29th Annual Quest for Quality Awards: 3PL winners in the logistics decathlon

The Great Recession didn’t slow it down, and now economic woes throughout Europe don’t seem to be impeding its progress. The global third-party logistics (3PL) industry just keeps rolling along, as merger and acquisition (M&A) activity heats up and the world’s providers report decent revenue growth.

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If you need any evidence of recent, game changing M&A then look not further than this past March. UPS not only made a celebrated purchase of TNT Express, but also went on to buy Italian pharmaceutical logistics company Pieffe. Geodis, which fell short of our Quest for Quality weighted average this year, then acquired French pharmaceutical logistics and distribution company Pharmalog—but that’s just scratching the surface of the 3PL deal market.

In the meantime, data from third party logistics consultancy Armstrong & Associates reveals that all of this global M&A activity has certainly made sound, business sense. In fact, Armstrong reports that total global 3PL gross revenue in 2011 at $133.8 billion was up 5.2 percent over 2010. Furthermore, net revenues, at an estimated $61 billion, posted a 5.9 percent annual gain during that time.

And it appears that current business strategies, especially on the service performance front, are paying off in a big way for the 18 3PLs listed above. In fact, the 45.03 weighted average is an impressive 8.49 jump from last year’s number, signaling that in this category shippers have witnessed marked improvement in overall service over the last year.

The most notable news this year is Unyson Logistics’ overall score of 61.53, the biggest number posted by any of the carriers or service providers in the 2012 Quest for Quality survey. Unyson’s 2012 number is a whopping 21.67 points better than its 2011 score, while the provider led all of this year’s 3PL attribute categories, scoring 2 points to 3 points above the remaining list of winners in every area.

And while Unyson’s score certainly stands out, the remaining 17 winners all posted impressive overall scores this year, with the second highest score, Hellmann Worldwide Logistics’ 49.70, coming in 4.51 points better than its 2011 overall high mark.

Some other significant scores were posted across the attribute categories this year. Nippon Express Co. put up an impressive 10.90 in Carrier Selection/Negotiation and tied with Phoenix International with a 10.53 in Order Fulfillment. Phoenix, a brand new Quest for Quality, also posted the second-best score in Transportation/Distribution with a 10.88.

2012 Quest for Quality Winners Categories


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About the Author

Michael Levans, Group Editorial Director
Michael Levans is Group Editorial Director of Peerless Media’s Supply Chain Group of publications and websites including Logistics Management, Supply Chain Management Review, Modern Materials Handling, and Material Handling Product News. He’s a 23-year publishing veteran who started out at the Pittsburgh Press as a business reporter and has spent the last 17 years in the business-to-business press. He’s been covering the logistics and supply chain markets for the past seven years. You can reach him at [email protected]

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