What keeps you up at night

There comes a time in everyone's professional career when you have to ask yourself point-blank: Why am I doing this?

No, I don't intend to get all existential here — I'm talking about that moment when you're able to pinpoint exactly what your role within your company or organization is. Now, some cynics might say that defining moment usually coincides with an annual performance review, but the overwhelming body of evidence before me — our recent reader survey of logistics trends and issues — says otherwise.

Our goal here at Logistics Today isn't just to offer a monthly print magazine, weekly e-newsletters and daily news on our website. What we're really aiming at is creating a community for the logistics profession, and to do that, we regularly take your pulse, so to speak, through surveys and polls (and thanks to all of you who have responded).

Earlier this year, when we conducted our annual Salary Survey, we learned that 81% of you are satisfied with logistics as your chosen career path. Based on your responses, we determined that the so-called “average logistics manager” is male, between 40-49 years old, lives in the Midwest, has worked in logistics for 11-15 years, has worked for his current company for the past 2-5 years, and currently earns a little over $66,000 per year.

Now that we know how much you make and where you work, we decided to delve deeper to identify the day-to-day nuances of your job. In recent weeks we asked a group of readers the open-ended question, “What keeps you up at night?” We got an earful — more than we could hope to publish here — but here's a representative sampling from your peers as to what's bugging them the most. See if any of these sound familiar:

  • Finding the quality people needed to get the job done right.
  • The costs of having to constantly train new hires.
  • Managing customer compliance issues and challenging chargebacks from customers.
  • Government intrusion into logistics business processes without regard to the costs it layers onto private companies.
  • Rising fuel, insurance and transportation costs and continually trying to find cost reductions to offset those rising costs.
  • Finding and retaining qualified drivers.
  • Export restrictions, security requirements, Customs clearance issues.
  • Top management dragging its heels on adopting new technologies.
  • Whether the trucks we called in to pick up loads have picked the load up and will deliver to the customer's schedule.
  • The hidden costs (pay-offs and kick-backs) of doing business offshore.
  • How to get truckload freight moved on unwanted lanes.
  • Increases in fuel and security fees, and peak surcharges for ocean imports from the Far East.
  • Changes made in the freight systems that we have no control over (such as railroads rationalizing lanes), creating costs for us besides the normal rate increases.
  • Determining the best metrics to measure operations and bottom lines.
  • Having too much to do and too little time to do it in.

As most of you know, we created Logistics Today one year ago to answer the logistics industry's need for a fast-paced and timely source of information related to moving products. Your survey responses and ongoing input tell us that we're on the right track, but you've also told us not to get too comfortable patting ourselves on the back. As the pace of business continues to accelerate, we have to stay on top of the most pressing trends and concerns in logistics.

To that end, you've probably already noticed our Logistics Today Buyer's Guide (which was in that polybag you had to rip open to get to this magazine). I would urge you to take a good look at this new publication because rather than the typically contrived lists of “top 100 widget suppliers,” this Buyer's Guide lets you decide for yourself which carriers and solutions providers ought to be on your own personal list. In answer to your requests, we've also collected together all of the regional lists of the country's most logistics-friendly cities, so you can gauge the relative strengths and weaknesses of each city on a national level. In any event, let us know what you think.

Dave Blanchard
[email protected]

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