So with all of these capabilities and methods to develop a mutually beneficial partnership, I believe that the logical progression for the 3PL market is a cloud type of service, Service as a Service, or Supply Chain as a Service!


I’ve come to this belief because I see the client requirements moving into this direction based on the progression of cloud service, the progression of software capabilities and especially the progression of cloud service offerings in the supply chain vertical.  So based on all these factors I believe that the next logical step for 3PL providers is to buddle the services and software into a solutions based cloud service offering.  This will allow the 3PL to bundle full service offerings into niche markets and extend their partner base and market share.  Bundling the services and software capabilities will allow their partners to extend their visibility and provide more accurate forecasting an planning based on the metrics provided by the 3PL through their bundled service offerings.


This concept will allow the 3PL provider to quickly and efficiently provide overflow service support capabilities that can quickly and efficiently extend their clients capabilities during peak processing and volume periods without the client loosing visibility.  This concept will also allow the 3PL to offer additional capabilities to their clients and efficiently extend their software and capability solutions quickly and cost effectively, allowing their clients to try new services and quickly extend capabilities to support new business requirements.  This can provide a compelling value proposition in this economy allowing the 3PL community to expand and contract quickly and cost effectively to adjust to the market pressures without large investments or a long lead time.


Now, to add to this value, the leaders will add portal capabilities and services to their menu of service offerings for the client community to kick the value proposition into high gear!  The portal simplifies the integration requirements and allows the clients to quickly integrate into the community taking advantage of new capabilities.  The leading 3PL’s providing the portal capabilities to their community of clients will help to cement their relationships into long term partnerships.  The value of bundling is driving the telecom and cable TV marketplace and I think that the 3PL and outsource supply chain market can achieve significant value for both the clients and the providers by bundling their services and capabilities.  The benefits to the supply chain outsourcing, or 3PL , clients is cost containment and cost efficiencies achieved by taking advantage of the bundled services that would be offered by the 3PL provider.  The benefits to the provider is the retention and development of a long term relationship with their clients.  Additional benefits of bundling is the word of mouth recommendations for the providers that are first to market. 


The providers’ outsource client community also gains intrinsic value through the extension of the community.  In other words the larger the community, the greater the value provided by the community, to the community.


Now folks please take a moment to provide your feedback.  This will become even more valuable with robust participation!


Now for the audience participation portion of this program……


How are you developing a mutually beneficial relationship with the Third Party Logistics Provider?  Is it a traditional customer / vendor relationship that focuses on one-sided benefits and short term objectives? Or, is it based on a partnership that provides mutually beneficial benefits and long term objectives?


Do you see organizational benefits and opportunities to improve based on the cloud style services offering and the portal community capabilities described above?


If you see the benefits to this type of relationship, will you be taking steps to implement this type of relationship?


Would you say that your focus is long term and strategic, or short term and tactical?