The annual “3PL Value Creation Chicago Summit” staged by the consultancy, Armstrong & Associates, Inc., provided practitioners with fresh insights on how the industry will be shaping up in 2018.
Now in its fifth year, the summit still finds a way to address the most compelling issues facing logistics managers on both the domestic and international fronts.
A panel examining the “Domestic Transportation Management and Dedicated Contract Carriage” segment was especially revealing.
According to Mark Christos, Vice President Transportation Group, Matson Logistics, leading 3PLs must continue to are expand their menu of services to offer a complete suite of transportation, warehousing, forwarding and NVOCC solutions.
“Shippers are demanding services far beyond simple truckload, for example,” he said. “If you want to stay competitive, you can’t say ‘we do a little bit of this and a little bit of that.’”
As a consequence, advanced technology implementation has been a big competitive advantage, added Christos.
“The better 3PLs have been around automated load matching technology for sometime,” he said. “They have the networks and carrier relationships to leverage this quickly.
Dennis L. Anderson II, Chief Customer Experience Officer, for Arcbest Corporation, agreed, noting that shippers continue to face increasing complexity and supply chain volatility.
“Clearly, we are in a tight-capacity market right now, whatever is the underlying cause,” he said. “This means winning logistics providers will not just be a strategic planning partner, but will also be able to execute the plan in the face of supply chain disruption or capacity tightness.”
The ArcBest narrative in recent years is a prime example of how a recently restructured company has changed with the times. While its roots were in the asset-based LTL sector with ABF, its growth in the “asset-light” sector has surged since 2009.
“What hasn’t changed, though, is our reliance on great people, processes and technology,” said Anderson. “This is essential for reliable connections to capacity sources.”
Darren Coast, Vice President, Universal Dedicated, Inc., observed that inbound logistics for the automotive industry has proved to be challenging this past year,
This subsidiary of Universal Logistics Holdings, operates with roughly 900 trucks and 1,700 trailers, relying on a driver base of salaried employees and independent owner operators.
The ongoing concern about Electronic Logging Devices (ELD), implementation is still top-of-mind with 3PLs,” said Coast, especially in over the road applications
“Another thing that keeps us awake at night is ongoing rate pressure and the threat of having our internal pricing information jeopardized by cyber security threats,” he said.
Art Nourot, vice president of Carrier Procurement, at UNYSON, echoed this worry, noting that as the industry becomes increasingly “digitized,” new demands are being made on 3PLs in North America.
“More transparency leads to greater efficiencies,” he said. “But at the same time, we must all be building better firewalls and find ways to keep our data secure.”
About the Author
Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]
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