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We continue our series on the most popular blog posts of 2014 in each of our main categories with our very first post of 2014 by featuring another area important to Cerasis and the industry: third party logistics. As a third party logistics provider (of which there are 46 different types that have been identified) our focus and niche expertise is in transportation management for over the road modes in North America through technology, giving our shippers a TMS, and services for managed transportation such as transportation accounting, inbound management programs, freight claims management, and carrier relations programs.

The 3PL industry is experiencing growth as shippers and companies turn to logistics experts for various facets of the supply chain so the manufacturing and distribution companies may focus on their core. In the 3PL Perspectives 2014 report from Inbound Logistics they say:

“Inbound Logistics’ annual 3PL Perspectives market research report documents these changing dynamics. While cost reduction remains the dangling carrot leading shippers to the 3PL well, that impetus has expanded considerably during the past several years. And the economy is a big factor.

But the greater transformation in today’s 3PL landscape is the changing perception of logistics service providers. When commoditized warehousing and transportation functions dictated contractual arrangements, the idea of partnership was buried in the fine print. Relationships were transactional, pragmatic, and physical. 3PLs were “third parties,” or replaceable outsiders.

That sentiment is changing, big time. As shippers rely on 3PL partners to provide more strategic oversight, and help catalyze business process change within the organization, the relationship is growing more fluid, and less analytical. Service providers are becoming an extension of the enterprise.”

At Cerasis, we couldn’t agree more with this report. We’ve always viewed our enterprise shipper customers as long term partners. It’s why our retention rate over almost 2 decades in business is still over 97%. In fact, if you read our Logistics Philosophy & Approach, you’ll quickly learn why.

The Most Popular Blog Posts in the 3PL Category By Pageviews for 2014

As more and more shippers to outsource certain logistics functions to 3PLs, and many are considering hiring one for the very first time, it was not surprising to find that the most popular 3PL posts dealt with education on what a 3PL is and what the benefits are in hiring one, as well as what the outlook for the industry is in the coming decade. Here are the top 7 posts in the 3PL category for 2014:

  1. Third Party Logistics Services Explained, The Different Types of 3PLs, and The Various Levels of Outsourcing: To many, the definition of third party logistics services or the definition of 3PL, is rather fuzzy and can be ambiguous as there are many definitions, depending on who you ask. Some say “all or a significant part”, while others say “at least one part.” Read the Full Blog Post
  2. To Hire a Third Party Logistics Company Or To Not Hire a Third Party Logistics Company…THAT is the Question: Third Party Logistics providers (3PLs) have grown tremendously in recent years as the dynamic of getting goods to market has evolved. In days past, entering a market meant making a significant investment in facilities and infrastructure to ensure the effective delivery of your product. No more. Today, 3PLs can handle every step of the process for you, liberating your time and resources to focus on selling your product. Read the Full Blog Post
  3. 3PL Providers: 7 Core Reasons to Outsource Non-Core Functions, Like Transportation Management to One: In today’s up and down economy every shipper is looking to find strategic advantages over their competition. The biggest hurdle for logistics and transportation managers continues to be, how I get my product to my customer in the most cost effective, reliable, and quickest way. It’s a constant battle to find the balance of the cheapest transportation provider with the one that has the best service. A lot of companies are outsourcing entire or part of their transportation department to 3PL providers, and according to the recent Inbound Logistics report, 3PL use is only on the rise. Read the Full Blog Post
  4. 12 Benefits Realized by Shippers When Hiring Outside Transportation Management Services: The decision to outsource any process, including transportation, involves tradeoffs between risks and benefits. Before deciding, it’s important for shippers to understand the costs and risks associated with transportation management services and must assess what are the shipper’s needs in order to align to a provider who can meet those needs and thus provide a tangible and beneficial ROI. Read the Full Blog Post
  5. 3PLs and Shippers, Is it a Match Made in Heaven? In the supply chain, some things just go together, beginning with the most obvious, supply and demand. Demand directs supply in an endless cascade of order and shipment transactions, manufacturing, transportation, and warehousing/distribution processes, and countless functional synapses firing every which way in between. Everything occurs in harmony with demand. For many companies, it’s all a purposeful blur as in today’s economic and competitive environment, as a shipper, there is a lot to keep up with to remain effective. Read the Full Blog Post
  6. Are We Moving from General Logistics Services Providers to More Specialized? Sure, you have heard of LSPs (Logistics Services Providers), and 3PLs (Third Party Logistics Providers) but have you heard of the niche service companies, the SLSPs? The Specialized Logistics Services Providers are the new and improved way to insure optimum warehouse and logistics performance through job specialization. Particularly in Grocery Distribution one such SLSP is providing DCs with labor specifically designed and trained to handle grocery and produce, freight receiving, product staging and warehouse sanitation. The company, Warehouse Labor Solutions based in Independence, MO, understands the unique challenges of grocery freight handling and the necessary measures that must be taken to provide the highest degree of food freight integrity. By focusing on grocery freight handling, they bring efficiency, expertise and dependability to each warehouse they provided service for across the country. Read the Full Blog Post
  7. Freight Outlook Infographics Explain Strong Growth Thru 2025 & Why Now’s the time for Shippers to Evaluate Expert Help: Overall U.S. freight outlook tonnage will rise nearly 25% and revenues from that freight will surge above 70% over the next decade, per the latest long-term freight forecast released by the American Trucking Assns. (ATA).The ATA U.S. Freight Transportation Forecast to 2025 predicts further growth not just for trucking industry, but for the entire freight economy, according to ATA chief economist Bob Costello. Read the Full Blog Post

What is your experience in working with a 3PL? Let us know in the comments below. If you are thinking about hiring one, contact us and we can help steer you in the right direction, even if it’s not us (and you would know why after you read our Logistics Philosophy).