March 22, 2012

Recyclers, investors step into the logistics business

Last August, Waste Management Inc., a major provider of waste management services, got into the logistics business.

By Peter Bradley

Last August, Waste Management Inc., a major provider of waste management services, got into the logistics business.

The company acquired Access Computer Products, a provider of cell phone, ink and toner cartridge, and consumer electronics reverse logistics, remarketing, and recycling services.

What brought Waste Management to the logistics table? In announcing the acquisition of Access Computer and Mordell LLC, a firm that refurbishes and resells computer equipment, Waste Management said it wanted to strengthen its position as a recycler of e-waste, one of the fastest growing commodities in the waste stream.

Benjamin Gordon, managing director of BG Strategic Partners, a Palm Beach, Fla.-based mergers and acquisitions consulting firm that specializes in logistics and the supply chain and that advised Access Computer and Mordell on the deal, says the Waste Management deal is an indicator of what he considers one of the most interesting emerging stories in the logistics business, and that is the growing interest of other industries in the field.

Gordon, speaking at the International Warehouse Logistics Association's annual conference in San Francisco this week, said that he is seeing a blurring of lines between logistics providers and other businesses that want to take advantage of what they offer. He cited waste processing and electronics industries in particular as interested in reverse logistics and other logistics providers. (This week's announcement that Amazon.com would acquire Kiva Systems, a maker of robotic order fulfillment systems, came on the same day as Gordon's remarks.)

Gordon said that merger and acquisition activity in the logistics and supply chain field is growing. Buyers, he said, are looking to "invest aggressively" to add locations and services while sellers are looking to generate capital and adopting conservative strategies to maximize value.

About the Author

Peter Bradley
Editorial Director
Peter Bradley is an award-winning career journalist with over three decades of experience in both newspapers and national business magazines. His credentials include seven years as the transportation and supply chain editor at Purchasing Magazine and six years as the chief editor of Logistics Management.

More articles by Peter Bradley

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