3PL and Global Logistics Innovation

Extracted 09AUG2011 from http://www.worldtradewt100.com/articles/3pls-the-next-big-idea-march-2005

A complaint heard in industry sessions is that companies are looking for more ideas and fresh solutions from their logistics providers than they are getting. Indeed, a supply officer for a global consumer products company lamented that he no had nearly given up expecting 'outside the box' suggestions from 3PLs...


We wanted to know how the leading logistics providers were preparing for the future and facilitating the next generation of advances in the supply chain. Our questions focused on four spaces that are critical to the new logistics: technology, supply chain risk mitigation, metrics, and customer relationships...

Technology. Almost all 3PLs are becoming involved with RFID at some level, but to be truthful, the 'testing of the water' remains pretty tentative right now. 

Supply Chain Risk Mitigation. Security concerns continue to dog the 3PL industry at a time when customers are demanding the smooth, reliable flow of goods... security is a global issue and as other nations ramp up their security initiatives, staying on top of the changes becomes an on-going challenge... Logistics providers agree that information and increased visibility are the keys to mitigating risk. The ability to predict delays, or to identify problems prior to their occurrence is a service customers are demanding which 3PLs are doing their best to provide.

Metrics. While the virtues of measurement have long been appreciated, the use of metrics is changing... Third-party logistics providers are finding that their customers are asking them to provide more granularity and real-time access, enabling them to make fast, well-informed business decisions. Open access to the right information has never been more important-nor more challenging to provide.

Customer Relationships. Today's logistics customers are extremely sophisticated, and are demanding a higher level of customized performance from their service providers. As the supply chain has increased in complexity, there has been a corresponding expectation of additional 3PL expertise. Many customers now want their 3PLs to become strategic partners, involving them in the logistics decision-making process, involving them deeper into their own operations and expecting a broader range of capabilities.