Guest Commentary: How to Compete in the Logistics Big Leagues

The weather is warming and trees are blooming. It must be time for baseball! Every year at this time I look over the rosters of my favorite Major League Baseball (MLB) teams and compare how they spend their money to compete and win. The season-long game played in the front offices of major league franchises can be almost as much fun to follow as the game on the field. Which team will find a way to play smarter, compete and win against the big payroll teams?

Last year’s World Series Champions, The St. Louis Cardinals, had the 11th highest payroll in MLB, nearly half that of the highest payroll team, the NY Yankees. The Tampa Bay Rays had a payroll one-fifth that of the Yankees and made the playoffs with the 4th best record in the American League. Clearly, money isn’t the only way to achieve success and win.

Like baseball, young or small logistics companies can compete with the well-established, well-funded companies and win. Just as it was for the Rays in 2011, it happens in business every day; spend wisely, field the right team, provide the best equipment and you will compete and win!

Let’s look at four things young or small upstart brokerage companies can do to compete effectively:

  1. Use big league “equipment.” You would never use a Little League bat to try and hit a Justin Verlander fastball. Make sure your freight brokerage software will keep you in the game. Does it handle all modes and geographies? Will it easily integrate with your customers’ and carriers’ systems? Will it scale as you grow?
  2. Use your speed as an advantage. If you can quickly adjust to an off-speed pitch, you can hit it out of the park. As a broker, you have to quickly adjust business practices and processes to react to the changing market and customer demands. A nimble organization, with systems that can keep pace and adapt quickly, can outmaneuver even the largest and best funded competitors.
  3. Look like a “big leaguer.” When you take the field, look like you belong there. Your web presence and social networks must convey an image of a fundamentally strong company that is a capable competitor. Consider all customer-facing communications as your image and be sure it shows strength and confidence. It doesn’t cost much to ensure a big league image on the field.
  4. Track your “stats.” There’s a reason baseball teams keep and analyze so many stats. It’s not for the amusement of the fans; it’s so they can constantly monitor their performance and make adjustments as required. Logistics companies should do the same thing. Use the tools that are available to measure the performance and profitability of every aspect of your business and make adjustments as necessary.

All this talk about baseball has got me craving peanuts and Cracker Jacks. See you at the ballpark!

Peter Yost is the Director of Business Development at MercuryGate International. He has 29 years of experience in technology sales & marketing, including 8 years in the logistics industry. Peter is responsible for MercuryGate’s market development and messaging, and he is responsible for the company’s domestic and international partner ecosystem that is expanding the company’s reach into Europe, Asia and South America. Peter has a BBA in Marketing and Information Technology from Georgia Southern University.


  1. In your article, no mention was made about OFFERING THE LOWEST PRICE. I sometimes get the feeling that even if you provide the best service to the client, the client can just as easily switch to another provider of equal capabilities because the new provider undercuts the price of the present provider. In fact, the local unit of Johnson and Johnson conducted an Online bidding of their Outsourced warehouse wherein bidders tried to offer ever lower prices before the bid ends. In another instance, I did a freelance job for the previous 3PL who was then handling the Raw Material warehouses for Philip Morris. In the next round of bidding, the present provider lost the bid to another 3PL. And the irony of it is that the new bidwinner was trying to pirate the warehouse crew of the incumbent provider assigned to the then Philip Morris warehouse as the new bid winner did not have the personnel nor the expertise in running Philip Morris’s stringent warehouse management requirements.