11 December 2003 | David Arminas
The new chairman of the Institute of Logistics and Transport has called for a better understanding between purchasers of logistics services and the logistics providers themselves.
Stephen Rinsler said that one of the big issues for purchasers and third-party logistics providers (3PLs) was whether the logistics companies would be integral to helping their client's customers.
He told SM: "Will 3PLs become part of the business structure of their client and enter into a real partnership, or do they remain just a supplier?
"They are different relationships because a supplier simply provides lorries and takes away the pallets and parcels regularly."
Rinsler, who is also a member of CIPS, noted that 3PLs have spent a lot more time training their managers to better understand their clients' problems.
"An increasing number of 3PL managers are more than just technically proficient about storage, transport and planning," he said.
"They are more knowledgeable about customer relationship handling and broader commercial issues, so they can talk the same language as their clients, including purchasing people as well as sales and marketing."
But Rinsler noted that to move towards that partnership, purchasers must better understand the issues for 3PLs that will affect their performance.
These include the staged implementation of the European Union working time directives, general congestion and cost increases, such as business rates, wages and fuel prices.
He said: "A better understanding of these issues will improve the value of outsourced logistics."
Rinsler, who will remain logistics director for catering giant Compass, takes over at the ILT from Professor Alan Waller, who becomes president in April when Richard Hunt steps down.