Jeffrey A. Maddow, president and CEO of LEP Profit International, Inc., gives his views on the industry's future.
Q What do you see as the future role of the traditional, "classic" forwarder in the air freight industry?
A For the traditional forwarder to be successful in the future, he must combine powerful information management tools, offer high quality service at low costs and create delivery systems for customers that will advance their own sales and marketing goals. He must become market driven and a true partner to his customer.
Q Many in air freight believe the traditional mid-sized to larger forwarder is vulnerable, caught between the large integrators on one hand and the very small specialized forwarders who either concentrate on particular commodity niches or lane segments. How do you respond to the statement that companies like LEP Profit are most at risk by the changes in our industry?
A The demise of the traditional mid-sized to larger forwarder has been confidently predicted for the past decade. The reality is far different, however. Many traditional forwarders - those without aircraft - now are reporting solid gains in sales and earnings with bright prospects for the future. Why is this so? I believe we classic forwarders offer a plurality of delivery modes, a flexibility of operation and dedication to personalized service that the big integrators simply cannot match. Unlike the integrators who by the very nature of their operations are forced to fly fixed, rigid routes, we can go anywhere. Companies like LEP Profit also can respond more quickly to the specific needs of customers. As to the "niche" commodity or lane …