New Executive Team and Real Supply Network Management will make northAmerican Logistics a Strong Player

Fort Wayne, Indiana USA
January 16, 2002
Richard Armstrong

Without fanfare, northAmerican Logistics (NAL) mastered supply chain management. Not only does NAL have the IT in place to deliver complete solutions for companies like Ericsson, Diebold, Hitachi and NCR, but it has recently put together a management team that could make it a significant global player.

Many of the key components have been in place since the 1980’s. NAL is the largest specialized carrier in North America and has built a strong presence in Europe. NAL fleets have provided blanket wrap, special handling for computers, medical equipment, telecommunications, exercise equipment and displays for decades. NAL does extensive value-added services in installation, setup and return logistics. Part of this service has involved project management such as the development of cellular telephone switching sites. A core competency is NAL’s On-Trac less-than-truckload network, a major pipeline for the movement of high value equipment in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

The major new development is the marriage of NAL’s Asset Manager with i2’s complete offering including advanced planning. Creating visibility and transparency, these capabilities are Internet tracking, WORLDTRAC and NAL’s long standing EDI capability. Using these tools has kept NAL in lockstep with its major customers. NAL manages supply networks for them providing an unmatched suite of transportation value-added services.

NAL manages vendors, assets and inventory to the SKU level. In-transit merging is a basic day-to-day skill. NAL can globally manage inventory and is especially good with serialized products. RF and barcoded warehouse management are standard. Network design and transportation optimization using i2 modules are regular fare. Light assembly and manufacturing support are done for major computer and high tech companies. Installation and returns management are regular services. Routinely, NAL combines several of these skills for all its major customers. NAL is a major SNEP (supply network execution provider).

What NAL has not done is to expand its niche and improve its marketing. More emphasis needs to be placed on quantifying value and selling to related verticals. In addition, NAL’s parent, Allied World Wide, can stretch the NAL network to 120 locations worldwide. Many of these offices need to become more SCM capable.

Greg Maiers, President and CEO, has just gotten his feet on the ground and is already moving to make NAL more broadly identifiable. Maiers is also committed to restoring and improving profit margins. Efforts during his first months have been in improving internal processes, streamlining and solidifying IT capabilities. Major strides have been made.

Maiers ran the specialized fleet operation for five years in the 1990s, and they made money. He has a strong group of veteran managers who can execute. To improve sales and marketing, he added Jack Griffin as Executive VP. Industry veteran Mike Runager is being added as VP-Sales.

NAL’s agent network contains large regional operators who assist in development. These agents have brought light assembly, manufacturing support and new regional 3PL customers to NAL. They give NAL coverage for regional opportunities that would normally be ignored by major 3PLs.

The basic skill set at NAL is solid. Maiers and his team will be heard from.

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