Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Last Shift: A Perspective on Maytag

By now everyone's heard that the folks at Whirlpool administered the coup de grace to Maytag, which had been manufacturing in Newton, Iowa for 114 years, first in horse drawn farm equipment and later in washers and driers.
Fred L. Maytag over on the left there was a brilliant mechanic who dabbled in a number of fields that today are mostly of interest to collectors, but much of what Maytag did tracked the evolution of the country from a horse drawn, kerosene lit rural economy to the wired, electrified and developed state it is today.
Maytag was once famous for its gasoline powered washers, and as anyone who's ever tried to boil wash in a copper tub and scrub it on a washboard can tell you what Fred created was a gift from God. In the opinion of the average farm wife on the prairie, Fred should have been canonized early on, and several times to boot.
Whirlpool bought the firm after several years of declining share values and mismanagement at the hands of a succession of eminently forgettable chief executive officers who seemed incapable of exercising leadership at the level that was needed to modernize and compete effectively in a cutthroat field.
What happened to Maytag was formulaic, really-there is a buyout or series of buyouts, and eventually a salvage sale-which was pretty much the way the company my father gave 28 years to-Weston Electrical Instrument Co.-became nothing but a memory and a collection of buildings that can be seen on Google Earth if you punch in 614 Frelinghuysen Avenue, Newark, New Jersey.

Last Friday most of the workers still on the payroll at Maytag pulled their last shift, although some folks will be doing cleanup for a few weeks, no doubt setting the scene for one hell of an auction, the likes of which haven't been seen for a while.

The Maytag name will continue in some form or other-it's a valuable property with a quality cachet- but as we have seen in other businesses like aerospace, it's nothing new these days for a strong competitor to buy and idle a weaker one.

If you've been following this blog you may see some similarities between what happened to Maytag and what happened to McDonnell Douglas's commercial division. The process does two things-it narrows the field, it idles excess productive capacity, and more importantly it raises the bar for any potential competitors seeking a turnkey entry into the field-which is largely dominated by a few domestic producers at this date.

The entire affair makes economic sense from Whirlpool's perspective because American manufacturing is in the fight of its life for its very existence. Pitting American labor and production engineering against the best that can be found in Mexico and China is not a game for the faint of heart. Bold leadership and steady nerves are the sine qua non of survival today, and no amount of excess baggage can be tolerated if the competition's to be met.
When I first moved here to Iowa one of the things I noticed about Newton was that it was a town where there was something of a labor elite-lots of working class toys like Harley dressers, bass boats in the driveways and huge pickup trucks sometimes known as 'duallies' to haul the travel trailers around.
Jobs at Maytag were handed down from father to son like the hereditaments of medieval ceorls, and it was all very nice. "Thirty years and out" was the way things went, and a lot of guys my age had already done their thirty years and were enjoying generous retirement benefits from contracts that were negotiated when everything Maytag made turned into money-lots of money. Forklift drivers who'd retired were whipping around town in red Corvettes and wearing expensive Hawaiian shirts. When you think about it, it was crazy, and it couldn't continue.
The gravy train had to end. Ineffective leadership failed to take Maytag's high labor cost structure and inefficient production facilities under control in time to do something about it, and the end was, ultimately and depressingly predictable. Labor, for its part, never came to any independent consensus and plan to save Maytag from itself and in a sense did its part to kill the golden goose.
What's the object lesson? There are a number of takehomes, as my mentor Professor Neil Hamilton used to say.
When a marathon runner was needed, Maytag was a sumo wrestler.
Labor cannot survive by tossing people off the liferaft and letting the Devil take the hindmost. American manufacturing can compete on efficiency and quality as any number of executives at Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai can tell you, because what we've got is infrastructure, production engineering expertise, an intelligent and creative workforce and liberal work rules.
Management for its part cannot depend on doing things the way Dad did them back in the fifties, and it can't survive by fiddling the stock options to line their pockets and head for the timber when the competition heats up.
The perspective has to be clear and unflinching on both sides of the house.
Much as I hate to say it, it's time for labor and management to reach some sort of consensus and modus vivendi about where the American manufacturing project is going-either that or exit the field.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Our Daily Bread

My pal Saj over on Fleetbuzz has a piece this day written by a guest commentator that I thought it worth responding to.

Here it is.

I’ve chosen to respond in detail to the previous day’s commentary because I may be one of the few people who inhabit this little corner of the universe who actually was a member of an aerospace labor union and worked in an airplane factory. Today, I make my living with my mouth, but my union card is under the glass with my law license to remind me where I came from.

One thing I've always wondered about is why people always seem to be in favor of every kind of combination for industrialists but are hell on wheels when it comes down to labor's right to organize and bargain collectively for the mutual benefit of the members.

The received wisdom of the age is that capital is permitted to beat the snot out of working folks, pick their pockets and discard them like a used diaper tossed out the window of a Chrysler Cordoba screaming down the interstate, but G-d help them if they are so impertinent as to believe that what’s good for the company is equally good for the membership.

That’s heresy, to be expunged with hot pokers, forced recantations, and burnings at the stake. Equally, to believe that NAFTA and WTO-style ‘free trade’ may not be fair to a lot of people who aren’t capitalists is the very legerdemain to be expunged with fire and sword. The real puzzler of the age is how this new revealed religion of unregulated cash was swallowed by a gullible populace that should know better. I mean, it wasn’t all that long ago in this country that the slaves up in the big house thought they were a whole lot better than the field hands when in truth, they were all the same when Massa lost big at the card table or in the markets or backed the wrong horse on Sunday. They were disposable diapers in the grand scheme of things.

It wasn’t always this way. Time was when a lot of folks accepted the idea that labor was coequal with capital and the combination of the two in an equal relationship was as American as apple pie. In other places, lest we forget, organized labor was at the forefront of sweeping political change in places like the Gdansk Shipyard and the Pullman shops that benefited everyone, not least of all those who now think it unfashionable to admit that the willingness of working stiffs in labor unions to risk their lives had anything to do with their present ability to benefit from the increase of their own labor.

Although I understand the ascendancy of capital in our day, what I don’t get is why people think it is the natural order of things ordained by G-d, rather than what it is, which is an exercise in raw power.

I suspect that it is because folks may not have much experience as a person who, like the Mexicans down at the corner in the morning looking for pickup work, has to ‘work for food’ like Adam who was cursed by Yahweh thusly:

By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground;for out of it you have been taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.

Look at it this way. All that organized labor has is the ability to withhold its work.

When one looks backward in time a fellow named Adam Smith came up with the notion that labor added value to what were otherwise assets of no value. A man plants a garden on the commons or grazes cattle, and he therefore owns the crop he tends or the increase from the critters he cares for. A man fixes a toaster and gets paid for his knowledge and his labor.

If we look back to the 1890s in the US we see some parallels to our day. Labor had no right to organize and few friends in the government or at the courts. Senator John Sherman, speaking in Congress in the debates that resulted in the antitrust bill that bears his name said that the only fundamental right that a man has is to labor for his own sustenance. If you deprive him of that, you take away all other rights.

In a similar vein, Norman Borlaug, the Nobel prize winning agronomist has said, if you seek peace, work for justice, but while you work for justice, plant the fields and raise more food because without food there will be no peace.

Similarly, treatment of the people who labor as a fungible and ultimately disposable resource is a dangerous and ultimately suicidal construct that will ultimately bring chaos.

I’m reminded of a story. A farmer had a draft horse that did his plowing and harrowing faithfully in season and without. However, the horse mostly stayed in the barn during the winter and had to be fed. The farmer figured that the solution to his problem lay in training the horse to work without eating. It worked pretty well. Just about the time that the horse was starting to get used to the idea he unaccountably died.

So, let’s have done with talk of ‘today’s global economy’, ‘sharecropper models’ and ill defined threats of how much worse things can get if we don’t A, B or C. The fact is, nobody really knows what’s going to happen if we do, and suggesting that capital is going to feel any obligation to guarantee anything to a workforce that puts down the only tool it has-the ability to withhold labor on a large scale-is to take it as a revealed article of the new religion that the tiger will change his stripes or the leopard her spots.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Last Screw: A Short Story

The Last Screw: A story from the shop floor.

It was a dark and stormy night in the winter of 1987. Well, that's how all good stories start, right? The night crew at a certain now defunct fixed base operator in Long Beach was doing a ten year tank and plank inspection on a Falcon 20 with the freighter door.

The aircraft was up on a belly support and the wingtips were on jacks. The planks had been removed from the lower side of the wings, and they were stainless (I think) steel screws going into nutplates-about 1200 of them on each side.

After the corrosion treatment and recoating with Buna sealer a/k/a monkey blood and laying out the 12 hour cure PR1422 the planks were offered up and reassembly began.

All went well until about 3/4 way through the right hand side, when one of the screws stripped the nutplate. The assembly work went right around it and finished up, except for that one stripped screw and nutplate. Replacing the nutplate would have meant completely disassembling the job and missing the next day fuel tank leak check and delivery. Running a tap into the nutplate proved futile-there weren't enough threads to attempt lining them up one more time.

The crew chief looked at the inspector, who found something to do in his office that was going to take a while. The crew chief who shall remain nameless (Jose F. your secret is safe with me) muttered imprecations and dark and bloody oaths in Spanish. He was as easy to read as a book. I saw his expression change from despair to anger to inspiration and hope as he said "I got an idea. Don't go anywhere!".

He reached in his pocket and pulled out a rivet gauge, measured up the hole as if he were going to shoot a Huckbolt through metal, went to the stockroom, selected a Huckbolt of the right length and a countersink and reappeared.

Yours truly countersunk the screwhole to get the angle right, dunked the Huckbolt into some PR1422, pushed it into the hole, chucked it up in the rivet puller and........and.........and......pulled the trigger and....and......and........that satisfying KA-BANG! when you know that you've gotten a good solid pull.

The crew chief crossed himself.Visual inspection revealed the stem broken off flush and the ring clinched just right.

A couple of sixpacks of Corona magically appeared and as the eastern horizon started to redden with the approach of Old Sol, all of us knew it was going to be a pretty good day.
Photo credit:
Phototakeout.com, bes' li'l ole free stock photo site around.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Smoking After Sex

In this morning of post-coital bliss folks are busily constructing castles in the air over the first, heavily stage managed, revenue flight of the A380 PotemkinLiner. The usual suspects are indulging in rampant speculation about who's likely to sign on the line next.

Although we're all pleased as punch that finally something happened with the A380 program it's good to review the tape. I mean, far be it from us to be a wet blanket but there it is.

The tape.

  • One heavily massaged pre-production model flew one revenue flight, more than two years after it was supposed to.
  • There will be no 850 seat version, because it's grossly overweight as it sits. It's rather unlikely that a 555 seat version will be able to carry anything besides a lunchbox and a six pack of your favorite adult beverage.
  • At its most optimistic, the order book holds far less than 200 orders after six years of offerings, pleas, and general giveaways at fire sale prices. Airbus says 165, and there are possible options for another 25.
  • The A380F program went down the crapper with a thunderous roar. Why? Freight companies didn't want to wait forever for an aircraft with a persistent downside and a need for specialized freight handling equipment. It's likely that persistent nagging weight problems had something to do with this decision.
  • The development budget has ballooned to nearly $20 billion by some estimates.
  • The breakeven point for the program is pushing close to 500 frames by some estimates. Even Airbus concedes it's 420 and counting.
  • The vaunted Power8 cost reduction/rationalization program that was supposed to transform Airbus into a lean mean fighting machine has yet to produce any pain for anyone. One analyst (Hugh MacVitie of Arran Aerospace) scoffs "I've got more power in my hair dryer than Power8 has shown so far."
  • There are serious delays and cost overruns in other Airbus programs including the A400M Bigger HercLiner and the A350 IWannaBeLikeMikeLiner which is a year or more away from anything that can be called a design freeze. These programs are being damaged by the black hole of the A380 which is sucking up every available euro, dollar and pound that Airbus can get its hands on from every source.
  • Being true to your school didn't stop Airbus insiders from exercising their stock options and dumping shares in advance of public knowledge that the program was going to be seriously delayed.

So go ahead and light that cigarette, lean back against the pillows, say nice things to each other and pretend you can see things in the smoke clouds.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More News From India, And It's Not Good

Things are getting busy at the India desk here at The Dougloid Papers. The Associated Press informs us this day that six wild elephants were electrocuted after getting....well.....snockered.... on rice beer.
Seems that a herd of 40 or so of the pesky pachyderms came to a local village in Meghalaya state looking for some food and ended up going on a toot.
What they found was kegs of rice beer, a local specialty of folks in the neighborhood. Swiftly consuming the delectable brew, the elephants were soon in a state of disrepair and ready for a little action of the type local cops have known about ever since Ogg and his mates decided that drinking overage grape juice was just the thing to get a party started.
Six of the inebriated tuskers tore up a power line and were electrocuted for their trouble, which once again points out the need for designated drivers, even among wild elephants.
Photo courtesy of South African Breweries

Monday, October 22, 2007

World Trade and Iran

Surfing the web is an excellent pastime for those of us who find great joy in small things.

Thus it was that we stumbled over this article in the Teheran Times which informs us that Iran's non-oil exports for six months were seven billion dollars. Seven billion dollars!

If you factor in petroleum that puts Iran in between Hungary and South Africa in the dollar race. If you go by what the government announced and remove the oil, they're right between Trinidad and Tobago and Morocco.
I'm stunned-really.

Monkeys Are Not Your Friends

The BBC News reports yesterday that the deputy mayor of New Delhi was attacked by a horde of wild monkeys. It seems Hizonner fell from the terrace of his home while trying to beat back the pesky simians, and died of the injuries he sustained.

I dunno. What DO monkeys chat about amongst themselves?

Some of the answers are here. It's not pretty reading.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

TP400 Flight Test Delayed At Least Six Months

Defense News informs us that flight testing of the TP400 turboprop engine for the A400M is to be delayed at least six months. This seems to be a more serious matter than the previously announced program delay of six months.

What it means in layman's terms is that it's going to be six months before we find out if the engine is any good, and a while after that to sling four working examples on a-hopefully-complete airframe and go flying and see what they can do.
My experience in such matters is pretty limited but I did a stint on the ATF-3 back in my days at Garrett, and it took a lot of work to make those allegedly production engines into reliable haulers of stuff. The ATF-3 project was a long time in gestation, 20 years or more, and when I was there we were still doing planetary gearset service bulletins on the TFE731, which was also in production for the better part of 20 years. People who haven't been around these things don't take the development curve seriously, it seems.

Reuters is saying aircraft delivery's going to slip six to twelve months past October 2009.
Photo credit to whoever posted it on wiki.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

George Pullman Would Be Proud

It's a big day at Singapore Airlines, even though the 471 seats in its new flagship are a lot less than the 555 it was supposed to be carrying not so very long ago.

We've talked about that until we're blue in the face here, nobody seems to care, so be it. I'm not going to bring all that up again but if you've been reading this blog regularly, it's all been said, and it's in the archives.

The Times of London has an interesting feature today on the entry into service of the first A380, complete with a bit of video for all those who don't have the cash to buy a ticket. It's well worth taking a peek around with the Times' travel reporter Steven Bleach.

The usual comparisons come to mind, but the best of the amenities remind me of nothing so much as the private railcars I've toured where nothing was too good for the passengers. It's quite a sight to see, complete with Pullman inspired semi private compartments. First cabin is definitely first cabin here.

The tourist class amenities are competent(Steven called them 'bog standard'), but which class pays the bills is yet to be seen. I've got my doubts about being stuck for sixteen hours between screaming babies, cellphone morons and smelly diaper bags.

AFP Reports Six Month Delay For A-400M

Agencie France Presse reports this morning that the Airbus A400M military airlifter project has been delayed by about six months or so primarily because of unstated problems with the engines.

None of which surprised me, as the TP400M powerplant project is a story in itself of just how far Eurocentric pork barrel projects can go wrong and annoy people in the bargain.

Consider that when the project was being promoted, P&W-Canada had a proposal on the table to develop and produce an engine for the A400M that might have cost about 20 per cent less to buy.

But rather than shop in the dollar zone and buy from a known quality house with significant expertise in project management and building large turboprop engines, some serious arm twisting awarded the project to develop the engine to Europrop International, a special purpose, all European lashup of Rolls, SNECMA, MTU, and ITP.

All those firms have significant engine building expertise, it is true, but only Rolls, by virtue of its acquisition of Allison, has any idea of what goes on inside big husky turboprops, and I'm quite sure that the Hoosiers were not going to be part of the Europrop equation anyway, except in a peripheral sort of way.

And when you think of it, developing a single purpose engine that is significantly different than what the Europrop partners have ever built before (unless you count the antiquated Dart) and that has no civil analogue or other use is bound to be a recipe for problems.

Quite simply, giving the quarterback slot to an untried rookie was bound to be trouble.

And then, to add insult to the injury being felt in the bars and coffee shops around the Pratt works for being played, Airbus threatened the Canadian government with a lawsuit for not selecting the A400M as its next airlifter.

Hey, it's the season for delays, right? I mean, Boeing has a little egg on its face too, but over at Airbus they want the whole damned henhouse.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Grupo Marsan Joins With BA in Dead Whale Boogaloo

We're informed that Grupo Marsan, a Spanish travel and tour operator has popped (or at least intends to pop) for 4 A380s. To add to BA's 12, that's 16 for the year which is pretty close to John Leahy's prediction of 20 planes and two new customers this year.

The question's got to be on the minds of many: is this going to save the A380 or is it going to be like its counterpart rolling through the streets of Taipei a few years back?
I mean, with an 18 billion dollar development overload and commitments for what, 180 at most, they're about 1/3 of the way to breaking even.
photo credits to MSNBC

Monday, October 08, 2007

Does Anyone Read This Stuff? A Note From Credit Card Hell To The National Lawyers' Guild

I'm like the rest of the world-every day brings a new handful of credit card offers in the mail.

Unlike the rest of the world, 4-1/2 years ago me and the Dragon Lady started a project of paying off our credit cards and getting out of credit card hell and I am pleased to report that for us, July 17 was Liberation Day. It was awfully close to Bastille Day and the connection is obvious.

We paid off nearly $30,000 in accumulated debt at 100 cents on the dollar, and like reformed drunks everywhere, we've said never again. We're on the wagon for good.

We didn't have a lot of fun, and we've little to show for it except things like the memory of the $750 bowling ball plastic carburetor I had to buy for the Voyager, which is now resting comfortably in the belly of a tramp steamer hauling scrap to Nagoya. To my colleagues in Japan, I must remind them that that cargo of metal is cursed. No good can come of it and the best outcome would be if the freighter stumbled across a wayward mine from War Two and sank.

All of this is a lengthy preface to my theme.

Every so often you'll get a credit card offer that's cobranded with your alma mater, save the whales, Harley motorcycles, whatever.

The offer in question came from FIA Card Services, formerly known as MBNA in the name of the National Lawyers' Guild, a left leaning organization that I had a brief flirtation with in law school.

It was signed by Marjorie Cohn, president of that august body of fellow travelers. So far, so good.

Perhaps what Marjorie don't realize is the extent of the abuse of civil rights and due process that FIA practices, along with their lapdogs in the National Arbitration Forum and their captive pitbull "law" firms.

To make a long story short, they use mandatory arbitration that undercuts the due process we think we're all entitled to, it's a shabby and shameful ripoff, and the people behind it should be ashamed of themselves and turn in their law licenses because they didn't learn anything about fundamental fairness and transparency.

Charles Marlon Michel 1948-1967

Charles Marlon Michel (1948-1967?)

Charles arrived for the fall semester at Franconia College where he was a student. About ten days into the fall term, he got into his VW Beetle and drove from northern New Hampshire to his home in Towson, Maryland-about a twelve hour trip.

When he got home it was late at night. He entered the breezeway between the house and the garage, sat down in a chaise lounge, and shot himself in the chest where he bled to death.
His mother found him in the morning. She saw his car in the driveway and figured he hadn't wanted to come into the house and disturb people.

Charles had arrived a little late in his parents' lives so he was kind of special to them. He was special to a lot of people who struggle to understand this phenomenon. You might as well ask someone with no knowledge of it to read arabic, if you want to know why people don't understand it. I sure don't.

All I know is that he cut his life off short. I struggle every day with lots of things-I'm 59 and showing some signs of age, I've got two kids and two grandkids, a wife, an ex wife, and my life is a work in progress. I've kept Charles' memory alive, and every year about this time I start thinking about him.

Dese People Tweet Me Wike A Cwiminal

AFP reports this day that Tom Enders is upset because regulators are "treating me like a criminal" for his role in the Great A380 Stock Skedaddle. Stock trades became suspicious when it became known to insiders that the A380 PotemkinLiner program was going to be significantly delayed, but before the Great Unwashed Lumpen Proles (that's you and me) were made party to said information.

Tom's score? A million dollars worth of stock options exercised and sold in November of 2005, after the big board meeting in which the meltdown was discussed but five months before the word got out.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Oops! We Did It Again

The International Herald Tribune reports this day that a report leaked to the media by persons unknown suggests that the folks at the Financial Markets Authority say there was 'massive' insider stock trading by EADS executives when the decomposition in the A380 program became known.

The EADS folks are saying that it's a huge violation of confidentiality and a violation of the presumption of innocence.

That's what guilty people always say when they've been caught in a state of deshabille as I think the concept is described.

This explosion was triggered by Le Figaro which seems to be more than ordinarily well informed about these matters, alleging they've had a peek at the report in question.

People Ain't Packages

My pal Saj over at Fleetbuzz (bes' li'l ole blog in the UK) has a new piece that examines the hangover that we're all experiencing after the BA order, which was a vote on the future of air travel in a lot of ways.

He makes a convincing case that the big twin engine, twin aisle long hauler in point to point service is the future of passenger traffic and that the B747 and A380 may well be the last we see of "4 Engines 4 Long Cattle Hauling".

Of course, the difference between the B747 LargeEconomySizeLiner and the Airbus A380WoolyMammothLiner is that the development costs are a lot more manageable with the Boeing product, as the development tab for the A380 is now at an astounding $18 billion and counting spread over a relatively slim order book.

In passing he makes a point that I think most important, so important I wondered why I never thought of it before, and that is that freight is the purest model of the economics of air travel.

How's that, you say? Simple.

Packages don't care about airport lounges or duty free shops. They don't give a rat's ass about in flight cellphones, internet and movies. Packages don't need sushi or kosher meals or prayer mats. Packages don't block the aisle with oversized carryons and they don't require baggage claims or skycaps. Packages don't tote screaming infants and smelly diaper bags.
Packages don't care about anything because they don't think about anything. Packages have few bodily needs amd all you need to remember is to regulate the temperature for the load. All they have to do is be where they're supposed to be at the right time.
Of course when the load is cattle or horses all bets are off, but that's a different story entirely.

In short, the package trade has the same economics as passenger travel without all that blamed human nonsense.

It stands to reason, therefore, that freight operators are free to seek facilities that offer good road connections, reasonably sized runways and competent navaids, light traffic, modest airport fees, and interested local authorities who'd like to see fresh employers in town. All because the packages aren't wondering why they have to change in Des Moines instead of going straight to Chicago.

The operators are free to seek efficiency. Because packages don't think about this stuff, it means that the operators don't have to fret too much about the cost of fresh interiors or spiffy paint jobs or VIP lounges or cabin staff or lavatories that malfunction because packages don't....well, you get the idea.
That means also that the operators are free to seek the best combination of capital outlay, equipment suitability and running expenses that maximizes profit, and that may explain why the B747-8F has been pretty well received while the A380F was a flop that folded. One significant reason for that may well be the front in access that the 747-8F offers, because every time you make packages turn a corner or go up a flight of stairs, it costs you money. Lots of money.

Looking at it from that point of view, the most efficient way of moving packages may well be a hub to hub model that maximizes efficiency while reducing cost.
When you think about it, the only passenger operators who've come close to this model and made money are the ultrabudget carriers like Southwest and JetBlue, and that is only by rigorous cost control and stripping out everything that remotely resembles an amenity. This only works in limited circumstances. I am quite sure that if Kelleher could have installed plastic laundromat seats in his 737s he would have done so.

Quite simply, absent the human element, Airbus may well have been right about hub traffic, because that's what Federal Express, UPS, DHL. Connie Kalitta and all the rest have been doing since airfreight began.

But once again, it's those blamed people. And as long as people want to travel by air, it's worth remembering that people ain't packages.
Photo credit Panalpina.
Panalpina is one of the world’s leading providers of forwarding and logistics services, specializing in intercontinental air freight and ocean freight shipments and associated supply chain management solutions.The Panalpina Group operates a network of some 500 branches in more than 80 countries; in a further 60 countries, the group closely cooperates with selected partners. Panalpina employs some 14 000 people worldwide.