In Part II of our “3PL Update” online exclusive of the month, we learned what challenges, customer expectations and market technology innovations are driving such leading third party logistics (3PL) providers as Intermec, Transplace, Ryder SCS, 3PL Worldwide Inc. and APL Logistics to bring their A-game to this competitive industry segment of supply chain. From industry regulations to system management to the fast-changing pace of the technology market, 3PLs have their hands full going into the home-stretch of 2012 and beyond to continue to drive their competitive edge, meet and exceed customer demand and grow their business. In the last of our three-part “3PL Update” series, these 3PL’s go further to share their best practices, strategies, differentiators and give us a glimpse at what value emerging markets hold for 3PL’s all-around.
Are there any particular segments of what a 3PL provider offers, or how they operate, that are increasing in demand?
Matthew Menner, Senior Vice President, Transplace—Shippers are looking for greater visibility of the current market and their transportation network in order to make more insightful, data-driven decisions. They are using business intelligence to gain visibility of their transportation costs and leverage detailed reporting and analytics to aid in the development of effective transportation strategies to drive efficiency and savings. Shippers expecting 3PL’s to deliver ‘beyond tactical execution’ and introduce true innovation which yields improvements in service and cost performance.
Jim Moore, Vice President of Supply Chain Excellence, Ryder Supply Chain Solutions (SCS)—Ryder serves customers across all industries. In our supply chain business in particular, we are organized around industry verticals – automotive and industrial; retail, Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG); and high tech. We see demand increasing across the board from all areas.
Clyde Mount, President, 3PL Worldwide Inc.—3PL companies have a culture of rapid response and building flexible systems to serve the customer. There is a growing use of 3PL’s to level the demand peaks from customers’ seasonal business—and a growing number of companies use multiple 3PL’s to service their needs. Increasingly, many customers look for a one-stop-shop logistics provider—where a single interface can support call center, warehousing, freight, shipping, order status and other services. Advanced e-commerce and back-end features are also in growing demand, alliances that reduce the time to market and are the business process behind the e-commerce engine, coupling it with a best-of-breed, real-time back-end production and reporting system. Additionally, demand-side order management systems (OMS) are increasingly of interest to customers—specifically those designed to identify fraud; process card-not-present transactions efficiently; provide exceptional up-sell and cross-sell capabilities that increase revenue and add to the average order value (AOV); and provide up-to-the-minute reporting.
Tony Zasimovich, Vice President, Global Logistics Services, APL Logistics—The origin logistics services we provide are starting to take a very different form. While customers traditionally looked for export-oriented supply chain solutions (from countries like China to countries such as the U.S.), that’s begun to change as these origin geographies started becoming major consumption markets in their own right. Now customers are looking for more of a hybrid distribution solution that meets the combined needs of both an export-oriented supply chain and the demands of local distribution markets. Several customers expanded their degree of outsourcing in the areas of transportation management and technology. As transportation technology and optimization become more complex and expensive to deal with, companies are turning more to their third-party transportation and management partners to provide more—and broader—technological services.