When asked about quantifiable measures of 3PL success, North America and Western European respondents cited logistics cost reduction (9 percent and 7 percent, respectively); fixed logistics asset reduction (16 percent and 5 percent); average order-cycle length change (from 9.8 to 7.9 days versus from 4.7 to 2.0 days); overall inventory reduction (8 percent and 13 percent); and cash-to-cash cycle reduction (from 25.6 to 18.3 days for North American respondents only).
Additionally, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young launched a facilitated learning and research group through its Accelerated Solutions Environment (ASE) center in Atlanta, Ga., in July, with 30 executives from various industries and geographies coming together for the first time to analyze and clarify the research findings from this year's study. The key message derived from that session was that proper definition of the scope of work with enough flexibility built into the contracting process with 3PLs is the key to maintaining a long-term healthy relationship.
"Companies in all industries must see the 3PL option as one that can provide value creation for the user firm, its customers and suppliers and the supply chain in general," said Mark Colombo, vice president of strategic marketing and corporate strategy and 3PL study leader for FedEx Corporate Services. "The study showed that 3PL providers will increasingly be at the focal points of strategy formulation, operational excellence and information technology to make the maximum contribution in value creation for their customers."
Respondents by region included 221 from North America, 53 from Western Europe, 118 from Asia-Pacific and 8 from South Africa. More than two-thirds of respondents globally came from the manufacturing sector, representing the aerospace, automotive, chemical, computers and peripherals, consumer products, electronics, government, industrial management, life sciences, medical, retail and telecommunications industries.