An annual study of the third-party logistics industry confirms that China is the key country for growth in international sourcing and trade. Logistics service providers are a major factor in enabling this growth. Published by global consulting firm Capgemini (www.capgemini.com) and the Georgia Institute of Technology (www.gatech.edu), in collaboration with SAP (www.sap.com) and DHL (www.dhl.com), the 11th Annual 3PL study looks at the use of 3PLs in the United States, Europe and Asia, and offers insight into the future of the 3PL industry.
The study focuses on four vertical industries in particular:
- Automotive companies outsource more 3PL services than other industry sectors. They mostly use third-party services for transportation, shipment consolidation, cross-docking and as lead logistics providers.
- Manufacturers of chemicals are using 3PL providers to reach new markets and manage the challenges of global commerce. As a rule, chemical manufacturers maintain control of critical logistics decisions.
- Most outside logistics spending by the high tech and electronics industries goes toward assembly, sequencing and packaging.
- Life sciences and healthcare companies reportedly pay closest attention to the quality of services provided by 3PLs.
The study also shows declining satisfaction around 3PL providers' IT capabilities. Results from previous years have indicated a gradual decrease in the satisfaction rate and this year it reached an all-time low. Only 35% of 3PL customers say that they are satisfied with their 3PL providers' IT capabilities. This is a significant drop from 2003 when 75% of North America respondents indicated they were satisfied. This decline is cause for concern because 92% of this year's respondents say that IT capabilities are a necessary element of 3PL provider expertise.