Every year for the past 14 years, the logistics community has waited for its collective report card, which arrived each spring in the form of the annual State of Logistics Report. The study, produced annually by Robert Delaney and Rosalyn Wilson, gave observers a benchmark for tracking the industry's performance from year to year by measuring domestic logistics costs as a percentage of gross domestic product. Though some analysts dispute the methodology used in the annual study, it's become a benchmark for tracking logistics costs.
But late last year, it appeared that the report had reached the end of the line. Former co-sponsors Cass Information Systems and ProLogis announced that they would no longer fund the study.
Within weeks, however, a new sponsor stepped forward. Early in January, the Council of Logistics Management announced that it would be the exclusive sponsor of the report this year. In announcing the sponsorship, CLM executive vice president Maria McIntyre said, "We're pleased to sponsor this important report, which has become the standard for measuring logistics costs. Without question, the State of Logistics Report is a valuable tool to logisticians, but its national recognition serves to enhance the importance and relevance of the logistics profession as an important component of the nation's overall economic health."
The report grew out of an analysis Delaney conducted to demonstrate the potential benefits of deregulating the transportation industry. As Delaney told DC VELOCITY in an interview published in November 2003, he first began compiling data on national logistics costs as ammunition in the battle to persuade Congress to deregulate portions of the transportation industry in the late 1970s. But even after that mission was largely accomplished, Delaney felt there was value to performing yearly updates. "[B]y updating and publishing the data," he said, "we could show not only that we were making progress post-deregulation, but also that there was a lot of potential for further progress."
Until this year,Delaney was a vice president for Cass Information Systems, an information services business, and a consultant to ProLogis, an international developer and operator of distribution properties. Wilson is an independent consultant who has more than 25 years of experience in transportation research.