Shippers continue to increase their reliance on third-party logistics (3PLs) service providers considering the value that these transport and logistics specialists add to their supply-chain management strategies.
However, Quinton de Villiers, managing director of Bridgewater Logistics, notes that a stand-out feature of the 2017 Third-Party Logistics Study and other surveys is the fact that more shippers are shifting decision-making responsibility to their 3PL partners.
“This again showcases the many benefits of outsourcing transport and logistics capabilities to a specialist in the field, and it would not surprise me if this trend continues, considering the growth of this industry and the capabilities it has developed over the years. Essentially, the relationship between shippers and their 3PL providers has transcended merely a traditional client and supplier business relationship. Many 3PLs, including Bridgewater Logistics, have become a strategic partner to these shippers by bringing immense value to their supply chains.”
De Villiers points to the fact that as many as 16% of those surveyed said that they contract to delivery timelines and dates and allow their transport logistics partners to determine how to best meet these expectations.
Many of the shippers agreed that their 3PLs provided new and innovative ways of improving logistics effectiveness and, importantly, helped reduce related costs. This is in addition to the important role that they played in improving service-delivery to the ultimate customers.
He says that the outcome of the latest survey corroborates Bridgewater Logistics’ own experiences operating in the fiercely competitive South African transport and logistics market.
“While price will always be a major consideration, our clients are also looking for a partner with decades of experience to design and deliver a thorough solution that meets all of their logistics, transportation and warehousing requirements. Moreover, they are impressed by our combined in-house skills and experience, which encompasses the entire transport and logistics value chain, complemented by an intricate understanding of transport networks and resources,” De Villiers says.
He adds that the depth of expertise of the company’s in-house logisticians is demonstrated by Bridgewater Logistics’ ability to offer comprehensive on-line vehicle tracking and fleet management services, as well as warehousing and POD by e-mail.
This service offering is augmented by long-standing partnerships with reputable sub-contractors, and the seasoned drivers of its large fleet of vehicles that carry all types of freight, including catering to the cold-chain.
“The fact that we are one of the busiest transport operators in the country talks to our ongoing dedication to providing real quality transport and logistics solutions that are built upon safety, integrity, customer service and market-related pricing,” De Villiers concludes.