25 October 2007 | Andy Allen
The gap between user expectations and actual experiences of the IT skills of third-party logistics suppliers (3PLs) has narrowed for the first time in five years.
A survey carried out by Capgemini, the Georgia Institute of Technology, DHL, and software provider SAP showed satisfaction with the IT capabilities of 3PLs had risen by 7 per cent after four years of decline.
The 2007 Third-Party Logistics report surveyed 1,568 logistics executives from 61 countries. A spokesman for Capgemini said satisfaction had hit an all-time low of 35 per cent in 2006, but this had increased to 42 per cent in 2007. The figure in 2005 was 39 per cent.
However the report's authors said 88 per cent of 3PL users continued to seek better internet communications.
This year's survey showed an increase from 12 per cent to 14 per cent in the use of supplier-provided RFID technology over the past 12 months. Yet 56 per cent of logistics users expect more from this technology in coming years.
"IT skills are key to the success of third-party logistics providers, yet there is a significant gap between the services required and those provided," said Erik Van Dort, global distribution leader at Capgemini.
"However, it is difficult to improve performance without a formal agreement. IT is still the least favourable option for inclusion in a contract, despite effective contracting practices being named as one of the most important factors for success with 3PLs."