July 2011 | Commentary | Checking In

Close Encounters of the Third-Party Kind 

Tags: 3PL

Felecia Stratton is the editor of Inbound Logistics magazine.

There is no other issue in the transportation and logistics trade press that gets as up close and personal with the 3PL industry as Inbound Logistics’ annual July issue. Our yearly compendium of outsourcing case studies, thought leadership, market research, and 3PL awards presents a thorough representation of the market from both shipper and service provider perspectives.

The 3PL industry is an integral part of today’s supply chain, providing functional expertise and executable resources that deliver value to customers across countless industries. This issue documents the many ways 3PLs of all shapes and sizes are moving the outsourcing needle in different directions.

Here is a rundown of this month’s featured content:

In 3PLs Save the Day, Merrill Douglas offers an inside look at how the 3PL industry is responding to extraordinary outsourcing demands by powering up their logistics and supply chain capabilities and enhancing customer service.

Amy Partridge’s article Does Size Matter? explores how smaller and more specialized Tier II logistics service providers are tailoring their capabilities to meet user demand. They are offering world-class solutions that are as good as their larger bretheren. If you’re using a 3PL just for brokerage, as the publisher suggests, you may be leaving value on the table.

From case study-driven articles, we then direct our July content to empirical 3PL industry research and analysis:

IL’s exclusive 3PL Perspectives market insight report solicits input from both 3PLs and 3PL users, then juxtaposes these points of view to provide a rich and robust overview of the trends that are impacting the logistics/supply chain outsourcing space.

Our annual Top 100 3PL Providers list pulls the mask off logistics intermediaries that excel at what they do. This directory presents a diverse group of 3PLs that IL editors selected from 219 submitters. They represent the best the sector has to offer, reflecting a broad prism of transportation and logistics capabilities that match unique shipper demands.

Finally, the Top 10 Excellence Awards, as voted by Inbound Logistics readers, celebrates leaders in the industry that are leaving few stones unturned as they look for new ways to deliver value to their customers. More than 5,000 shippers cast 10,270 votes for their favorite 3PLs this year—a testament to the growing importance of logistics service providers.

What role do you think 3PLs play in today’s complex supply chain? Let me know.