Top 10 3PLs: Readers’ Choice Excellence Awards
These third-party logistics providers made the cut, earning your votes by dishing out top-notch customer service and helping you save dough.
AND THE WINNERS ARE:
1. Echo Global Logistics
2. Hub Group
4. SEKO Logistics
5. Sunset Transportation
7. DHL Supply Chain
8. UPS Supply Chain Solutions
10. R2 Logistics
Shippers have rolled with supply chain disruption and upheaval for the past two years and turned to third-party logistics (3PL) providers for support and service in a pinch. The 3PLs grabbing a Top 10 3PL Excellence Award delivered—and then some.
Casting nearly 12,500 votes, our audience has dished it out: These are the service providers who are tops when it comes to reliability and responsiveness. The 3PLs on this short list have helped shippers weather uncertainty and unpredictability, overcome material shortages and capacity concerns, and scale the peaks and valleys of demand volatility.
Readers often name “customer service” and “excellent communication” as reasons for voting for the 3PLs on this list. Many survey takers laud the top spot holders for going “above and beyond.”
For example, a customer service manager at harvesting equipment manufacturer Oxbo International says of Echo Global Logistics, “They accomplish whatever we ask without question.” And an operations supervisor at Monk Fruit Corp. adds about the 3PL, “They always provide detailed answers to questions; overall they’re just awesome.”
Hillsdale Fabricators, which delivers complex structural steel projects, praises Sunset Transportation: “They go above and beyond in assisting with preconstruction, last-minute shipping changes, permits, and discussions with municipalities.”
These award-winning 3PLs help shippers get the job done, with meticulous attention to detail and the ability to troubleshoot as needed.
Getting materials and products where they need to be is no easy feat when supply chain disruption is a staple. By managing just a slice or all of a shipper’s transportation and logistics operations, 3PLs keep supply chains moving—even during port shutdowns and labor shortages—by providing expertise, experience, resources, and technology.
Increasingly, 3PLs toss in information technology solutions to help shippers gain efficiency-boosting insights. Even with many pure-play technology vendors to choose from, the majority of our audience turns to 3PLs for IT systems, with 72% of shippers in our 3PL Perspectives report (see page 86) indicating they leverage transportation management systems, warehouse management systems, and other IT solutions from their 3PLs.
The shippers that took our survey hail from wide-ranging markets (see About the Survey respondents, page 120), from retail to manufacturing and services. Voters include supply chain decision-makers from food purveyors such as Auntie Anne’s, Cinnabon, and Domino’s; household names such as Amazon, Disney, Walmart, and Starbucks; as well as car makers Acura, BMW, General Motors, Tesla, and Volkswagen Group.
Year after year, our audience shortlists the 3PLs that are consistently excellent, seasoned, and show deep determination to solve supply chain challenges. Through thick and thin, from the occasional hiccups to pandemic-level shakeups, these go-to providers deliver—every time. They’re resourceful and responsive, serving up solutions in times of upheaval and volatility.
ONES TO WATCH
These 3PLs came close to grabbing a spot in the Top 10, receiving a sizable number of votes.
- C.H. Robinson
- Saddle Creek Logistics Services
VOTERS: In Their Own Words
“Echo Global Logistics always goes above and beyond for us—with whatever it may be. They provide superior customer service, always an A+. I even refer my customers to them if they opt to cover their own freight.”
—Quick Minerals Group
“Sunset Transportation is the tops because of their customer service and dependability.”
—Best Diamond Packaging
“R2 Logistics over-communicates and over-performs. They always deliver on time and without issue. If issues do arise, we hear about it right away and are kept informed every step of the way.”
“Kenco is ahead of the curve on innovative technologies. I work with a number of folks who require Kenco’s services and always reference Kenco because of their forward thinking and long-term vision.”
“Werner has amazing customer service and always gets loads out on time and shipped as needed.”
“Due to R2 Logistics’ outstanding attention to detail and service, phone calls and emails are never unanswered. I think the longest we’ve ever waited on a quote was 20 minutes.”
“SEKO Logistics is our no. 1 preferred partner. They offer knowledge, management, efficiency, reliability, and communication.”
—SMR Automotive Systems USA
“Kenco offers incredible customer focus, differentiating real estate capabilities, operational depth, and excellence.”
1. ECHO GLOBAL LOGISTICS
Echo Global Logistics credits much of its success to its proprietary technology combined with expert logistics professionals and exceptional service, which exceeds shipper and carrier expectations daily.
This combination of technology and people helps the company provide shippers and carriers with the best solutions to meet their unique needs and builds trust and credibility in a highly competitive industry.
In addition, Echo has developed strong partnerships with 50,000+ carriers, creating a robust network that allows the 3PL to move 16,000+ shipments daily for more than 35,000 clients.
“Leading into this year, Echo was already an established partner, but the greater connection we’ve made over the past eight months has helped us exceed our on-time delivery goal of 95%. Since March, Echo has been one of ScottsMiracle-Gro’s main carriers,” says Tony Botos, director of logistics at ScottsMiracle-Gro. “We’ve become more aligned on core company values, which has proven valuable through better service performance all around.”
Echo’s clients have access to EchoShip, a self-service web portal that enables them to quote, book, ship, manage invoices, and track shipments in real-time, all while supported by Echo’s team of experts.
With EchoDrive, Echo’s proprietary web portal and mobile app, carriers can search, bid, book, manage, track, and get paid on freight hauled for Echo.
This past year, Echo launched EchoShip Rewards, a loyalty program for shippers, and added new benefits to EchoDrive Preferred, a rewards program built for carrier partners.
Recognizing that one solution does not fit all, Echo works closely with each client to evaluate their current network and constraints and make recommendations that improve shipping operations and eliminate supply chain bottlenecks while leveraging technology throughout the process.
- Culligan International
- Johnstone Supply
- Purely Elizabeth (pictured)
- Taraca Pacific
2. HUB GROUP
For more than 50 years, Hub Group has been guided by a commitment to the values of service, integrity, and innovation. The company creates innovative, end-to-end supply chain solutions tailored to each client’s unique business needs.
From activating comprehensive technology for added visibility and efficiency, to leveraging strong third-party relationships and the industry’s second-largest private intermodal fleet, Hub Group provides access to the right support and the right end-to-end supply chain solutions, at the right time.
Customers recognize the value Hub Group brings to their operations. “Hub Group has been a strategic provider for TrinityRail for more than six years,” says a TrinityRail spokesperson. “Hub Group delivers value to our supply chain through increased visibility, service, and savings.
“Having solid relationships with stakeholders is key to staying ahead of supply chain disruptions. Regardless of the challenge or situation, Hub Group can be counted on to provide innovative solutions and a path forward that supports our long-term company goals,” adds the spokesperson.
Hub Group personalizes its offerings to meet each client’s needs. With a single point of contact, a robust lineup of tech-enabled assets, and strong third-party relationships, customers are on the receiving end of innovative new ideas that drive long-term potential.
Agility continues to drive Kenco’s success with clients. Their pursuit of innovation keeps them, and their clients, resilient and thriving in a volatile market. Staying ahead of the game with creative hiring strategies, automation, and software solutions has led to another year of achievement in the logistics space.
Kenco doubled-down on investing in innovative labor solutions. As part of a growing list of employee benefits to increase hiring and retainment, they piloted and implemented a flexible shift platform, allowing employees to build a schedule to suit their lifestyle.
By being early implementers of automation, Kenco alleviated their dependency on volatile market factors, like labor. In their innovation lab, Kenco’s team creates unique solutions for clients, including tools to increase picking accuracy, improve employee safety, and advance efficiency.
The greatest competitive edge is knowledge. Kenco has long recognized this and strived to provide the best data for their clients. To do this, Kenco has developed predictive analytics tools that optimize warehouse operations, a control tower solution that will revolutionize transportation, and unique labor management software programs that increase efficiency and retention.
By keeping clients at the forefront of everything they do, Kenco has created systems and processes to allow them to thrive in any market. With a focus on innovative labor solutions, staying ahead of the automation game, and developing intelligent software, Kenco will continue to thrive.
- Dr. Squatch
- General Mills
4. SEKO Logistics
As a client-focused organization, SEKO is fast on its feet and specializes in expecting the unexpected—and in finding an answer fast. SEKO’s configurable technology platforms provide a seamless flow of information and give their growing client base true supply chain visibility.
Through their commitment to developing efficiencies and optimizing supply chains, SEKO takes the time to understand their clients’ requirements—thus, building their processes and services around each client’s unique business. SEKO’s client-first approach to logistics focuses on making clients’ lives easier and helping them, in turn, develop and maintain excellent relationships with their own customers.
SEKO’s core ethos is about providing hands-on support at the local level. Their staff is encouraged to get to know their clients’ business, so SEKO can really understand how to support them, and their organization, in the best way possible.
Built on nearly 50 years of logistics expertise, SEKO Logistics is the no-nonsense global end-to-end logistics partner—from shipper to consumer. SEKO delivers client-first service, expert reliability, and tech-driven shipping solutions that turn clients’ supply chains into a competitive advantage. According to clients, SEKO “makes it happen,” “gets the job done” and they “make the impossible, possible.”
“Partnering with SEKO has been extraordinary. They have cut our lead time on deployments of new accounts in half, resulting in a very favorable customer experience, by being able to set our customers up quickly. We appreciate our relationship and the communication and service we receive,” says Dippin’ Dots.
- Beach House Group
- Beckman Coulter
- Canyon Bicycles
- Castore Sportswear
- Electronic Express
- Jaguar Land Rover
- Lyre’s Spirit Co.
5. Sunset Transportation
Sunset’s culture is a definite differentiation from other 3PLs. The company doesn’t try to be everything to every customer, but rather forms a partnership of trust that builds over time in every sense of the organization.
From customers, to carriers, and the logistics partners they work with, the Sunset team embraces a relationship-style of doing business.
Even through significant growth (with branch offices in the United States and Mexico), Sunset continues to keep the culture of helping one another a priority and thriving on efficiency and continuous improvement. Those traits have proven crucial through a global pandemic and its effect on supply chains.
Through thick and thin, Sunset’s customers have valued stability and communication from their 3PL above all else. Sunset remained committed to their changing needs while making sure safety and flexible solutions are effectively communicated.
Werner Enterprises delivers superior logistics services throughout North America. As an asset-based 3PL, Werner Logistics implements creative supply chain solutions for its customers and carriers by offering a broad suite of services including truckload brokerage, freight management, power only, intermodal, and final mile.
In this ever-changing economy and volatile marketplace, the relationship between the customer, carrier, and solution provider is vital. Werner’s key to success has been partnering with customers and carriers to design high-quality service with strategic solutions that create value regardless of the market conditions.
Over the past year, Werner has implemented MasterMind, a cloud-based transportation management system that aims to make supply chains smarter and more efficient along with Werner EDGE for Carriers, a self-service digital carrier platform designed to increase freight availability. The accelerating investment in technology reinforces the commitment Werner has made to empowering its industry-leading talent to solve the challenges that impact its customers and carriers.
- Dollar General
- The Home Depot
7. DHL Supply Chain
DHL Supply Chain, the global and North American contract logistics leader within Deutsche Post DHL Group, offers a broad suite of integrated solutions, bringing flexibility, predictability, and speed to customers’ supply chains. The company delivers exceptional operational service and innovative solutions with deep expertise in vertical markets, including automotive, chemicals, life sciences and healthcare.
DHL Supply Chain enables customers to grow their business by providing more certainty in operating performance and implementing lean logistics processes and automation that deliver greater efficiency, agility, and resilience. Optimizing supply chains to enhance performance allows customers to focus on core business and strategy.
In 2021, DHL Supply Chain marked several achievements in their Accelerated Digitalization strategy. The company deployed more than 2,000 assisted picking robots (LocusBots) from Locus Robotics across more than a dozen of its e-commerce and consumer warehouses—more than any other contract logistics company. They also deployed autonomous forklifts, which have driven a 20% increase in efficiency. In June 2022, they achieved a momentous 100 million units picked in its North American facilities by LocusBots.
Automation has also been integral to the company’s peak season strategy. DHL Supply Chain can swiftly add more assisted picking robots where needed to support demand shifts and seasonal peaks in preparation for peak periods. It also makes it easier to train workers with minimal onboarding effort. Their associates have also described how easy it is to learn how the robots work and have quickly embraced the expanded capabilities.
The company plans to continue its focus on innovation to drive performance for its associates and customers, having already implemented a wide range of innovation solutions for 97% of its customers.
“At DHL Supply Chain, we are committed to continuous innovation and digital transformation to optimize the end-to-end supply chain. Investing in technology plays an important role in increasing operational efficiency and creating a better working environment for our associates,” says Scott Sureddin, CEO of DHL Supply Chain, North America.
- Advanced Drainage Systems
- Brooks Running Shoes
- Siemens Healthineers
8. UPS Supply Chain Solutions
UPS Supply Chain Solutions (SCS) helps companies of all sizes see the big picture. It is focused on providing customers with the visibility, expertise, and control to make more informed business decisions by putting the customer first, being people led, and driving innovation, which helps deliver more value across the entire supply chain.
The 3PL’s supply chain expertise, end-to-end services, and value-added solutions are designed to scale with growing businesses and help them grow even faster. UPS SCS helps companies manage their flow of goods from receiving to storage to order processing to shipment. The company offers warehousing and distribution services, e-fulfillment, and service parts logistics.
“UPS SCS has been focused on connecting our digital technologies across the end-to-end supply chain, including warehouse systems, robotics, artificial intelligence, visibility and shipping platforms, sensor technology, and many other innovative solutions,” says President Philippe Gilbert. “This is transforming how we do business and the experience for our customers.”
- Bentley Motors
- Cisco Systems
As a fully integrated transportation and supply chain logistics provider, Ryder provides industry-leading supply chain, dedicated transportation, and fleet management solutions to some of the world’s most recognizable brands representing more than 20 industries.
By combining cutting-edge technology and business intelligence tools with nearly 90 years of operational know-how, Ryder custom-engineers solutions around its customers’ operations rather than trying to fit them into a one-size-fits-all formula.
Earlier this year, Ryder announced that its one-of-a-kind visibility and collaboration technology RyderShare™, which was initially focused on the transport of goods, now includes a warehouse management solution. That means true end-to-end visibility as goods move inbound on trucks to within the four walls of warehouses and distribution centers and, ultimately, outbound to their final destinations.
The result is the industry-leading digital platform by a 3PL that provides real-time visibility, collaboration, and exception management throughout the supply chain. And it can be customized to solve specific customer pain points. Still in the early stages of warehouse implementation, customers say they are already starting to realize significant results.
Also this year, Ryder expanded its e-fulfillment network with the acquisition of a technology and operating platform that enables scalable e-commerce and omnichannel fulfillment solutions for brands big and small. And, with the expansion of Ryder Last Mile delivery for big-and-bulky goods, along with Ryder’s new multi-client warehousing and distribution service offering, the company is able to deliver significantly increased value for customers.
- Do it Best
- Kirkland’s Home
- Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits
- True Value
- WB Mason
10. R2 Logistics
R2’s strong reputation as an industry leader is built on its culture of reliable service and relentless passion. At R2 Logistics, customer service is priority number one.
R2 Logistics offers industry-leading supply chain management services to shippers of all sizes. Whether it’s LTL, truckload, managed transportation, expedited and air, intermodal, ocean, flatbed/specialized, or reverse logistics, R2 provides the right solution to meet any customer need.
R2 Logistics utilizes technology to ensure the highest level of accuracy and service. In addition to their many services, R2 Logistics offers a transportation management system that delivers real-time connectivity across the supply chain. R2’s TMS allows customers to rate shipments and receive visibility into their logistics network.
R2’s talented and expert team of transportation professionals work with a vast array of industry types. With this variety comes an assortment of needs for each customer and R2’s associates understand the requirements for each. Whatever a customer’s need may be, R2 has a solution.