Shippers this past year were more receptive to using the services of third-party logistics providers as they sought to reduce supply chain costs including transportation and warehousing.
"The outsourcing sector should do well in the current environment," said C. John Langley, professor of supply chain management at Georgia Tech University.
Langley on Tuesday discussed the highlights of the 2009 3PL survey conducted by Georgia Tech, Capgemini, Oracle and Panalpina. He addressed the annual conference of the International Warehouse Logistics Association in Coronado, Calif.
The international survey, which was conducted in a half-dozen languages, found that 88 percent of the respondents outsourced management of domestic transportation and 84 percent outsourced international transportation management.
Other popular outsourced functions included customs brokerage (71 percent), warehousing (68 percent) and freight forwarding (65 percent).
Both the service providers and their customers in large numbers said they were generally satisfied with their mutual relationships. Some 91 percent of the service providers gave a favorable rating to their relationship with their customers and 89 percent of the shippers were happy with the relationship they have with their service providers.
Shippers stressed that they look to 3PLs for strategic vision, a cultural and strategic fit with their business, effective processes, project management skills and a shared commitment to information technology.
About 82 percent of the respondents look to 3PLs to help them reduce their operational costs and 77 percent of the shippers seek assistance in improving their forecasting.
Successful service providers seek to know more about the operations of their customers than the customers know about their own operations, Langley said.
Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at firstname.lastname@example.org.