SOURCE: Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

November 06, 2007 17:09 ET

Agile Companies Succeed in the Dynamic World of International Transportation Management

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - November 6, 2007) - The recent research study by Aberdeen, a Harte-Hanks company (NYSE: HHS), titled, "The International Transportation Management Report," revealed that over 200 companies found that of all the major areas of supply chain, international transportation costs are the most difficult to contain. Less than 10% of companies are able to reduce year-over-year international freight spend. As companies attempt to collaborate with a number of trading partners in various parts of the world (ranging from suppliers, carriers, third-party logistics providers, and government agencies) the challenges of international transportation management are forcing companies to seek agility above all in their international supply chains.

As globalization simultaneously increases the economic integration and interdependence of countries, companies find themselves with a slew of new challenges as they enter the strange new world of international commerce. The challenge of receiving accurate supply chain data from a disparate group of trading partners was identified by 44% of all survey respondents as the biggest challenge companies face when trying to improve the processes around international transportation management. Furthermore, while Best-in-Class companies coincide with Industry Average and Laggard companies that rising logistics costs are a top business pressure, Best-in-Class companies view rising costs in their proper context, with 42% citing the pressure to increase awareness of the cost and service impact of transportation on overall supply chain performance as a top pressure. By improving visibility to international shipments, Best-in-Class companies hope to align various parts of the organization and reduce international transportation costs.

"Companies often fall victim to thinking that they can have a greater measure of control over international shipments than is really feasible today," explains Ian Hobkirk, Aberdeen's Senior Analyst for Supply Chain Execution. "While it is possible to achieve a measure of performance improvement through service level agreements and 'strong-arming' carriers and suppliers, there are limits to this strategy. Weather events, customs delays, and bottlenecks at logistics hubs make unforeseen delays inevitable. Best-in-Class companies recognize this reality, and have adopted a strategy of agility and responsiveness in order to still meet their supply chain goals."

The report highlights how Best-in-Class companies excel by adopting capabilities like strategic bid allocation, dynamic hub routing, and divert-in-transit as strategic supply chain weapons. Examples from companies like Kraft Foods and Del Monte highlight real-life examples of how companies have implemented these strategies.

The research educates readers on how to sufficiently contain the key metrics of international freight spend, international contracted freight rates, and high levels of on-time inbound international shipments by blending tactical processes and data quality initiatives.

A complimentary copy of this report is made available due in part to the following underwriters: Management Dynamics Inc. and Precision. To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, visit:

About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen is a leading provider of fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having benchmarked more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is uniquely positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen™ for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen or call (617) 723-7890, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748 or go to

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