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Supply Chain Graphic of the Week: Is the Dreaded 3PL IT Gap Soon to be Gone for Good?


2017 Annual Study Finds Shippers More Positive on 3PL IT Capabilities than Ever Before

Oct. 12, 2016
SCDigest Editorial Staff

The 21st annual 3PL Study was recently released as usual at the CSCMP annual conference two weeks ago in Orlando, led once again as from the start by Dr. John Langley of Penn State University.


For most of those 21 years, the report - based in large part on a global survey of shippers and 3PLs - has looked at what it calls the 3PL "IT Gap."


That gap refers to the percentage difference between how shippers rate 3PL IT capabilities in terms importance (always very high, usually in the low 90s in terms of percentage), versus their view of actual 3PL IT capabilities - always much lower a score.


But as can be seen in the chart below from this year's report, that gap has beeen closing fast in recent years,  and is at its lowest level ever, making it our Graphic of the Week.


3PL "IT Gap" is Closing Fast



As you can see, the gap was as high as 62 (89-27) in 2002, but in this latest year it has fallen to just 26 (91-65).


What is going on? SCDigest's sense is that this is a result of 3PLs in general moving over the last 5-10 years to use of the same commercial software packages that shippers do, versus the home grown or 3PL-specific systems more often offered in the past.


And in general, 3PLs clearly have learned how to use those packages much better than they once did.


In a world of increasingly outsourced logistics, that's a good thing. While it may never be totally gone, the 3PL IT gap appears an increasingly minor concern, based on this data.


You can see out full summary of this year's 3PL Study here: Highlights from the 21st Annual Third-Party Logistics Study


Any Feedback on our Supply Chain Graphic of the Week? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.


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