Customers First Like just about every other industry today, the third-party logistics (3PL) business has become keenly aware of the importance of keeping customers happy. A Tompkins Associates survey of 62 CEOs of 3PL firms reports that 68% of respondents rank customer service improvement as their leading priority, placing it above such strategically important activities as focusing on the core business, developing performance measures, and reducing costs.
The study assesses those requirements that the primary decision makers at 3PL companies consider vital to form an efficient supply chain and gain a competitive advantage. Over 55% of the respondents manage companies with more than 1,000 employees and over $250 million in annual revenue. Industry segments served include electronics, retail, automotive, and groceries; the functional areas most commonly outsourced are warehousing, logistics information systems, shipment consolidation, carrier selection, order fulfillment, and product returns.
As next in importance to customer service improvement, respondents – choosing from a list of 20 activities – cite increased supply chain visibility, improved operational efficiency, employment of e-commerce solutions, and response to market and competitive influences. The Tompkins researchers point out that integration and turbulence are the two major logistics challenges that businesses face, and that dealing with these issues involves taking a holistic view of the logistics network and being able to cope with the “continuous whitewater” of change in that network.
For more information, contact Tompkins Associates at 2809 Millbrook Road, Raleigh, NC 27616; phone (919) 876-3667; or visit www.tompkins.com.