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TMW transportation, logistics study highlights key performance indicators

April 1, 2015

The 2014 TMW Transportation & Logistics Study--offering the latest data and analysis related to rising rates, driver retention, utilization, maintenance cost control, gross margins and other critical performance measures across a broad cross-section of North American carrier and brokerage businesses--is now available from TMW Systems. In its second year, the industry benchmarking study has more than doubled the number of companies participating, with detailed results collected from more than 130 businesses representing the truckload irregular, truckload dedicated and brokerage/non-asset segments.

Designed to assist transportation service providers in confirming industry best practices and benchmarking their performance, the study presents data gleaned from more than 200 online survey questions spanning financial, operational, and maintenance topics. Participants in the study included 21 of the Transport Topics “Top 100 Carriers” and 10 of the Inbound Logistics “Top 50 Third-Party Logistics Providers.” Combined revenue of all participating entities exceeded $24 billion over the preceding 12 months.

“This study is a ‘must-read’ for transportation professionals who want to compare their performance against industry peers and explore proven strategies for maximizing competitive advantage,” says TMW President David Wangler. “With more than twice the number of participants over the previous year and rising interest from more companies to take part in 2015, there’s a clear need for this comprehensive annual benchmarking tool.”

The study results highlight improved utilization and financial performance among many carriers, year-over-year, as well as the value in leveraging developed carrier networks to achieve stronger gross margins for brokerage/non-asset service providers. Among the insights addressed in the study:

  • Driver Retention

Survey responses underscore the clear relationship between driver wages and retention. Length of haul and utilization also emerged as important factors in driver turnover.

  • Rates

Truckload carriers in the study averaged 7% net rate increases, a trend of interest for brokerage and third-party logistics providers as well as shippers.

  • Asset Utilization

Many survey respondents successfully leveraged new technology to achieve gains in utilization. As one example, dedicated fleets that utilize planning optimization experienced an average year-over-year increase of 142 revenue miles per seated truck per week.

  • Fleet Maintenance

Participants reported greater difficulty in gaining visibility into equipment maintenance metrics than any other functional area, and a majority indicated they do not adequately track maintenance costs by equipment age group.

  • Operating Ratios and Margins

A majority of participating asset-based businesses reported operating ratios of 96% or lower, a healthy increase over last year’s results. Gross margin variations for brokerage and logistics service providers are also analyzed in the study according to operational mix. 

Participants in the annual study survey receive a comprehensive version of the report that includes detailed response metrics for more precise benchmarking insights and KPI planning. Visit www.tmwsystems.com to download a summary version of the study and to sign up to receive the survey questions for the 2015 study.