Global Study Reveals Increased Use of 3PLs, but Churn and Consolidation a Continuing Threat

16th Annual Third-Party Logistics Study from Capgemini Consulting, Penn State, Heidrick & Struggles and Panalpina examines global market for 3PLs


Spotlight: Challenges facing 3PLS in the Electronics sector

Multiple layers, supply constraints and the specific challenges the various channels present, coupled with short product lifecycles, mean the electronics industry demands a fast and nimble supply chain. Because electronics products are often high value, they pose specific challenges including assuring security, preventing counterfeit and packaging sufficiently to handle long distance transportation. Pressure to reduce operating costs was cited as the top logistics challenge for shippers in the electronics industry (59 percent), but just 28 percent believe 3PLs can help them with this challenge. The report’s findings suggest that within the electronics industry, 3PLs need to perform better in selling to electronics customers and shippers need to be more open to collaborating with 3PLs to address their top challenges.

“Logistics operations within the electronics industry are faced with a number of unique challenges. Close communication and collaboration between shippers and 3PLs is vital as supply chains become more complex” said Dr. C. John Langley, clinical professor of supply chain management, and director of development for the Center for Supply Chain Research, Penn State University. “As the demand for high value electronic goods increases, it is more important than ever that shippers are able to draw on 3PLs’ knowledge to achieve a solid supply chain.”

Spotlight: Importance of talent management for 3PLs

Despite the positive reports of the supply chain's role as a significant contributor to attaining business goals, the logistics industry is experiencing a shortage of capable supply chain managers prepared to work in vital management positions. As supply chains grow more complex, they require leaders who are more diverse and multi-faceted. The report revealed shippers and 3PLs most highly value operational execution (51 percent and 60 percent respectively) followed by people management and development skills (54 percent and 43 percent respectively) in their leaders. To date, the majority of both shippers and 3PLs recruit from inside their own industries but many are increasingly looking to recruit talent from other industries. Company success and performance, attractive salary and benefits and personal development opportunities within the company are considered the top qualities needed to attract talent.

“As logistics become ever more intrinsic to a company’s ability to attain its business goals, shippers and 3PLs must be able to put trust in supply chain leaders to be prepared for future business challenges.” said Neil Collins, managing partner, transportation & logistics--Americas, Heidrick & Struggles. “The logistics market must look to develop programs for talent management to create a clear, well-defined business strategy for the recruitment, retention and development of talent.”

About the study

2,258 logistics executives from both 3PL users and providers in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America, as well as other regions and geographies, participated in the 2012 Third-Party Logistics Study via a web-based survey. The findings were supplemented with a significant number of focus interviews with industry observers and experts, primarily relating to the special topics identified for this year. Facilitated workshops were also conducted where shipper participants collaborated on shared issues to help provide a better understanding of the survey’s results and to gain their valuable perspective as 3PL users. Though last year the 2010 3PL study was published, this year’s report is called 2012 since that will be when the results will be in active discussion.

For more information, visit www.capgemini.com.

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