2019 Top 10 3PL Excellence Awards
AND THE WINNERS ARE:
1. Echo Global Logistics
3. Hub Group
4. C.H. Robinson
7. (tie). DHL Supply Chain. GlobalTranz
8 . Sunset Transportation
9 . (tie). SEKO Logistics. Penske Logistics
10 . R2 Logistics
Our audience has stamped it license-plate official: These top-tier third-party logistics providers deserve accolades and the distinction of being a Top 10 3PL.
This year more than 18,000 ballots—an all-time high—were cast. The 3PLs garnering the most votes in our Readers’ Choice Top 10 3PL Excellence Awards survey received effusive praise, with voters listing the attributes that equate to excellence: attentiveness, reliability, flexibility, and ability to execute.
Being able to execute is key when the supply chain is dynamic and demanding. By handling a portion or all of a company’s transportation and logistics operations, 3PLs deliver the goods.
Getting it done
Says one voter of top spot holder Echo Global Logistics, “Without them, I could not get my job done.” With goods flowing and supply chains humming, companies can turn their attention to what they do best—customer service, production, and profitability.
3PLs also help shippers manage information, along with their goods. Our 3PL Perspectives report underscores a key value they bring—technological expertise. They leverage technology to manage shippers’ operations and deliver efficiency-boosting insights, as well as provide IT solutions that customers can use in house.
Information management is crucial when shippers can’t afford to miss demand signals and delivery deadlines. This applies to all verticals and links in the supply chain.
Nearly all facets of the supply chain are represented in our survey, which drew responses from varied verticals—consumer packaged goods, pharmaceutical, home appliances—and diverse job titles—from procurement to transportation management. (See About the Survey Respondents below.)
Voters include supply chain decision-makers from well-known brands such as Avon, Best Buy, Costco, Dow Chemical, General Mills, Google, Macy’s, Nestle, Nike, Toyota, and Whirlpool.
Service reigns supreme
Without question, shippers value service—80% of respondents rate service as more important than price. This is an increase from last year when 75% indicated they prioritized service over price. Only 20% say price is their main consideration. Forty-four percent rate poor customer service as the reason 3PL partnerships fail.
Year after year, the IL 3PL survey reveals the key role customer service and execution play in shipper supply chains. The most laudable providers offer innovation, technology solutions, and the global connections necessary to keep shipments moving.
ONES TO WATCH
These 3PLs did not receive enough votes to place on this year’s Top 10 list, but they have a large following among our audience.
- Amazon FBA
- J.B. Hunt
- R.R. Donnelley
- Saddle Creek
About the survey respondents
In Their Own Words
Echo Global Logistics offers accountability and personalized customer service.
—Archovations dba CavClear
Hub Group and our company work well together to achieve our common goal of exceptional service while controlling costs.
—Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA
SEKO Logistics displays attention to detail and offers flexibility.
—Atlas Copco Compressors
Sunset has the bandwidth to get any job or project done.
—Lakeside Foods Inc.
GlobalTranz offers the best service to residential locations.
Kenco delivers the results to make our customers happy.
R2 Logistics makes exceptional service a priority every single day.
Source: IL Top 10 3PL Survey
1. Echo Global Logistics
• Cholula Hot Sauce
• Culligan International
• Johnstone Supply
• Monster Beverage
• Stonecrop Technologies
• Newell Brands
• Taraca Pacific
Why they won:
Echo combines service and technology to create impressive, customized third-party logistics solutions for each of its customers.
“At Echo, we put a premium on technology and customer service in order to meet the complex needs of this highly competitive, rapidly expanding industry,” says Doug Waggoner, chairman and CEO.
“Our employees follow through on Echo’s promise to simplify transportation management, helping our clients become a shipper of choice and continue to do what’s best for their business,” he adds.
Steven Judge, senior manager at Newell Brands, praises the 3PL for providing accurate, reliable, and profitable results. “Our relationship with Echo began with the goal of helping us simplify our transportation management and has grown to include a deeper analysis of our shipping operations,” he says. “Echo acts as a true partner, always keeping our best interest in mind. They come to us with ideas for improvement in a truly consultative manner.”
Echo prioritizes ensuring high-quality customer service and results. “Echo sets itself apart by solving the complex challenges that shippers and carriers face in the market,” says Waggoner. “Whether that’s addressing a lack of visibility into their supply chain or providing more robust, data-driven reporting, the company ensures its customers have the tools and reliable support they need to meet their transportation management goals.”
• Nestlé Waters
• Del Monte
• USG Corporation
Why they won:
Transplace focuses its efforts on leveraging its deep vertical focus and proprietary technology to provide customers with logistically sound services. The company continues to invest in the latest technologies to ensure innovative solutions.
“Transplace delivers the optimal blend of managed transportation services, flexible TMS technology, deep vertical market expertise, and business improvement solutions to achieve profitable and predictable results,” says Frank McGuigan, CEO. “By combining advanced technology innovation with market intelligence and our $9-billion transportation network, Transplace is able to consistently drive service and cost improvements for shippers.
“We continue to integrate machine learning, predictive analytics, and real-time visibility capabilities into our services and solutions to deliver greater supply chain optimization, visibility, and predictability,” he says.
Richard Wynne, global sourcing director of Sonoco, admires Transplace’s commitment to providing solutions backed by education, hands-on experience, and expertise. “Sonoco selected Transplace because of its scale, strong engineering capabilities, and knowledge of the North American freight network,” he says. “The partnership has added significant value to our organization.”
Transplace understands the importance of consistency and visibility in the supply chain and continues to dedicate efforts toward helping clients achieve these goals.
“Transplace focuses on providing innovative logistics solutions that deliver the velocity, visibility, predictability and control shippers need,” says McGuigan.
3. Hub Group
Why they won:
Hub Group focuses its efforts on providing high-quality customer experiences and innovative technology to offer clients partnerships and solutions they can trust.
“We recently announced an end-to-end visibility program, which uses our state-of-the-art technology to provide customers with up-to-the-second insights,” says chairman and CEO Dave Yeager. “Powered by AI and machine learning and a fully GPS-enabled network in our fleet of over 37,000 containers, as well as data delivery by EDI, API, and our own self-service platform, we provide our customers with unmatched visibility to shipment pickup and arrival times.”
Customers recognize the value Hub Group brings to their operations. “Since moving the management of our inbound LTL freight in 2017 and outbound LTL freight in 2018 to Hub Group we have realized a significant reduction in freight costs while improving on-time delivery metrics inbound to our production facilities and outbound to our customer base,” says Tony Poole, transportation senior operations manager of Kimberly-Clarke. “Hub Group has provided us with expanded resources for the management of our LTL shipments, LTL industry expertise, and enhanced capabilities for reporting.”
The company understands how important these kinds of results are and remains committed to maintaining the quality of its services.
“Customers tell us their top concerns are controlling logistics spend, increasing visibility to their supply chain, and ensuring that their logistics provider understands their business needs,” says Yeager. “At Hub Group, our sophisticated supply chain professionals use their knowledge, experience, and our industry-leading technology to craft tailored solutions that give our customers excellent visibility to and control over their logistics expenses and supply chain performance.”
4. C.H. Robinson
Why they won:
C.H. Robinson’s powerful, global suite of logistics services, combined with its proprietary technology, defines how it brings value to both the shipper and carrier communities.
“C.H. Robinson’s industry-leading experience and scale deliver an information advantage, creating better outcomes and driving smarter solutions,” says Bob Biesterfeld, president and chief executive officer. “Our ability to turn data into actionable insights through our core services enables customers to work with C.H. Robinson for all of their global logistics needs.”
At the heart of the company’s technology advantage is its single-instance, global technology platform, Navisphere®, which connects the company’s entire network, providing real-time insights and visibility to customers and carriers, and driving process efficiency for employees. Navisphere’s ability to easily connect to external platforms means C.H. Robinson meets customers and carriers where they want to buy.
Customer expectations are changing rapidly across the transportation landscape, and in the last decade alone, C.H. Robinson has spent more than $1 billion in technology. The company will continue to invest in this critical area moving forward to leverage data and insights and deliver smarter solutions.
• Exxon Mobil
• Dow Chemical
• General Mills
• Reckitt Benckiser
• Stryker Medical
Why they won:
The largest woman-owned third-party logistics company in the United States, Kenco is one of the only 3PLs that offers an in-house, vertically integrated suite of services.
“We are a nationally recognized leader in innovation, being one of the first and only U.S. 3PLs to establish a dedicated Innovation Lab,” says Denis Reilly, president and CEO. “To help customers innovate, 3PLs need to enhance transparency and communication to create trusting relationships. Kenco uses a truly consultative approach, providing insightful, long-range, customized solutions.
“We work with our customers as a valued partner through mutually beneficial collaborations, identifying their pain points and ensuring an alignment of vision and values,” he adds.
The company’s customers recognize that approach. “We have a very strong partnership with Kenco,” says a senior distribution manager at a global consumer packaged goods company. “The Kenco employees at our sites honestly care about us as a company and care about serving our customers’ needs.”
Kenco doesn’t plan on slowing its progress anytime soon. “For over 68 years, Kenco has offered the scale and capabilities of a large corporation along with customer dedication and service that is focused on long-term value and entrepreneurial agility,” says Reilly. The enterprise plans to continue innovating and moving forward to better serve its customers and save them money.
6. Werner Logistics
• Dollar General
• The Home Depot
Why they won:
As an asset-backed 3PL, Werner Logistics is focused on providing a premier experience to all of its customers, carriers, and talent across one of the broadest portfolios in the industry.
“Our portfolio ranges not only across modes—truckload, LTL, final mile, intermodal, ocean and air—but also across our strategic freight management, contract, and transactional solutions,” says Matt Parry, senior vice president of logistics.
“We also have the greatest scale and broadest reach across North America as the leader in the cross-border industry and we continue to strengthen our position,” he adds.
The 3PL works with shippers to manage their supply chains while keeping costs down and moves strategic. “Werner has been a consistent logistics provider for our company for over 10 years,” says one customer.
“We recently had a critical weekend need to expedite two LTL shipments to avoid a production plant shutdown,” the customer says. “Werner’s customer service team was able to provide an over-the-road capacity solution to meet our needs and worked directly with the LTL provider to move these shipments directly from the LTL hub location.”
Werner understands the pressure customers face to accelerate their supply chains, which is why the company leverages cutting-edge technology to deliver low-cost, high-value solutions.
7. DHL Supply Chain (tie)
Why they won:
DHL provides customers solutions, technologies, and assets to cut costs and maintain the flexibility to quickly respond to opportunities or challenges with minimum risk.
“Every customer we serve has unique needs,” says CEO Scott Sureddin. “Our broad service offerings and unparalleled scale enable us to deliver a customized solution to precisely match those needs, maximizing supply chain value through increased productivity, improved service and increased agility.”
DHL understands its customers are moving faster than ever and need products that can keep up. The 3PL focuses on leveraging data-driven insights and technology development programs to deliver results without extensive trial and error.
“Our customers rely on us to help them stay ahead of the technologies shaping the future of the supply chain,” says Sureddin. “Through our culture of continuous innovation, we are able to leverage our technology development program, partnerships with emerging technology providers, and our regional Innovation Centers to deliver proven, productivity-enhancing technology.”
8. GlobalTranz (tie)
Why they won:
GlobalTranz works with customers to improve their processes by utilizing effective, reliable technology platforms that provide accurate results.
“Shippers are facing a host of challenges, including tariffs, an evolving e-commerce landscape, new competitive pressures, shifting customer demands, and more,” says Renee Krug, CEO.
“GlobalTranz helps our customers take on these challenges, including finding the right carrier capacity, managing costs, gaining visibility, and leveraging data to empower them to make more informed, real-time business decisions that drive their growth and profitability,” she adds.
For many of its clients, GlobalTranz’s efforts are clear—and measurable.
“GlobalTranz has gone above and beyond for me,” says one customer. “They are dedicated to doing what needs to be done to service our needs, and provide top-notch customer service. GlobalTranz is a 3PL that will get the job done.”
Another customer praises the company for the ease it brings to their operations: “GlobalTranz is a valued business partner that makes the logistics side of day-to-day operations easy.”
9. Sunset Transportation
Why they won:
Sunset Transportation brings a fresh and innovative approach to third-party logistics, providing customers with transparent, accessible, quality solutions.
“We place the highest value on relationships and service,” says Lindsey Graves, COO. “We’re proud to compete on a larger scale among the bigger relic players by bringing a fresh attitude and family-style culture.”
Brian Kearins, COO of Tacony Corporation, praises Sunset for the commitment it brings to the table. “Tacony is proud to utilize Sunset Transportation’s full suite of logistics solutions, most recently expanding our program by adding international logistics management to our partnership,” he says.
“The Sunset team has been integral in streamlining our supply chain, including placing one of their expert senior account managers on-site to ensure we’re receiving the highest level of customer service and attention,” Kearins adds. “It’s a testament to how our strategic alliance continues to mature in extremely positive ways.”
Sunset understands that the global market can sometimes be difficult for shippers to manage, and it is dedicated to continually evolving to meet those challenges.
“We see the need for more robust options and knowledge when crossing borders, especially in a turbulent time for foreign trade,” says Graves. “In 2019, Sunset is bringing our seventh branch office to fruition in Laredo, Texas/Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, with cross-border solutions, Mexico and U.S. customs clearance, warehousing, and transloading access.
“We now have the capability to manage customers’ international shipments with complete supply chain visibility and control, including customs expertise we believe to be unparalleled in the 3PL space,” she notes.
10. SEKO Logistics (tie)
• Cath Kidston
• Canyon Bicycles
• Dippin’ Dots
• Escalade Sports
• Electronic Express
• Feel Unique
• Beckman Coulter
Why they won:
SEKO Logistics is well-regarded for its customer service, technology, and commitment to quality. “What differentiates SEKO is the coalescence of our global network and seamless technology, a hybrid business model paired with global-owned gateways, and our strategic partners,” says James Gagne, president and CEO.
“We have shifted in the past year to become more acquisitive and to strategically invest in operations and technology that will bolster our value proposition to better serve our growing and global client needs,” he adds.
SEKO understands its customers are challenged with rapidly changing consumer and B2B buying experiences, and the company continues to tailor its solutions to help each client achieve their unique goals.
“SEKO has been a great partner for us as we launched in the United States,” says Blair Clark, president of Canyon Bicycles USA. “They focused on continually improving the logistics process as we were building and growing our volumes, which allowed us to focus on marketing and selling our innovative bikes and accessories to the U.S. market.”
The company believes the key to being a successful 3PL partner is maintaining focus and staying diligent. “We believe the future is not comprised solely of being a one-stop-shop logistics company with assets all over the world,” says Gagne. “It is not about being everywhere. It’s about having the right people, partnerships, and technology to create the best client experience possible.”
9. Penske Logistics (tie)
• Kraft Heinz
• Schnuck Markets
Why they won:
Penske Logistics consistently implements new measures to improve its customers’ supply chain operations. “Companies regularly turn to 3PLs like Penske Logistics to reduce their costs, improve their efficiencies, and deliver innovative solutions to optimize their supply chains,” says Marc Althen, president of Penske.
The hard work the company puts into improving its methods and offerings for customers continues to pay off, with Penske winning multiple service awards and acknowledgements. During one award ceremony, Marco Palmieri, senior vice president and president of Novelis North America, said, “Congratulations to the Penske team and thank you for the strong partnership in safety, quality, delivery performance and innovation. The closed loop recycling system is a great example of realizing our company purpose, shaping a sustainable world together.”
11. R2 Logistics
• Owens Corning
• The Scotts Company
• Westlake Chemical
Why they won:
R2 Logistics prioritizes helping its customers find the longest-lasting, most impactful solutions to areas in their supply chains that need improvement.
“Universally, every customer and every company is looking for ways to get better and more efficient and operate smarter,” says Ben Gase, CEO. “We try to work with all of our customers to find areas of inefficiency within their supply chain and then root out that waste.”
Long-standing R2 Logistics customers have seen firsthand the benefits a partnership with the company can bring.
“We consider R2 a strategic partner—they are often the first dry van carrier we turn to in difficult situations where service is paramount,” says Pat Cassity, director of transportation for Owens Corning. “Our supply chain lives by doing what we say we are going to do and R2 certainly does what they say they are going to do.”
The 3PL continues to stay focused on keeping that promise. “From transportation capacity, visibility, and reporting tools to working with customers on cost-out initiatives, our focus is always to provide long-term value to our customers,” says Gase.
“We have continued to invest in best-in-class visibility and reporting tools to help our customers identify opportunities within their supply chains and to increase the speed of decision-making and execution of efficiency improvement programs.”
How to Find a 3PL-Third Party Logistics Provider
Choosing third-party logistics companies or logistics providers that offer the best 3PL solutions and services can be difficult. Inbound Logistics can help.
This 3PL Request for Proposal (RFP)/Request for Information (RFI) service can help you find the 3PL and 4PL providers that can meet your specific 3PL service challenges and needs. The 3PL companies below will provide free, no-obligation third-party logistics advice, solutions, and information specific to your logistics management needs.
Ask your 3PL questions, you’ll get answers. Simply complete the information, and detail your 3 PL logistics challenges below. Then, check off the third-party logistics companies that you want to review your request.