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Supply Chain News: Top 3PL Innovators Part 2


Gartner Cites Interesting Examples of 3PL Innovation from Bolloré Logistics, Maersk Line, and GEODIS

April 5, 2021
SCDigest Editorial Staff

Last week, we reviewed a recent research note from the analysts at Gartner that called out a number of third-party logistic firms (3PLs) for what they say are noteworthy innovations. (See Top 3PL Innovators.)


This is interesting, as 3PLs are not necessarily known for technology-related innovation, often due to the mismatched between payback periods and the length of client contracts.

But that is clearly starting to change, 3PLs are increasingly making these kinds of investments, setting up innovation labs and more.

Supply Chain Digest Says...


Gartner concludes by observing that "An effective strategy is to harness 3PL innovations to seek longer contract periods with strategic 3PLs.

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Last week, we summarized innovations from UPS Supply Chain Solutions, DHl, Kuehne+Nagel, Agility, Kerry Logistics, and DB Schenker.

This week, we close our review with several more 3PL innovation profiles.

Bolloré Logistics: Gartner says this French 3PL created "B.Lab," a digital innovation center, which focuses on multiple innovative projects. One of them is finding sustainable solutions and processes to avoid waste and reduce carbon impact. The lab has devised proofs of concept such as lifecycle management of points of sales materials from eco-design to recycling or reuse. Other concepts and offers include warehouse services to improve carbon footprint and avoid waste and use of plastic through reusable consumables.

Ballore' views sustainable logistics as one of the three biggest trends impacting the future logistics market. In response, the company helps its customers stay competitive by offering several end-to-end eco-responsible solutions, including sustainable packaging, green real estate, and low-carbon transportation.

An interesting offering is its automated decision-making dashboard to track CO2 emissions and pollutants across different segments of transport. It also enables calculation of carbon footprint through internationally used reporting standards such as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol), EcoTransIT World and ADEME-prescribed methodologies. Bolloré Logistics has made its corporate social responsibility (CSR) roadmap public, which details its ambitions for 2025 with regards to its 11 commitments to sustainability.


A.P. Moller-Maersk: Gartner says this parent of container carrier giant Maersk line provides two good examples of innovative diversification. The first is Maersk's integration with its Damco Solutions subsidiary to form one full-service organization under the Maersk brand. The second is its refreshed 4PL offering called Maersk NeoNav.


Maersk has widened its capabilities and influence by these concerted efforts to serve more logistics and supply chain needs under one roof.

The integration with Damco helped Maersk create a clearer brand image and provides its customers with a unified customer experience and fewer touchpoints. It's also a step in Maersk's journey to become a unique full-service logistics vendor - in essence, both an ocean shipping company and a 3PL service provider. The company notes on its website, "With all our products and services under one roof, there will be fewer handovers, leading to more optimized delivery of our services and making your supply chain flow with increased efficiency and resilience."


It also promises customers a single sales force, customer service team and platform regardless of where they require ocean and logistics services.


Maersk NeoNav is a supply chain management solution designed to connect people, platforms and technology to break down organizational silos and drive smarter supply chain decisions. With this new offering, the company expands outside of traditionally outsourced services by adding knowledge and data services in supply chain planning, forecasting, inventory management and procure-to-pay management to its portfolio, enabling the delivery of supply chain as a service to its customers.


(See More Below)




GEODIS: This 3PL provides a wide range of innovative value-added services tailored to business activity, the range of which is described by the 3PL as "from ironing garments on hangers to completing technical tests of drones."


Gartner says GEODIS's value-added services include network design, inventory/replenishment planning and demand planning. It also provides supply chain advisory, supply management and flow management services. For such services, GEODIS has a dedicated team of global experts that is supported by IT solutions who are responsible for managing various aspects of the supply chain, including sourcing/procurement, network design, logistics and customs.

Other services provided by the 3PL include light assembly, kitting, liquidation, packaging, repair/refurbishment and web design. It also offers business process outsourcing such as origin vendor management/order management, order-to-cash processes, and cash collection.


Gartner concludes by observing that "An effective strategy is to harness 3PL innovations to seek longer contract periods with strategic 3PLs, thereby boosting stability and moving away from tactical relationships that are limiting to both organizations."


Gartner adds that "Organizations that have dedicated supplier innovation and continuous improvement programs must also use these to engage with the broader 3PL community to maximize uptake of innovation and gain exclusive access to innovative solutions."

What do you think of these examples of 3PL innovations? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.







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