You've no doubt heard things described as "logistical nightmares." I face one every time I drive in Los Angeles, for instance. Well, Expeditors International (NASDAQ:EXPD) is exactly the opposite. This company is a logistical dream.

Check out the firm's latest results to see what I mean:

  • "Net" revenue (looks like gross margin) up 6% for the quarter and 10% for the full year.
  • Operating income up 11% for the quarter and up 12% for the year.
  • Diluted per-share earnings up 13% for both the quarter and the full year.

This is top-flight performance, especially in light of the shaky economy. In a year it described as "very difficult," UPS (NYSE:UPS) saw its operating margin slip from 13.8% to 10.9%, and adjusted earnings fall 22%. FedEx (NYSE:FDX) talked about facing "some of the worst business conditions in the history of our company" on its December call -- and things have almost certainly deteriorated since then.

One of the best things about Expeditors is that it makes no excuses. Chairman and CEO Peter Rose, known for his unusually forthright (and sometimes scathing) responses to analyst/investor questions via periodic SEC filings, made it a point to ban "the internal use of the 'R' word" at Expeditors -- way back in the first quarter of 2008. While high-profile figures ranging from PIMCO's Bill Gross to U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown to Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Steve Ballmer have begun invoking the "D" word, you can be sure that this word, too, is not to be uttered in any of Expeditors' 181 full service offices.

While plenty of other companies, from Walgreen (NYSE:WAG) to Trina Solar (NYSE:TSL) are talking about turning "challenges into opportunities," Expeditors is already doing it. The firm is taking market share at the same time it's fattening its operating margins.

This is exactly the sort of firm you want to align yourself with during a downturn. Maybe everyone else should take their cue from Rose and company.

Microsoft is an Inside Value recommendation. FedEx is a Stock Advisor selection. UPS is an Income Investor pick. You're welcome to size up any of our premium newsletters free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't have a position in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.