The brilliant minds at Capgemini ( have released their 2012 3PL study.

In their 16th annual report, Capgemini shares their assessment of the 3PL market, along with special sections on emerging markets, electronics, talent management and strategic assessment.

The study is very comprehensive and used academic rigor to ensure valid results.  For the study, 1561 shippers and 697 3PL executives were surveyed.  There were also focused interviews with shippers and some facilitated workshops.

Below, I share some of the insights that I found interesting in each section.  This post can’t possibly do justice to the 52 page report, so please check out the complete 3PL study at

Current State of the 3PL Market

  • Shippers across the world and across industries see the benefits of using 3PLs and credit 3PL with helping them succeed.
  • The use of 3PLs is growing.
  • 93% of shippers consider IT capability as a necessary element of 3PL expertise.

Emerging Markets

  • Shippers are increasingly drawn to emerging markets by favorable trade agreements.  Cultural differences, laws and regulations make shipping to and from these markets difficult.
  • Shippers in mature markets are looking to 3PLs for guidance and shipping solutions for the emerging markets.


  • The electronics industry struggles with a global supply chain, especially the emerging markets.  Executives from the electronics field are not confident that 3PLs can adequately solve all the logistics problems they are facing.
  • Electronics companies are challenged by high demand of a high value product, along with ever shorter product life cycles.

Talent Management

  • Both shippers and 3PLs are confident with their current leadership teams, but concerned about the future leaders in the talent pipeline.
  • There appears to be a talent shortage looming as logistics companies grow and take on bigger challenges.

Strategic Assessment

  • There is a trend toward nearshoring to reduce cost and supply chain risk.  Nearshoring means moving business and services closer, even to neighboring countries.
  • Supply chain control towers are gaining ground.  In the supply chain sense, a control tower is a location that provides visibility into inbound and outbound distribution flows—much as a control tower coordinates the movement of aircraft to and from an airport.

Bottom line:  The 3PL marketplace is rapidly changing.  To stay up to date, shippers and logistics companies need to be aware of trends and be ready to adapt.  Resources like the Capgemini 2012 3PL study is a great way to stay connected to market trends.  Check out the complete 3PL study at

Questions:   Do you agree with the findings from the 3PL study?   Did any aspect of the study surprise you?