Archive for Third Party Logistics

3PL Executive Insights from MercuryGate User Conference 2013

What is the path to building successful and lasting 3PL-customer relationships? That was the main theme of a panel session I led at last month’s MercuryGate User Conference 2013, which included the following 3PL executives: Shelli Austin, VP at Integrated Distribution Services (IDS) Michael Bartz, CIO at ReTrans Jane Sandifeer, VP Business Solutions at Advanced Shipping Technologies Brad Stewart, President at Rockfarm Supply Chain Solutions The panelists talked about the importance of trust and transparency, […]

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4 Important Factors to Consider When Evaluating 3PL Partners

I often get emails from logistics executives looking for help and advice on selecting a 3PL partner. A couple of weeks ago, for example, I received an email from someone asking if I had updated a framework I had developed several years ago to help companies evaluate 3PLs. The answer was no, but this person’s email got the wheels in my head turning: What are the most important factors to consider when evaluating and selecting […]

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3PLs and Software Vendors: Keep Innovating Your Business Models

Most of the time, when people talk about innovation in supply chain management and logistics, the focus is on technology (e.g., social and mobile) or business processes (e.g., same-day delivery and omni-channel fulfillment). But what about innovation in business models? Is there an opportunity for 3PLs and software vendors, for example, to innovate their business models to deliver greater value to clients, differentiate themselves from the competition and gain market share, and achieve greater financial […]

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Guest Commentary: What’s the Biggest Challenge for Logistics Service Providers?

Ok, there is not just one challenge that logistics service providers face, or one that stands out among the rest either. Logistics service providers (LSPs) face the same challenges that have been on their plate for a number of years now. Therefore, I see the main challenge as “laundry list” management, at least for the foreseeable future. For big monolithic challenges, you have to look out one or two decades, at things like urbanization, smart […]

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If Operational Excellence is a Given, Then What Else Matters for 3PLs?

If operational excellence is not enough for third party logistics providers (3PLs) to differentiate themselves in the market, then what else matters? I’ve been thinking about this question a lot lately, as I prepare to participate in two 3PL-related sessions this month: “Delivering Customer Value Beyond Operational Excellence,” a panel discussion I am moderating with leading logistics service providers at the MercuryGate User Conference on September 10th. “The Path to Becoming a Successful 3PL,” a […]

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Offshoring Gives Outsourcing a Bad Name

It’s an election year, so you can bet that if one politician calls something red, the other will call it blue, just to show contrast in their views. Words matter in politics, and their definitions even more (see Bill Clinton and his infamous “It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is”). When talking about jobs and unemployment, the hot button word of the day is “outsourcing”… or is it “offshoring”? An April 6th article […]

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What’s Missing in the Cloud vs. On-Premise Debate

There’s been a lot of chatter lately about cloud vs. on-premise solutions. Two articles published last month, for example, weighed in on the recent acquisitions by SAP and Oracle of cloud software vendors. In an article published by TechCrunch, “Great Acquisitions! Now Put a Fork in ERP,” Tien Tzuo, the CEO of Zuora and former chief strategy officer/chief marketing officer at salesforce.com, writes the following: A series of cloud acquisitions won’t help lumbering old ERP […]

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The IT Dilemma for 3PLs

I recently spoke with a logistics service provider that was at a crossroad: do they continue to develop their own IT systems in-house or should they implement third-party solutions instead? A decade ago, deciding which direction to take was relatively easy because there were few third-party solutions available that met the needs of the 3PL market. The only real option was to take the in-house route. But today there are many more third-party solutions available, […]

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Rating 3PLs on their IT Capabilities

My colleague Clint Reiser and I recently interviewed twelve logisticians at manufacturing, retail, and distribution companies ranging in size from very large to very small. Our focus was on four key dimensions that should logically correlate with how well a Third Party Logistics (3PL) provider is able to perform. Those dimensions include a 3PL’s IT capabilities, their ability to execute, their ability to drive continuous improvement, and their ability to bring innovative solutions to the […]

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Takeaways from MercuryGate User Conference 2011

“We hired an HR Director, so I guess this means we’re becoming a real company.” So joked Monica Wooden, CEO of MercuryGate, during her opening remarks at MercuryGate’s User Conference 2011 last week. The joke was meant to underscore the company’s continued growth, both in terms of customers and resources. MercuryGate serves more than 160 customers (about 40 shippers and 120 logistics service providers) and it now has resources in 14 states plus the United […]

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