believe the industry will continue to grow for the next six to eight years before we take another dip in pounds and items sold.

Happy to have a good job with good people.

Production is focused primarily on placing product on the door, forgetting about quality, safety, employees' break time.

Like so many others, everyone is expected to be doing more with less available resources.

The current Administration has put way too many rules, regulations and restraints on trucking and small businesses, making it very hard to survive in this economic climate.

I see myself as underpaid for the region and job I do.

The biggest challenge and reward is that I am responsible for the entire operation.

I love my job.

Took everything off me. Put me on part-time with no benefits whatsoever.

I feel the company I work for understands the importance of logistics to their overall health and success, but still places it secondary to the merchandising and sales.

Logistics personnel are significantly undervalued outside my environment. Seems to be an entry-level position at most suppliers.

I really need the battery charger because I can't afford to buy/lease a new car every year!

I love my job. It is always changing and new markets. I believe business-to-business sales are more difficult.

Education is becoming more important when considering hiring or advancement candidates.

For 27 years I was a branch manager/salesman but stayed on commission basis only (with a small bonus). I then realized it wasn't worth the extra time I spent worrying about the operations for what they compensated me with. So I said, “Find someone else who'll manage for basically nothing.” We are one of four stores and stay pretty profitable. The parts manager now is the “store manager” who gets a little extra bonus to “oversee things.”

I just recently was promoted to sales from service tech, and I find it a great challenge but a great move.

My greatest concern is big government imposing stricter regulations, charging greater tariffs and taxes, rising insurance costs and lack of interest in new people wanting to be drivers.

As a consultant some of the biggest challenges I face are the difficult travel schedules that can arise depending on where the customer is located, and the uncertainty of when the next project will be signed.

The biggest challenge is end-to-end supply chain visibility and enabling cooperation across the supply chain to optimize costs and service.

Not satisfied with employment and salary is competitive. Minimum benefits.

Small company and I realize opportunities for significant salary are not realistic.

Reduced hours will cause less income.

I feel as anyone else that it's not enough what I make for what I do.

Hoping for a greater growth in economy as 2%-3% is not generating any significant job growth.

I closed a company and am starting over at 63. It's a bitch.

I feel that I am not being recognized for my wide array of skills within the logistics/supply chain management profession.

At my level I am trying to build partnerships with key suppliers while senior management is threatening to drop the same suppliers if their demands are not met.

Salary has remained the same going on 11 years. Organization of overall operation is not satisfactory.

Salary is below national scale, situation is stable but no advancement opportunities.

Increased responsibilities, risk and exposure.

I am personally ready for economic change. I would like to see operational budgets reappear, skilled employees applying for open positions and the latest technologies realistically priced.

Need to get upper management to realize how important logistics is to their company, not just added cost to product.

The industry is changing. Have to change with the industry.

I've been involved with material handling since 1978 working with [a major aerospace manufacturer]. I've been working with a privately owned company for the past 20+ years managing local, state, private and commercial communications.

Need to have trade schools that can teach the basics of material handling to the workers or those who want to work in this industry. We spend way too much time training folks with little or no experience to have them picked from us both internally and externally.

Creativity is the vital cog in the wheels of transportation and logistics. Rotation is the grip on challenges. Satisfaction comprises all with salary.

One area I would be interested in learning from this survey revolves around incentive programs for people in our industry. Is there any data available that provides success stories for companies that initiated incentive programs? In particular, how much did sales increase as a result of such programs and did the value of the added business more than offset the cost of the incentive?

I am satisfied with my salary. Job situation in our company is good but emergence of new companies in this field has increased the challenge to get a good share in the market.

It is a good sign that after my old company closed, all the people found new jobs in their field.

I have been many years without an increase in base salary with increased requirements in productivity.

More work, less time – companies demand this. If you are not prepared you'd better move on.

Prior to my current status of which I am well pleased, I held a position with a top equipment (forklift) dealership. Salary and bonus at that time was 20% better.

Very competitive. Unfortunately too many people giving orders without asking the right people what's needed.

The industry requires more caring employees. The new “me generation” cares about their paycheck only and not for servicing customers efficiently.

I love my job, but I do feel like I am currently underpaid. My promotion was a lateral pay move for me and I would like to make more.

I would like other opportunities to increase my career profile and improve my knowledge about finance and management.

It is very hard to do your job correctly when you are understaffed and on a timeline to get jobs done.

I like the ability to schedule my own time.

My department has been operating three people short since September. This added 12+ hours more per week while I was already working 55+. What I am hearing from others in our area is that employers are not replacing people as they leave. As I am salary the additional hours mean that I am making substantially less income for the time put in, or more appropriately the company is making more profit.

I am satisfied with my salary and my job situation. With the uneasy state of the economy, government regulations and customer requirements, logistics though still enjoyable has become more stressful to my organization.

Managers with positions over a large group like a branch location should delegate effectively and make sure their employees are not overwhelmed with work.

The economy appears to be depressing salaries to some extent, but high performers still have opportunities.

Like in any management job today we wear many hats now due to the economy. Not enough hours in the day to complete all tasks.

There are always challenges for safety and production to work hand in hand. It helps keep the job interesting.

What is the biggest challenge facing the material handling and logistics industry today?

Ability to hire and retain qualified personnel.


Accounting changes for leases. Also obsolescence of battery technology.

Additional accounts, stability and customer service.

Adhering to policy.

Aligning salaries with experience and abilities.

Always last in the operations group.

An aging workforce and lack of interest in the industry by the most talented young people.

AQMD requirements.

Arranging for the capital to make improvements and/or stay ahead of our competition.

Attracting new customers.


Avenues of sale.

Balancing ROI demands with service goals in a more volatile and SKU prolific environment.

Biggest challenge is speed/timing. With the Internet and with advances in communication and technology everyone wants things right away, instantly. They want things yesterday but they order it today so when it comes in tomorrow any little delay is an inconvenience that is our fault.

Budget considerations.


Capital for investment.

Carrier capacity and rates.


Changing demands from customers and suppliers with little information.


Chinese imports and Internet sales.


Communications, adaptation and training/preparing for new challenges.

Companies cutting back on spending.

Company acceptance and approval of identified needs.


Competition through technology.

Compliance to changing regulations.

Consistency in rates; lack of new personnel in this field.

Constantly being asked to accomplish more with less.

Continuing to attract quality people to enable our company to prosper which in turn will benefit my career.

Continuous fast pace.

Controlling cost.

Controlling labor adding to the bottom line of company.

Coping with the recession.


Cost containment.

Cost control in a tough economy.

Cost of operation.

Cost of parts and freight.

Cost of raw materials (steel) and fuel increases (due to Middle East conflicts) driving material handling equipment costs up every year.

Cost of shipping.

Cost pressure, impact of oil prices.

Cost reductions through process enhancement.

Cost vs. value.

Costs rising versus stagnant or reduced budgets.

CSA 2010.

Cutbacks from owners.

Dealing with the EPA and its expanding scope.

Dealing with the supply chain uncertainties and risks while trying to reduce inventories and lower costs.


Decrease cost even by increasing price.

Delays, and quick turnaround times.


Demands to do more with less people, equipment and resources.


Doing more (added responsibilities to secure the supply chain) with fewer resources (IT help, senior management back-up/understanding). Also the requirement to diversify the supply chain while we narrow our list of approved suppliers.

Doing more with less.

Domestic and foreign government regulations to ship parts/products, etc.

Double-digit price increases.



Efficiency vs. cost.

Electronic data interchange.

Energy costs and decreasing manufacturing base in this country.

Enforcement of ANSI/RMI MH16.1.

Enough staffing at operations level.

Equipment and parts not being readily available from manufacturers or vendors. Many part vendors no longer in business.

Eroding margins, gray market equipment, slow economic growth, and uncertain regulatory landscape and political outcome.

Escalating fuel costs; political uncertainty.

Everybody is holding onto their cash. Not spending on equipment. Repairing aging, inefficient equipment.

Everything is becoming quicker turnaround: need it faster and cheaper.

Expanding productivity gains.

Federal regulatory actions.

Finding adequate transportation options.

Finding companies that can meet the growing demands for more product.

Finding employees with good communication skills, vision and a practical mind.

Finding good drivers.

Finding good employees.

Finding qualified individuals who know how to work.

Finding reputable suppliers.

Finding what people need when we don't have it.

Fleet repair for a small company.

Flexibility to meet the changing needs of the customer.

Fluidity in the marketplace.

Foreign competition.

Freight costs.

Fuel and material costs.

Fuel charges and truck availability.

Fuel costs and Democratic policies on energy and regulation.

Fuel costs, lack of trained and dedicated drivers. Over-regulation by state and federal governments.

Fuel surcharges.

Getting managers to realize that they need to make serious changes in order to improve productivity and keep up with the changing times.

Getting truck drivers to stay with company; way too much turnover.

Getting younger people interested in the industry.

Giving the best service.

Global sourcing, increasing transportation expenses, increasing compliance issues.

Government intervention in our lives.

Government regulations.


Handling inbound and outbound freight fluctuations.

Having the motivated manpower to handle the orders.

How long will it take me to learn it?

Implementing product data tracking. I am seeing more requests to input finished goods data directly into databases.

Increased regulation and costs.

Increasing energy costs

Increasing freight costs and in-transit times, along with shortages of available carriers.

Increasing productivity and efficiency to offset freight cost increases.

Instability in the economy.

Instability of fuel prices and availability.

Instituting MRP software.


Inventory control.

Irresponsible people, untrained people.

IT integration.

IT support.

JIT and fuel cost.

Keeping costs as low as possible yet providing accurate shipments and tracking data every time.

Keeping costs under control and increasing productivity with fewer people.

Keeping informed of the constant changes/updates in the regulatory arena of this industry.

Keeping maintenance costs down and equipment operating.

Keeping on top of all the changes.

Keeping pace with customer requirements and changes they make.

Keeping things moving with bouncing energy costs.

Keeping up to date.

Keeping up with changing regulations while trying to maintain daily operations.

Keeping up with inflation.



Lack of applications.

Lack of employees with any industry-oriented work history or experience.

Lack of experienced talent willing and able to relocate for opportunities.

Lack of good manners.

Lack of new business.

Lack of vision, too many younger/newly hired employees thinking they leaned it all in college.


Learning to do more with less in terms of personnel.


Less waste.

Looking at this year a lot will depend on the euro and how those countries deal with it will become a key player in our economy as to how well we do as a country.

Losing business and jobs to lower-cost foreign competitors.

Low corporate priorities to invest.

Low inventory levels.

Low new investment in this area. Companies are trying to extend the lifecycle of their infrastructure (mostly obsolete).

Low-cost competition.

Maintaining costs and finding areas of growth.

Maintaining the activity level of previous years in today's depressed economy.

Maintenance and upkeep.

Making a profit.

Making the correct decisions.

Managing relationships.

Managing risk within the supply chain.

Manufacturers' available inventory/forecasting levels.

Manufacturing. Getting the customers to produce goods before the recession.

Material availability and vendor service.

Maximizing transportation costs.


More economic solutions for smaller production runs and single piece flow.

Most of the machine shops rebounded after slowing during the recession, but it was too late for the small machine shop I used to work for.

New Hazmat rules, trucking hours of service.

Not being able to have my company see the value in adopting new technologies or being flexible to adapt to changing conditions.

Not enough freight.

Older workers hanging on too long for younger workers to develop into leaders.

On-time delivery and billing.


Optimizing resources and customizing the process for my company.

Overseas competition.

Owners not willing to invest.

People lie, cheat and steal and are rude – no ethics today.

People not wanting to spend on what they need.

Personnel dedicated to sound inventory management and systems infrastructure.

Policy paralysis.

Poor leadership.

Pricing for new equipment is very competitive.

Pricing, on-time delivery.

Product development and client optimization.


Qualified and interested people.

Qualified carriers, lack of infrastructure, government regulations, decline in the number of individuals looking at transportation/warehousing as a career path.

Qualified individuals to work in warehousing.

Quality. Quick delivery.

Rapidly changing market and demands.

Raw material and new accounts.

Real count inventory and high transportation costs.

Receiving the budget dollars to continue to improve performance and reduce costs.

Recognizing value, importance and contributions by senior management.

Recruiting new people to the industry.

Reducing expenses to keep costs down while sales are down.

Regulation of truck drivers.

Regulations, cost of equipment with new technology (OBC, etc.). Drivers selecting different carriers. Age of drivers.

Replacing equipment.


Retaining or keeping up with current demand. Structuring the logistics part of the operations to meet new challenges in relation to customer demands and competition.

Re-thinking JIT concepts. The disasters in Japan demonstrated the weakness of this supply chain concept.

Rising costs associated with procurement of raw materials

Rising customer expectations and requirements.

Rising healthcare and material costs.

Risk management while maintaining or reducing overall costs.


Safety issues when cost cutting.

Safety/productivity balance.

Same old: do more with less.

Satisfying customer needs.

Selling and also managing the operations side. Too much work load.

Selling quality over price.

Sending and receiving parts on time.

Shift from retail to direct-to-consumer and need for companies to revamp their logistics networks and DCs accordingly.

Shipping costs.

Shortage on products from China.

Shortages in the supply chain.

Shrinking profit margins.


Speed and flexibility.

Stability and forecasting customer spending and commitments.


Staying competitive with Chinese goods and equipment.

Staying organized and staying on task.

Struggling with inefficient infrastructure in Brazil.

Supply disruptions.

Talented and forward-thinking personnel.


Technology and qualified, dedicated people.

The ability to entice people to enter the field due to unstable work conditions and the economy.

The company capacity to acquire state-of-the-art technology to move and ship products safely and productively.

The company doesn't care about having enough people or equipment to do the job right or pay you what your true worth is for the years you have in the field. I would just as soon get my CDL and get a job locally and be home every night.

The industry is more complex and challenging. Technological advances seem to happen weekly and you have to stay up with it. Companies are always trying to do more with less.

The lack of understanding of the role of logistics and supply chain and the impact on WACC and net costs.

The rapidly changing face of logistics and the related technology.

The U.S. and global economy and lack of industrial growth. Increasing un-necessary government regulations.

Tight budgets.


To be more productive.

To change with technology.

To improve service. Get into every place you can, and grow the business.

Too much outsourcing.

Trained personnel.

Transportation costs.

Truck availability. Lack of consistency.

Truck capacity and fuel prices.

Trucking costs.

Trying to improve green practices while maintaining customer relationships.

Trying to make a profit with rising costs.

U.S. Government.

Understanding risks in the supply chain and developing partnerships and strategies to mitigate these risks.

Uniform cost awareness and the ability to maintain employees with an understanding, desire and commitment to help develop effective controls on safety and continued education (knowledge) of equipment or job-related functions.

Unionized employees.

Unstable fuel costs.

Warehousing space and JIT receiving and shipping.

Within my own company stubborn culture is my biggest challenge in material handling. Logistics is under control.

Work load and area design.

Working hand in hand with safety while moving product into and out of the building.

Working through all the options.

Working with corporate office on changes.