This week saw the release of the 18th annual 3rd party logistics study – see the full press release here.

The report itself is a collaboration between Capgemini Consulting, Penn State University, exec recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International and global logistics/supply chain management firm Penske Logistics.

This year’s edition examined the global outsourced marketplace covering topics such as big data, preferential sourcing, and smart growth and shipper-3PL relationships.

The main highlights are on the growing global marketplace and how it has created increased opportunities for shippers that will allow 3rd party logistics to collaborate across borders. With shippers continually focused on globalisation, competition and shifting economic conditions, it’s left many re-evaluating their supply chain strategies, in order to meet demand. Encouragingly, its shown shippers continue to recognise the important role 3PLs can play in the ‘new normal’, as nearly all shipper respondents (91%) stated they regard their relationships with 3PLs as important or strategic in today’s global marketplace. 

Importantly, for the last 12 years the study has been tracking the “IT Gap” – the difference between the percentage of 3PL users indicating that IT capabilities are a necessary element of 3PL expertise (98%) and the percentage of the same users who agree that they are satisfied with 3PL IT capabilities (55%) – and has found that percentage beginning to stabilise. However, proper management of big data – which has increasingly grown in its importance across the supply chain with 97% of shippers and 93% of 3PLs feeling strongly that improved, data-driven decision-making is essential – still faces significant internal hurdles. These include a disconnect between internal supply chain and IT operations and a lack of supporting IT infrastructure.

I caught up with Steve Wilson, Capgemini Consulting vice-president and head of the Supply Chain Management team to get his insight:
In an increasingly global marketplace, shippers are re-evaluating their supply chain strategies in order to meet demand. Worldwide, shippers continue to see third party logistics firms as strategic partners in today’s global marketplace. This is reflected in the 13.7% rise in third party logistics firms’ revenue last year. However, in Europe the picture is different as revenues are down 2.6% over the same time period – the only region to report negative revenue growth. Continuing economic uncertainty is dampening significant growth and innovation in Europe. The challenge now for shippers and third party logistics companies will be successfully delivering IT capabilities. Data-driven decision-making is essential to the future of shippers’ supply chain activities and processes so the strategic implementation of technologies, including big data, will be the measure of success in the long term.

Find out more about the 3PL study at our dedicated website: