It’s a measure of the quickly growing/changing/evolving global marketplace that arguably the most critical industry serving it, third party logistic providers (3PLs), continues to grow, change and evolve at a dizzying pace. That evolution has been chronicled over the years in our annual top 3PLs special feature, as we have charted such trends as the increasing emphasis and reliance on technology, the constant march toward transparency and, most recently, the increasing pace of acquisitions and consolidations.
This year, as we pieced together our list of 100 great 3PLs, we were struck by two things: How increasingly global the global marketplace has become and how holistic 3PLs serving that marketplace strive to be. To the former point, we added a new category, “Emerging Markets,” but the fact is all of the companies on our list are now in a constant hunt to identify and serve new areas of growth. As for the latter, 3PLs clearly now strive to be the kind of one-stop shops not only able to offer every kind of service a customer could want but to do it faster, better and more efficiently for clients who need it done “now”
In fact, this has become such a factor in the life of a 3PL that another addition to our categories is “E-Commerce/Omni-Channel.” We have a lot of the tried and true standbys, everything from “Versatile” to “Special Services” to “Innovative” to a slew of others that show these companies want to do whatever they can, as efficiently as they can to improve their customers supply chains.
Keeping in mind that the vast majority of companies presented here could bounce between several of the categories.
Throughout its more than 70 years in business, Bender Group has approached its mission with the nimble energy of a small business suffused with innovative and technology-based logistics solutions to help companies of all sizes simplify their supply chains from manufacturing source to end user. As an omni-channel fulfillment provider, it offers nationwide delivery to 99 percent of the U.S. within one to three business days, complete transportation programs, international customs clearance and freight forwarding.
DM’s advanced drop-ship capabilities provide same-day order fulfillment for all direct-to-consumer and marketplace orders along with value-add services that enhance customers’ brands. Its retail expertise not only saves time and money but because the company is expert in grasping the requirements from front-end integration to out-the-door compliance, its investments in both direct integrations and connections with leading industry EDI providers allow customers to focus on growing their businesses within current channels and expand, without restriction, into new channels.
Materialogic provides the hub to integrate your key e-commerce components; sophisticated tools that allow clients to manage their inventory to maximize turns while reducing out of stock occurrences, freeing up resources to grow and market while providing more control and visibility over fulfillment activities. It also provides immediate access to its business infrastructure that it can scale immediately to handle a rapid influx of orders from various selling sites, giving clients the confidence that every order gets out of the door on time and accurately.
It’s not surprising that PT, which celebrates its 30th year in business, has been a leader in e-commerce since it has embraced innovation and the next wave. Just a year after its inception, it expanded its scope of services to include warehousing, full product inspections and virtually all “store ready” preparation. Today, its e-commerce services have grown its customer base to more than 5,000, with more than 7 million square feet in key supply chain hubs such as Dallas, Shreveport, Louisville, Memphis, Miami, Savannah, Charleston, Charlotte and the New York-New Jersey area.
PORT LOGISTICS GROUP
Port Logistics’ proprietary EventPick order system optimizes route picking for accuracy, efficiency and decreased order-to-ship time; its experienced e-commerce order fulfillment team is ready to do gift-wrapping, specialized packaging, gift cards or personalized notes–those final touches that make each customer experience a good one. Of course, customer satisfaction with any online transaction depends on an easy, convenient returns process, something Port Logistics ensures by guaranteeing goods are inspected, processed and returned to inventory for resale quickly and accurately–adding value without additional cost to you.
Saddle Creek specializes in helping retailers, manufacturers and e-commerce companies get products where they need to be quickly, cost-effectively and seamlessly, leveraging its integrated logistics capabilities, advanced technology and nationwide network to deliver omni-channel supply chain solutions for customers. “We pride ourselves on having the flexibility to accommodate each customer’s individual requirements–even as their operations grow and change,” says Cliff Otto, Saddle Creek CEO. “Our ability to customize and scale operations to meet the needs of each customer sets us apart in the industry.”
Taylored is able to offer flexible solutions to process high volumes, including the ability to offer flexible labor hours up to 24 hours a day within the operation to meet high demand. Its automated Warehouse Management System provides a two-way dialogue, and its in-house information technology staff works with clients to automate as much of their order processing cycle as possible, from inbound to outbound to customer notification.
This Kuwait-based company got its start as a local warehousing provider and has grown to become the largest logistics outfit in the Middle East. In fact, the company’s rise directly follows the rise of emerging markets in the global economy. It has acquired more than 40 logistics brands around the world, investing billions to build a global network with a strong footprint in those emerging markets, with operations in more than 100 countries with more than 22,000 employees.
Last year, BDP celebrated its 50th year by opening offices in Peru, Morocco and Egypt. This year, the company has its supply chain expertise set on India where, BDP Chairman and CEO Rich Bolte says, “We see great potential for growth. New initiatives by the government of India are designed to facilitate trade, improve the ease of doing business, limit the transaction cost of supply chain and reduce the lead time for cargo clearance. And BDP is positioned to help our customers benefit from these updates.”
The company has always been particularly Asia-focused since most of its customers primarily source from the region. And not just the Pacific Rim but also South Asia, where countries such as India continue to grow and develop. “We believe that Asia will continue to provide excellent growth potential, says Karla Hatley, president of Wen-Parker, “but we will pay attention to our customers sourcing needs and make sure that we are represented in the areas where business may migrate.”
This global giant is always looking to strengthen and expand its worldwide operations, doing so this year in places such as Malaysia and Indonesia. Guiding that growth is Yusen’s Transform 2025, a corporate-wide initiative to become a more valuable and trusted partner to its customers. “Our strategy is to develop insight and an understanding of our customers and the challenges they face and apply that knowledge to give them a competitive advantage in the markets they serve, while hopefully making their lives a little less complex,” says John Simonsen, vice president for Corporate Development.
OD provides customized door-to-door delivery. OD Weekend Promise provides Friday-to-Monday services to and from 95 percent of the continental U.S. with guaranteed delivery by 5 p.m. or time-specific delivery as requested. Customers can find out transit times between any two points in the United States and Canada by simply entering their points of origin and destination into a company calculator. OD also provides premium trade show logistics nationwide, with its network of 226 service centers giving it one of the best claims ratio and on-time delivery records in the industry.
Pitt Ohio is so good at getting things where they need to be when they need to be there that other supply chain providers come to them. Witness the fact that the company has been named carrier of the year, this year, by the likes of Geodis and Transplace. Pitt Ohio has several layers of expedited services: Time Definite guarantees delivery at a specific time, Day Definite ensures delivery by 5 p.m. on a standard published transit day, and Expedite will deliver your most critical shipments any time or day, even on the same day.
Syfan likes to say they sit on the ready around the clock, just waiting for customers whose “lifeline is on deadline.” Though offering a full suite of transportation services, Syfan in many ways made its name by meeting the needs of such deadline-sensitive industries as poultry and other foodstuffs, where the slightest delay can waste an entire shipment. The company owns its own fleet of over-the-road Syfan Transport trucks and trailers, with a wide array of truck and equipment from refrigerated, dry van, food-grade tankers and flatbeds.
Able to deliver to any point in North America with a full trailer load or consolidated LTL, UTXL offers expedited TEAM transit for urgent shipments of more than 500 miles. It also arranges door-to-door transportation of full truckload and multi-stop dry van, refrigerated and flatbed cargo shipments. With full 24-hour visibility, UTXL specializes in “surge” capacity solutions, expedited transits and oversized loads, with near perfect on-time delivery of freight that would have a high possibility of total failure if arriving late.
Operating in more than 110 locations in 60 countries, APL Logistics manages 200 logistics facilities covering more than 20 million square feet globally. It employs more than 6,000 people across the world serving the automotive, consumer, industrials and retail verticals as well as providing transportation as a service. Over the past couple years, it has opened new companies in Mexico and Vietnam while improving its footprint in Indonesia.
The company has more than 280 offices and 11,500 employees spread over North America, Europe, Asia and South America and has contractual relationships with 66,000 transportation companies, including motor carriers, railroads, air freight and ocean carriers. This year, C.H. Robinson opened new offices in Asia and Canada and acquired APC Logistics, a leading provider of freight forwarding and customs brokerage services in the Oceania region. These expansions have led to 15 new global forwarding offices.
You’ve got to give CJ Korea credit: They have no problem calling their shot. And this one is huge, literally. The company has made clear of its intention to become a top-five global logistics company by 2020 and has aggressively gone after this goal by announcing it will eye multiple merger and acquisition opportunities in the U.S. and Europe. It recently became the largest shareholder in Indian logistics service provider Darcl Logistics, with a 50 percent stake. It has also acquired a 51 percent stake in Ibrakom Group, a Middle Eastern and Central Asian project forwarder. “We are diversifying our channels for M&As and strategic alliances to step up as one of the five major logistics service providers in the world,” says CEO Park Gun-tae.
Schenker is a giant with 2,000 locations in all of the world’s most important economic regions in 130 countries. It offers integrated services from a single source: seamless transportation chains across all carriers–whether freight train, truck, ship or airplane–combined with complex additional logistical services. Its specialized industry expertise includes automotive, consumer goods and high-tech industries. It recently relocated its American headquarters to Florida’s Miami-Dade County, a consolidation that Philippe Gilbert, regional CEO of DB Schenker Americas, promises will “increase efficiency and [bring us] close to our markets. Miami is the ideal location to connect with all countries within the Americas.”
FEDEX TRADE NETWORKS
Global? The international freight forwarding arm of FedEx Corp., FedEx Trade Networks connects 95 percent of the world’s gross domestic. Yeah, it’ll get it done globally. FedEx Trade Networks is in the unique position of having the flexibility, growth potential and agility of a younger, smaller business coupled with the strength and resources of a multinational parent company. The company’s network of worldwide locations and additional alliances enables it to help customers of all sizes build solutions to fit their shipping needs; specializing in e-commerce, air and ocean freight forwarding, customs brokerage and other trade facilitation services.
Though proud of their growth-focused offerings (Contract Logistics, Freight Forwarding, Supply Chain Optimization, Distribution & Express and Road Transport) and excited about creating a bigger footprint in China, Geodis officials believe their most notable recent achievement is a rather seamless integration of Ozburn-Hessey Logistics (OHL), which it acquired in the fall of 2016. “While acquisitions can be marked with a unique set of challenges,” notes Fred Loeffel, executive vice president, “Geodis continues to experience record top and bottom-line growth while maintaining a consistent level of service for our customers.”
This giant, with more than 1,200 offices and 70,000 employees in more than 100 countries, recently began construction on a new pharmaceutical hub designed to strengthen its position in the healthcare industry. “Pharma Hub Swtizerland,” located in Mohlin, will manage about 46,000 pallet spaces using a warehouse system that combines manual and automatic operation and will provide multimodal temperature-controlled door-to-door shipping, visibility and traceability of deliveries, as well as intensive and proactive risk management.
XPO enthusiastically ushered in the era of acquisition and consolidation, using each to make itself into one of the true giants in the industry. Big? Consider that XPO generates about 1.5 percent of the overall $1 trillion the logistics industry earns. Some other BIG numbers: XPO counts 63 Fortune 100 companies as customers. It operates 438 cross-dock facilities to transfer freight from rail to road and back again, and 748 warehouses with more than 150 million square feet of space for the likes of e-commerce, reverse logistics, integrated manufacturing and distribution.
With more than 40,000 employees in nearly 60 countries, Cardinal Health regularly ranks among the top 25 in the Fortune 500. This integrated healthcare services and product company not only provides clinically proven medical products and pharmaceuticals but delivers cost-effective solutions to enhance supply chain efficiency by connecting patients, providers, payers, pharmacists and manufacturers for integrated care coordination and better patient management through its medical supply and specialty pharmaceutical distribution.
One of DF Young’s main skills is in pharmaceuticals, where its dedicated pharmaceutical division featuring regional tracking teams monitor delivery schedules and deadlines and provide timely status updates to ensure delivery commitments are met. Shipment details and real time status updates are available on the company website, and the company is able to offer transportation and delivery flexibility; whether a client needs something to be there next day or next week, they can be virtually assured that the shipment will arrive on time since the company enjoys an on-time rate at better than 99 percent.
DSC has provided expert supply chain management in health care supply for more than two decades, customizing solutions to help life sciences partners achieve their goals. Adept at engineering and adapt systems and processes, DSC has expertise in start-ups, including business process integration, experience in managing regulations and state licensing requirements, as well as a full range of operational skills—such as Lot/SKU control, FDA quality systems, temperature control, recall/return management and a high percentage of time-sensitive special orders.
MD designs customized supply chain solutions for global distribution of trade, sample and clinical specialty products. Its pharmaceutical warehouse facilities are fully licensed and accredited, enabling it to provide compliant cold chain storage for finished pharmaceutical products that it delivers through its validated tier-one warehouse management system and strategically located pharmaceutical warehouse facilities. It also offers full integration with customers’ ERP or SAP software, and it supports electronic data interchange for order processing, inventory management and reporting.
NETWORK GLOBAL LOGISTICS
Many of the world’s leading manufacturers of medical or surgical equipment and supplies depend on NGL to handle time-critical shipments, whether it’s replacement parts for medical equipment or a spinal kit for surgery. A key to success for the company is that at all points of the supply chain, NGL provides complete, real-time visibility of inventory and shipment status. From transporting components for medical products through warehousing and fulfilling consumer healthcare products, it provides an operational edge supporting all facets of solutions, including complete service parts logistics for medical equipment manufacturers.
With more than 50 years of logistics experience and a global network of transportation resources, UniGroup Logistics coordinates and ships all grades of intricate medical and laboratory equipment utilizing integrated inventory, order and warehouse management systems to ensure medical equipment is handled with the utmost precision and care. UniGroup’s high-value equipment specialists service specialized transportation needs with highly coordinated shipping, warehousing and project management services.
The company expanded its presence in Mexico with a new location in Queretaro, where it will primarily handle Mexican moves with expertise in over-the-road truckload, temp-controlled, flatbed, less-than-truckload (LTL) and intermodal. CEO Dan Curtis is “excited about our continued expansion in Mexico,” and the opening of the Queretaro office is part of further investment by BNSF in Mexico to build its market and offer a new level of service.
As one of the top truckload carriers in North America, Celadon has international resources strategically located within the United States, Canada and Mexico and offers a wide range of truckload transportation services, including long-haul, regional, local and dedicated. Celadon Logistics provides freight management services, LTL consolidation and freight brokerage services, while Celadon Dedicated Services offers supply chain management solutions, such as warehousing and dedicated fleet services.
As one of the fastest growing third party logistics service providers in North America, FLS operates more than a dozen company owned offices throughout Canada, Mexico and the U.S. providing solutions for companies of all sizes across a wide swath of industries. While its main expertise is in providing over-the-road transport, FLS has also built a reputation for offering highly customizable contract logistics functions such as warehousing, cross dock and freight management.
Jim Gattoni, president and CEO, says he believes an “improving manufacturing environment in North America, combined with our diverse agent and customer base, provide emerging opportunities in the domestic market.” Especially Mexico, where the company expanded its cross-border solutions with a new 20,000-square-foot C-TPAT compliant service center in Laredo, Texas. The logistics center is one of the largest transportation facilities in Laredo, with a 30-door cross dock and a 120-ton stand-alone bridge crane that allows Landstar to provide numerous options for cross-border transportation.
Founded in 1993, one year before NAFTA was signed into existence, ProTrans transformed its business model from one supporting manufacturing markets from the Midwest to Texas and into Mexico to one that embraced the opportunity to participate in the emerging maquiladora operations along the U.S./Mexico border. Transforming their initial business plan allowed ProTrans to expand and diversify its service offerings. It now provides customers with creatively engineered solutions by utilizing the ongoing enhancement of technology and communication tools to ensure continued growth.
Schneider’s decades-long experience of handling cross-border freight means cargo moves without question or delay and, once across the border, they have both the assets and personnel to deliver safely and on time. Since 1992, its offices in Mexico have provided a single, connected team to prevent snags and promptly resolve any issues that arise by working with a select group of prequalified providers, ensuring greater control and lower risk. In Canada, Schneider has had a substantial brick-and-mortar presence for more than 25 years and its capacity and experience helps cut an entire day of shipment transit time.
TRANSGROUP GLOBAL LOGISTICS
With more than 90 stations on five continents, TransGroup’s reach is considerable and constantly growing. Still, one of its strongest assets is its North American operations, where its TransBorder Mexico and Canada services combine the power of creative logistics teams with superior technological assets to put any location in those countries within reach. Services include customs bonded warehouses and distribution services as well as raw material transportation and consolidation and brokerage facilitation.
The company combines being a top 50 3PL with being a top intermodal player, offering capacity solutions for every commodity across North America, Asia, Europe, South America and Australia. But North America will remain its largest marketplace, with continued growth in Canada and Mexico. This year the company added Werner Final Mile services which, according to Craig Stoffel, vice president of Global Logistics, will “accommodate deliveries for our domestic and international e-commerce customers. This capability continues to strengthen our end-to-end supply chain solution.”
ONES TO WATCH
The company is less than 25 years old, having started with one used truck hauling garden supplies. It has since gained a reputation for providing personalized service and customized delivery solutions—most notably by using custom-built integrated platforms designed in-house for each customer’s transportation and supply chain programs. An Atech team can design, implement and execute custom transportation packages for all types of business profiles and has a nationwide network of resources and facilities in place, which makes it possible to integrate and leverage available capacity in-network to create transparency and cost savings for customers.
Brown has experienced steady growth with more than 1,200 employees, a fleet of more than 1,000 trucks, more than 1,100 commercial vehicle operators, 75 shop and mobile technicians, more than 200 warehousing specialists and more than 5,000 trailers. Brown now offers a comprehensive menu of logistics services, including dedicated and regional truckload transportation, truck and intermodal freight brokerage, dedicated warehousing and warehouse management, and fleet management and leasing services.
CORPORATE TRAFFIC LOGISTICS
The Cline brothers—Christopher, Chad and Craig—were pretty much born into logistics. Their father owned a trucking company as they grew up, and the brothers were so smitten with the industry they would play 3PL with a full-service pretend company with office staff and outsourced “drivers” made up of neighborhood kids on bikes. Today they own and operate a company that is a leading full service logistics provider that is highly respected throughout the country for its capabilities and resources.
The company entered the drayage business at the end of 2010, acquiring a majority interest in Houston-based Trans Gulf Transportation and partnering with its president, Billy Keys. Dunavant Trans Gulf Transportation has terminals located near both the Port of Houston and rail terminals, and has expanded to the Dallas area. It utilizes a fleet of trucks handling local, regional and distance intermodal/drayage service. Dunavant also acquired Sea Lane Express with terminal operations in intermodal and port cities including Atlanta/Savannah, Norfolk, Charleston, Charlotte/Wilmington and Nashville.
EASE LOGISTICS SERVICES
Ease has built a reputation on accountability and being able to accommodate high volumes of service requests from client relationships. It has acquired existing brokerages and trucking companies to increase services and visibility to new clients. That gave birth to ELS Consulting, which assists in leveraging existing relationships by introducing and implementing systematic operational procedures on existing or new business models.
ELM GLOBAL LOGISTICS
Established in 1980, ELM has grown throughout the Northeast with distribution facilities totaling more than 1,000,000 square feet. It offers both dedicated and shared operations, along with a range of services such as cross-docking, reverse logistics, pick and pack services, repackaging, assembly, consolidation as well as many other value-added services.
LOGISTICS MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
This Bangor-based operation has found companies of all sizes come to their Maine warehouse, whether they are looking to serve the Northeast U.S., Canada or beyond. Although the company specializes in handling products related to the paper industry, it actually accommodates a wide variety of heavy industrial and other bulk commodities. It coordinates and manages every aspect of a company’s transfer and transport arrangements with a computerized warehouse management system that can provide reports—from inventory and receiving to product movement and turnover.
Purolator recently launched an expedited forwarding service for domestic U.S. shipments. The service is available for next day, two-day or 3- to 5-day delivery—as well as specialized delivery windows and guaranteed Elite service. According to its president, John Costanzo, “Over the past 20 years, Purolator International has evolved significantly. While we’ve always been a freight forwarder, the bulk of our business has been driven by northbound transportation into the Canadian market. In 2017, I’m committed to expanding our domestic expedited forwarding service to truly become a single source provider for retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors across the United States.”
This Chicago-based logistics provider is a next-generation, strategically integrated company that, for more than 15 years, has been providing solutions for moving and managing freight and sharing its knowledge across North America. Redwood helps its customers find success in their end markets by applying proven processes and cutting-edge technologies to optimize their supply chain management efforts.
Founded just over 20 years ago, Tranco is a growing full service 3PL company offering the supply chain solutions that include 3PL warehousing, distribution, supply chain management and real estate services. The Chattanooga, Tennessee-based provider has more than 1 million square feet of warehouse space and a robust transportation offering for its region.
The company has built its reputation in shipping and logistics, with a sharp focus on customer service, providing fast and safe transport of even the most difficult freight including fragile and perishable freight and hazardous material.
As profit margins shrink for big box retailers, many have doubts about competing with e-commerce and omni-channel retailers. Not BluJay. It believes Big Boxers just have to work smarter to give smaller, more nimble providers an advantage where delivery speed and cost are defining factors for the customer. BluJay’s Global Trade Network manages goods across the largest integrated network for more agility in a customer’s supply chain while wringing out operational inefficiencies across processes—allowing customers to grow business without increasing resources—and adapting workflow processes to respond quickly to changing market forces and customer demand.
CaseStack leverages collaborative retailer consolidation programs and cloud-based technologies to provide sustainable transportation and warehousing solutions that eliminate systemic waste and optimize supply-chain performance. CaseStack works with suppliers of typically lower volume or niche market products to combine LTL shipments into full truckloads for delivery to major retailer distribution centers. It recently added a vendor management inventory system to streamline the process for all parties by taking responsibility for replenishment planning and execution.
ESTES FORWARDING WORLDWIDE
EFW has a history of making customers happy. Witness the fact it has been named carrier of the year by such retail giants as Walmart and Home Depot. That, no doubt, has a lot to do with a history of reliability that is best seen in its mere 0.2 percent return rate. The company now offers HomeNOW, a service with confirmed delivery appointments, packaging removal and assured customer satisfaction. It recently opened a new EFW Miami Gateway Facility to meet the increased demand in service to and from Latin America.
If the company name sounds a bit like an old-timey record label, there’s a good reason: It opened for business in 1929 as a manufacturer and distributor of phonograph needles for record players and jukeboxes. A few changes have occurred since then, many of them recently, as Fidelitone has aggressively expanded through acquisitions of such outfits as AADF, a company specializing in warehousing and distribution, Purnell Furniture Services, which specializes in residential last mile delivery, and TechniPak and Total Solutions, two outfits with expertise in order fulfillment.
KANE IS ABLE
Working with partners such as Walmart and Sam’s Club, which has twice named it 3PL Partner of the Year, Kane is able to use its Lean program and industry-leading net promoter score to add value to supply chains. “We know our reputation is built truck-by-truck, pallet-by-pallet,” says Alex Stark, senior vice director of Marketing. “Our mission is to delight our customers by improving operational efficiencies, enabling opportunities for business growth and exceeding expectations. It’s that constant understanding and adherence to our belief: treat customers like family, because they are.”
For nearly 50 years, Legacy’s supply chain engineers have worked with some of North America’s largest retailers to build productive, long-term relationships with its customers. Scalable systems and processes are offered that increase speed and accuracy, eliminate waste and achieve consistent, round-the-clock visibility by employing high-volume cross-docking operations close to major ports. Its retail pool distribution eliminates inventory carrying costs, reduces distribution footprint costs and store handling labor requirements and offers custom rate tariffs that fit customers’ businesses.
MIQ’s retail logistics management solutions span major trade regions around the world—Asia, Europe, North America and Latin America—offering unparalleled experience, insight and strategic advice to help retailers improve the efficiency of their supply chains through transportation and distribution services and technology. The company is exceptional at handling out-of-the-ordinary retail shipments or timelines requiring a higher level of service such as new product launches, special orders, unusual-size shipments, rework projects and shipments requiring kitting, labeling, inserts and other value-added services.
Sunland, which has been meeting the needs of retail customers for more than 30 years, has proven adept at navigating the continuing blurred lines between in-person retail and e-commerce in either direction. Chosen as the 3PL partner for the fulfillment center of Draper James, a lifestyle brand and omni-channel retailer launched by actress Reese Witherspoon, Sunland proved so adept at handling order batching, piece pick order filling, case replenishment, packing and FedEx shipping that Draper James chose Sunland to fulfill orders and redesign the processes and EDI connection to support the retailer’s brick and mortar stores.
The company has extensive experience working with big-box retailers to efficiently route products and meet its own strict Must Arrive by Date requirements. Through detailed tracking, WSI has the ability to provide box-level detail to customers through the use of unique package identification standards from the Uniform Code Council. It is also experienced in meeting the precise label standards and packaging requirements of large retailers and can work to develop data connectivity, improving Electronic Data Interchange for big-box customers.
Earlier this year, BLG acquired KICO, which included KICO subsidiary Arno Rosenlöcher, a key component in BLG’s strategy of expanding its forwarding business by adding 11 branches in Germany, a network of international partners around the globe and associated warehouse services. “[This] gives us … a key step in further expanding our forwarding operations,” explains Christian Marnetté, head of BLG’s Forwarding Division. “[This] also gives us another strong pillar in our contract business area. We aim to achieve an even higher profile and penetration of the demanding market for forwarding services.”
EVANS DISTRIBUTION SYSTEMS
As 3PLs grow in size, so do their services. Evans is a great example of one that takes a somewhat holistic approach, not only providing services to customers but actually assisting those customers in the hiring of their employees. Combining its expertise in logistics and internal recruiting, it can provide expert staffing solutions for manufacturing, assembly and other labor intensive operations, the kind of servicing that can help customers hit their operational goals.
With its unique understanding of the entire logistics landscape, FDSI can bring customers the breadth and scale to drive costs out of the supply chain, customizing 3PL solutions ranging from enhanced transportation services through a fully outsourced, turnkey supply chain. From its dedicated customer care personnel to its vendor-neutral freight management services, FDSI offers integrated logistics services across the entire supply chain continuum that include market assessment, cost analysis, savings projections and risk-assessment consulting.
Knichel’s wide range of special services vary from very big to very specific. For instance, the company can handle the big job of accommodating dry or temperature-controlled products anywhere in the U.S., Canada and Mexico by using its vast network of warehousing partners. It also offers a full suite of port drayage services for such things as overweight shipments that may require special equipment. Still, it also understands the details. Take blankets, which are critical during the winter months for commodities that are subject to freezing. Arranging for blankets to be delivered to the shipper is but one example of the extra steps Knichel takes.
PORT JERSEY LOGISTICS
Beyond warehousing and transportation, Port Jersey Logistics provides added value by developing solutions tailored to the needs of clients and their markets. Most value-added services offered have been developed over the years based on customer needs and requirements, something that is continually evaluated to stay ahead of customers’ demands, which has produced a broad range of options including integrating repacking, secondary packaging and kitting projects, labeling, shipper display assembly, bar coding, labeling and ticketing, ink jet printing and bundling.
SEKO Store Development Services provides sophisticated project and process management solutions designed to help expanding retail businesses open stores more quickly and sustainably, in new and sometimes complex new territories such as BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). Setting up retail stores in such regions requires a unique level of expertise in dealing with local rules and regulations, and SEKO makes it a seamless process by ensuring that the correct documentation is in place, which in turn minimizes delays during transportation, and so adds sales weeks to customers’ schedules.
Providing service for such diverse and specific industries as animal feed, commercial construction, nursery and landscaping and wholesale food processing, Sunset has been pushing its capacity throughout the U.S., with St. Louis having become its new Midwest hub for domestic logistics. Internationally, the company is “watching the changing global trade markets closely, capitalizing on air and ocean modes to Canada, Mexico, Brazil, the Netherlands, China and Japan, to name a few,” says Lindsey Graves, vice president of Operations.
APPROVED FREIGHT FORWARDERS
With more than two decades of freight and logistics experience, Approved is adept at providing specialty services that meet the most stringent requirements, handling everything from hazardous materials to wine and spirits to trade shows. Customers have come to expect innovative service customized to even the most unusual cargo that is to be moved efficiently and economically. Small wonder: Approved has some of the lowest loss and damage ratios in the industry.
Given that the company started with founder Reggie Dupre’s frustration at having his small service station overlooked by higher-volume haulers, and aiming to fill that gap in the marketplace, it’s understandable that Dupre would specialize in chemical and energy transportation. Since 1980, Dupre has grown from two trucks to more than 500 today and more than 800 professional drivers with an established a network of 10,000 preferred carriers. Dupre operates from hubs near major metropolitan areas and serves all of the contiguous 48 states and parts of Canada and Mexico.
LeSaint has deep experience in specialty chemical logistics, handling both hazardous and non-hazardous materials. The company has specially trained employees and managers, hazmat certified drivers and the right warehousing and transportation equipment to offer a full range of services that include strategic locations—both dedicated and shared—storage of regulated and nonregulated classes and raw materials, and finished goods management to the batch/lot level.
The company’s project division has shown its capability of coordinating and managing all aspects of project freight. Some recent examples include the cross-country shipment of the world’s largest airship, which required specialized flatbed trucks in pristine condition, due to delicate material of the airship. Mallory Alexander also moved a power plant turbine from the U.S. to Korea and a gas turbine stator moved from the States to Saudi Arabia. The company is also adept at handling items as delicate as fine art, working with a group of skilled fine art carriers to ensure the care of artifacts.
Rinchem has forged long-term partnerships with its customers—its 10 largest have an average relationship of 18 years with the company—through a collaborative effort designed to drive inefficiencies and high costs from supply chains. Operating a broad network of temperature-controlled, hazardous materials compliant warehouses in locations in the U.S., Ireland and Israel, it utilizes a team of hazmat-trained drivers and temperature-controlled, hazmat-customized trucks and trailers to streamline the chemical supply chains of Fortune 500 corporations in several demanding industries including semiconductor, chemical and pharmaceutical.
TUCKER COMPANY WORLDWIDE
Tucker prides itself on tailoring its services specifically to a client’s needs, utilizing a unique approach to carrier selection and a staff of freight experts and forward thinkers. Not only can Tucker arrange to move just about anything, officials like to say that they specialize in “difficult.” In fact, says CEO Jeff Tucker, “We like complicated freight! Oversized, delicate, high value, hazardous; each require the utmost care and must be handled by competent professionals and carefully designed procedures.”
CLX customers are drawn to the company because of a TMS application that is both easy to understand and manage shipments, allowing them to reallocate resources and make better use of their time when dealing with operations. CLX becomes involved in the implementation of an effective system focused on expertise and the technology needed to serve the customer and its ROI needs.
CT’s core components are its in-house staff of software engineers, systems analysts and developers who create new releases and deployment management for its in-house developed freight audit, payment and management information system, CT FreitRater, TMS software CT FreitLion and 3PL software CT Lion. Allan J. Miner, CT president, says the IT developments of additional applications and services “provide more depth and breadth for the entire supply chain with documented ROI and recognized cost savings solutions.”
Established in the mid-1960s in Germany, Emo Trans has been on a steady path of growth and now counts more than 90 offices in 17 countries as part of its operation. It also has more than 250 network locations in 120 countries. Central to that growth has been a commitment to investing in new technologies ranging from web portal to its Track and Trace, which offers reporting and mobile capabilities.
The company made a $2.75 million investment in the University of Arkansas to create the J.B. Hunt Innovation Center of Excellence, a collaborative effort between the company, the College of Engineering and the Sam M. Walton College of Business to advance supply chain management efficiency through technology. The center allows engineering, computer science and business researchers and students to work with J.B. Hunt employees to find solutions to real-world problems through innovative design and technology-driven supply chain solutions.
The Odyssey Global Logistics Platform is a comprehensive, web-based global transportation management solution. Designed to manage day-to-day transactional logistics processes and to refine inter- and intra-enterprise movement of products, Odyssey’s proprietary logistics technology allows clients to see what the company sees, giving them the process, automation, real-time data and information necessary to making sound, long-range decisions and overcoming costly inefficiencies and oversights. The platform provides global transportation management services across all modes of transport, allowing Odyssey to implement services involving high levels of integration and automation, while connecting the client to a large global logistics network.
One of the most innovative companies around, Penske prefers to keep its tech philosophy simple; i.e. alignment and acceleration. Company President Marc Althen explains: “We take time to understand the needs of our customers, ensuring we have alignment in developing a solution that meets those needs. Alignment of people process and technology is an essential step in our execution value. We collaborate with our customers to utilize our resources and theirs, to accelerate the achievement of results.”
PLS has released two new mobile applications: PLS Live Track and PLS Carrier Connect. Live Track, used by client-shippers, enhances the shipper experience with shipment status notifications, reporting capabilities, map-based tracking, search and filter options. Carrier Connect allows drivers to instantly share their location, receive dispatch information, upload photos of scale tickets, PODs and freight. “Our new apps give carriers real-time network visibility and will significantly improve productivity and profitability,” vows Greg Burns, PLS CEO and president.
RR DONNELLY/DLS WORLDWIDE
The company’s local, nationwide offices are staffed by transportation professionals—averaging more than 15 years of industry experience—who are committed to staying current with not only the latest market trends and technology but who update their skills and expertise through continuing education. They are supported by DLS Worldwide, which invests millions of dollars in information technology annually as well as integrated transportation solutions that offer multiple services, modes and carriers.
The company counts as its greatest strength a strong relationship with clients who have gotten used to its innovative ways. To that end, Unyson is currently developing a solution to provide truckload transit time for pallet sized freight with significant savings versus traditional transport models. “Over 98 percent of our clients re-sign with Unyson after year three to continue an additional multi-year engagement,” says Brian Alexander, executive vice president. “We are committed to providing the best service to our clients at the right price.”
Americold, which owns and operates more than 165 temperature-controlled warehouses with more than 1 billion cubic feet of storage in North America, Asia, Australia and South America, grew significantly this year by adding facilities/capacity in Georgia, Texas and Utah. The latter project added 6.5 million cubic feet of temperature-controlled warehouse space to its current 11.2 million- cubic-foot facility. According to Fred Boehler, Americold president and CEO, the new building “should be operational in time for our peak volumes during the fourth quarter of 2017.”
In business for more than 60 years, Kenco nonetheless is constantly looking to improve and innovate. Yes, the company has more than 90 distribution facilities and is expert in food transportation, pharmaceuticals, perishables and climate-controlled warehousing but that doesn’t stop it from moving forward with things like its Innovation Lab, a separate division within the company that searches for logistical solutions for both Kenco and its customers, whether that involves transportation transparency, autonomous robotics or supply-chain drones.
Based in Anchorage, Lynden is expert in delivering such temperature-sensitive products as pharmaceuticals and groceries. But given its Alaskan location, it has a unique ability to serve the total logistical needs of the seafood industry. Its Cool Chain service manages seafood supply chains from start to finish, picking up where the seafood is caught and delivering it to where it is consumed. Lynden provides 50-hour service from Anchorage to all points in the Seattle-Tacoma area and refrigerated truck service to other points in the Lower 48.
An acknowledged leader in the food industry, NFI has more than 8,300 employees and 33.5 million square feet of warehousing space. Through organic growth and the acquisitions of Dominion Warehousing & Distribution and United Express in 2016, NFI has expanded its footprint and enhanced its expertise in verticals and specialized industries across North America. “We continue to expand our market share and add new capabilities each year,” says NFI CEO Sid Brown. “The continued growth will allow NFI to deliver even greater service and solutions that help customers grow and achieve their supply chain goals.”
Nationally recognized as one of the top food 3PLs in the industry, ODW has warehouses in Los Angeles, Columbus, Ohio, and Melrose Park, Illinois, giving customers access to strategically located facilities, in-place technology and food handling experts at their disposal. Each location features a rail served building, with rail shipping options that can reduce transportation costs and serves the core of ODW’s operation, which is a complete focus on safety. The company meets the highest standards for food sanitation and pest control.
More than 40 percent of Ruan’s business is food-related. To maximize margins, Ruan works with food-related customers to streamline processes, improve distribution systems and cut transportation costs. Ruan has been able to enhance customer relationships and simplify its process by utilizing its customizable transportation management system technology, RTMS2.0, which combines software from two leading transportation system providers, best-in-class logistics tools and Ruan’s own custom intellectual property.
Texas-based Vantix has been able to not only meet the needs of clients but to do so at rates sometimes much lower than competitors by utilizing move and dedicated algorithms to plan the most efficient routes possible for full truckloads. Moving all manner of frozen, dry goods, perishable and cleaning supplies, Vantix has extensive cold chain and food safety experience. In fact, the company transports more than 220 million cases of food each year that combined total nearly 700 million pounds.
ArcBest matches its services with customers’ needs, whether by moving freight efficiently or using analytics to identify areas for improvement. ArcBest has a formidable area of expertise, offering services in everything from retail logistics, moving services, supply chain optimization, final mile, trade show shipping, product launch, time critical and expedite solutions. In January, the company implemented a new corporate structure to better serve its customers, unifying sales, pricing, customer service, marketing and capacity sourcing functions under the ArcBest brand. “ArcBest has the unique ability to simplify and un-complicate even the most complex logistics and supply-chain challenges that our customers face every day,” says CEO Judy R. McReynolds.
Challenger boasts one of Canada’s largest privately owned fleets, with more than 1,500 tractors and 3,000 trailers utilized across numerous divisions and allowing the company to fulfill a wide variety of transportation and supply chain needs that range from temp-controlled to customs, bulk waste to warehousing. Challenger has the ability and the operational and technological know-how to transport goods between Canada and anywhere in North America or internationally.
The company prides itself on having the agility to respond to virtually any customer need quickly and expertly. From full loads, LTL, dedicated, shuttle and JIT support for transportation to flexible public warehousing. It’s able to provide that kind of flexibility through three dedicated facilities with 1.2 million square feet of capacity. It boasts unparalleled Mid-Atlantic access through its Charlotte location, which is a pulse point to the Northeast, Southeast and East Coast, with unprecedented overnight and one-day reach.
A transportation management company that provides multi-modal solutions throughout the U.S., Mexico and Canada—including intermodal, truck brokerage and logistics services—Hub has grown to employ more than 2,500 people. Part of what it does best is intermodal marketing, which it does by providing a strategic plan that optimizes a blend of solutions to each customer’s shipping needs.
Matson continues to strengthen its ocean transportation services through fleet enhancements, industry leading on-time arrival records and superior customer service for Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, Micronesia and the South Pacific. In the past decade, the Matson fleet has welcomed four newly built containerships, all equipped with more fuel-efficient diesel engines and state-of-the-art shipboard technology. The company recently announced that it would increase the frequency of its South Pacific Express service to Samoa and American Samoa from 28 days to 14 days. “Matson has built a reputation for customer focus, and the feedback from our customers and the wider community has been extremely positive,” says Vic Angoco, senior vice president, Pacific Division.
This North American logistics provider offers manufacturers, retailers, chemical and consumer packaged goods companies the optimal blend of logistics technology and transportation management services. The company is an exceptional provider of managed transportation, consulting and TMS solutions and intermodal, truck brokerage and cross-border trade services. With operation centers located throughout North America, Transplace delivers integrated solutions tailored to meet in-country and cross-border supply chain needs.
A multi-modal, lead logistics provider with more than $1.7 billion in gross annual revenue, Transportation Insight has partnered with hundreds of retailers, manufacturers and distributors to achieve significant cost savings, reduce cycle times and improve customer satisfaction rates by providing customized parcel and supply-chain solutions. Transportation Insight’s logistics services include domestic transportation, e-commerce solutions, supply-chain analytics, international transportation, warehouse sourcing, LEAN consulting and supply-chain sourcing of indirect materials.
Wagner added to an already impressive array of services when it announced its coyly named “IT-in-a-Box!” Let the company explain: “Since a typical warehouse startup can take 30 to 90 days for network and systems implementation, it can impede the growth of a rapidly growing business. The answer? IT-in-a-Box!” The new technology makes the transition seamless to customers, running on a secured private network and capable of being deployed in new or existing warehouses of up to 150,000 square feet in size.
Deringer’s web-based eShipPartner tracking and tracing application provides clients with remote access 24 hours a day, seven days a week to a variety of shipment tracking data and related shipping documents. Customers can enhance their tracking data by automatically receiving emails regarding their shipment at key points during its journey. The eShipPartner eVent component allows clients to receive automated emails about the progress of their shipments. The eVents can be sent for FDA release information, delivery orders, shipment holds, and other events during the shipping process.
Averitt President and COO Wayne Spain says that since “each customer has its own unique story and goals,” each needs “a unique supply chain and logistics solution.” That principle has guided the company to design such solutions as its ATOM System that addresses customer issues of insufficient data, organization and billing accuracy as well as employing the SmartDrive video-based safety system that, since being deployed across the company’s 4,800 truck fleet, has resulted in several million dollars in liability savings.
Acquired by UPS two years ago, it is a testament to the strength of the Coyote brand that the company has retained its essential culture. That culture embraces the avalanche of technology in the transportation industry, or what Jodi Navta, Coyote’s chief marketing officer, calls a “seismic change in the transportation industry. … From automated processes to autonomous vehicles, the landscape of the industry will likely be redefined over the next decade.” Long a pioneer in transportation tech, Coyote is constantly evolving its systems that are imagined, designed and built in-house. “Figuring out the right solutions for shippers’ evolving needs is a tremendous opportunity [since] technology is in Coyote’s DNA,” Navta says. “And we’re well-equipped to capitalize.”
Echo is a leading provider of technology-enabled transportation and supply chain management services. Headquartered in Chicago with more than 30 offices around the country, Echo offers freight brokerage and managed transportation solutions for all major modes, including truckload, partial truckload, LTL, intermodal and expedited. Echo maintains a proprietary, web-based technology platform that compiles and analyzes data from its network of more than 40,000 transportation providers to serve clients across a wide range of industries and simplify the critical tasks involved in transportation management.
Formed by the merging of International Traders Inc. and First American Carriers Inc., KINEXO offers highly customized supply chain solutions that are proven to reduce costs, increase transactional visibility and maximize operating efficiency. Using the industry’s most advanced technology, as well as an experienced team of network engineers, strategists, analysts and operations managers, KINEXO leverages its logistics and supply-chain expertise to provide customer ease, cost savings and growth. The company’s specific offerings include data-driven freight management, redistribution and supply chain engineering solutions, all customized to meet client needs.
Lynnco is designed as a business to continually invent new solutions, which it does annually when it rolls enhancements to its technology platform, providing customers with innovative solutions. “Lynnco is an extremely dynamic company that is consistently setting the curve in regards to supply chain innovation, particularly applied technology,” says company President Wendy Buxton. “We are typically an early adopter of leading technologies. Our visibility and analytics platform allow us to service our clients on a global scale at a lower cost than most.”
The company recently announced the launch of Ryder NaviShare, a cloud-based platform that provides real-time shipment visibility, predictive alerts and exception dashboards with technology accessible through a customer-facing website and mobile application. The system, which provides real-time visibility and event management capabilities to shippers, delivers information updates and routing instructions to drivers. “We took an innovative approach in developing Ryder NaviShare by collaborating with several of our customers who were seeking greater network visibility and proactive event management around their shipments,” says Steve Sensing, Ryder president of Global Supply Chain Solutions. NaviShare will soon activate additional advanced planning and analytics features, enabling freight capacity sharing and management of shipments through predictive alerts for weather and traffic delays.
About the Author
Ken Klaver governs ControlPay’s social media strategy, while developing brand awareness, generating inbound traffic and encouraging product adoption. On a daily basis, Klaver manages all social channels of CP, writes blogs, creates infographics and maintains a daily news page regarding the most relevant logistics and supply chain topics.Follow ControlPay on Twitter More Content by Ken Klaver