Today’s rapid pace of change is adding complexity to the roles of shippers and their logistics providers. As a result, researchers for this year’s report found that many 3PLs have evolved from tactical service providers to collaborative partners that take on greater accountability and control. Providers have also increased their technology expectations, and 3PLs are responding with increased capabilities.

The 2017 global report shows that shippers and their 3PLs continue to move toward meaningful partnerships and steady improvement in the strategic nature of relationships. Both parties—91 percent of 3PL users and 97 percent of 3PL providers—reported that their relationships are successful and that their work is yielding positive results. This is an increase from 2012, when 88 percent of 3PL users and 94 percent of 3PL providers reported that their relationships were successful.

Capgemini Consulting, along with Penske and Penn State, developed and presented the findings from the 2017 21st Annual Third-Party Logistics Study at the CSCMP’s Annual conference in Orlando, which found:

  • Big Data & Analytics: 98% of 3PLs said improved, data-driven decision-making is essential to the future success of supply chain activities and processes, and 93% of shippers agreed.
  • End-of-Life Supply Chain: The growth of end-of-life supply chain needs offers a ripe opportunity for logistics providers as environmental concerns from consumers and government regulations increase the mandate on proper disposal:
    • 41% of shippers said they prefer a third party to handle all aspects of end-of-lifecycle collection and processing
    • 29% would like to improve the efficiency of their internal capabilities
    • 20% would like to work with a third party to support product disposal
    • 19% would like to work with a partner to support physical logistics/movement of end-of-lifecycle products.

IT Gap: For the past 15 years, this study has been tracking the “IT Gap,” which is defined as the difference between the percentage of 3PL users indicating that IT capabilities are a necessary element of 3PL expertise (91% in the current study) and the percentage of the same users who agree that they are satisfied with 3PL IT capabilities (65%).

If you would like to download a copy of the full 2017 Third Party Logistics Study, and see more examples and research detail on this topic, please click on the following link ( and register.