91% of Third Party Logistics Users say Their 3PL Relationships are Successful
Third-party logistics providers and users of their services—shippers—continue to move toward meaningful partnerships as 3PL services become more mature, according to the 2017 21st Annual Third-Party Logistics Study.
The study showed continued improvement in the strategic nature of relationships between shippers and third-party logistics providers, which continue to move away from primarily transactional. As a result, 91 percent of 3PL users and 97 percent of 3PL providers report their relationships are successful and yield positive results, and 86 percent of 3PL users say 3PLs have contributed to improved customer service.
The study was released this month during the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals Annual Conference by Capgemini Consulting, Penn State University, and Penske Logistics. The study each year captures information on the role, accessibility and use of 3PLs as well as an understanding of the 3PL-shipper relationship and how these relationships are used to improve and enhance their businesses and the supply chain.
Current and Future Role of Logistics Providers Explored
The study also sought to understand the role that logistics service providers are playing in network optimization, the current and future role that logistics providers play within the transportation process and ways in which all parties in the supply chain are using data to drive decisions and optimize the network. The study reflects feedback from 3PL/4PL service providers (43%), shippers currently using 3PL/4PL services (44%), and shippers who do not outsource any of their logistics (13%).
Among the findings: Shippers generally are responding more positively to decisions that rely on 3PL capabilities to guide and service the shippers’ logistics needs. Those capabilities include increased data culled from advanced logistics technology. Ninety-eight percent of 3PL’s and 93 percent of shippers indicated that improved, data-driven decision-making is essential to the future success of supply chain activities and processes. Meanwhile, 75 percent of shippers and 93 percent of 3PLs indicated that using 3PL services has led to overall logistics cost reductions.
"This survey continues to reaffirm the important role 3PLs play on both sides of the supply chain," said Jason Burns, QCS Logistics Partner and Customized Logistics & Delivery Association (CLDA) board member and treasurer. "As logistics providers have engaged more advanced technology, shippers and 3PLs both are realizing that data is becoming just as important as all other aspects of delivery."
With increased shipper demand, fluctuating capacity and disruptions within the industry, developing relationships to capitalize on expertise and design solutions is more important than ever in today's economy. Strategic partnerships, expanded IT capabilities and improving logistics operations add up to a more streamlined supply chain.