State of the Market: 3PL Relationships Focus on Adding Value


In the past, shippers and their third-party logistics providers stuck to a uniformly transactional relationship. This relationship was one of utility for both parties and lacked any true value or longevity.

According to the 2017 21st Annual Third-Party Logistics Study, the 3PL market is moving towards partnerships that are meaningful and add value for both the shipper and the 3PL provider.

As of this year, 91% of 3PL users and 97% of 3PL providers reported that their business relationships are successful and yield positive results. This level of satisfaction within partnerships is bound to permeate into other areas of the business.

In accordance with this transition, most shippers and providers said that the use of 3PL services has contributed to overall cost reductions and improved customer service. With costs declining and service increasing, there is more room for innovation and improvements to logistics that increase its effectiveness and prove beneficial to the industry as a whole.

If their positivity hasn’t already been conveyed, it’s worth noting that value-added relationships in the 3PL market have also made logistics experts more valuable and useful. As IT-intensive and customer-facing issues occur, professionals are turning less to outsourcing and more to home-bound 3PLs for their services and expertise in these categories.

Is it all good?

The decrease in IT-intensive and customer-facing activity outsourcing doesn’t mean that outsourcing rates are declining overall. The market continues to see an increase in outsourcing, even in these categories.

The 2017 study reveals that 19% of shippers are taking advantage of supply chain consultancy services, compared to 11% last year.

17% of shippers are still utilizing IT services, a 6-point increase from last year’s 11%.

What can 3PLs do to compete?

Judging by these statistics, it’s no secret that 3PLs need to adapt to shippers’ needs.

About this state of the market, Frank D. Monte, of Capgemini Consulting, states, “Shippers continue to push their 3PLs to become more innovative in the areas of logistics technology and advanced analytics, while also developing the appropriate capabilities for geographic expansion. 3PLs are responding by offering advanced and relevant technology to help shippers better serve their customers.”

In the wake of grim-looking market statistics, 3PLs are resilient as they continue to improve their technology in a manner that increases data-driven decision-making, something that shippers find extremely valuable as of late.

Continue Reading: 3PL Technology Helps Enhance Customer Experiences

Subscribe to our blog to get industry insights and stay on top of the latest news!

More from the Logistics Blog

Get A Quote

Compare the best freight rates from more than 55,000 carriers

Contact Us
Call (888) 814-8486

By entering a phone number, you consent to receive a call or text from PLS.