Logistics - stock image

Only 18% of logistics clients are very satisfied with the service they receive from their 3PL, according to an online survey of 100 3PLs and customers by supply chain consultancy SCALA.

In contrast, 38% of 3PLs optimistically believe their customers are very satisfied with the service they receive.

However no clients said they were very dissatisfied and 64% reported they were reasonably happy with their 3PL. Here 3PLs were more pessimistic about their service levels with 15% saying they feared their clients were very dissatisfied while only 46% thought they were reasonably satisfied.

When it came to the crucial start-up phase of a new logistics contract, again there was a mismatch between clients and 3PLs’ perceptions. Just over a third of clients (35%) said start-ups were highly successful, compared with 54% of 3PLs. Comments from 3PLs on this issue mentioned “a lack of empathy”, logistics being seen as a “commodity” and the disappearance of “the true sense of partnership”.

SCALA MD John Perry said: “Two things are clear from this research. Firstly, customers of 3PLs need to be more vigilant in their approach to tendering, awarding and managing their 3PL contracts. Secondly, 3PLs should be doing more to increase satisfaction levels amongst their customers and identifying better ways to accurately gauge the state of their customer relationships.”

The online survey was carried out in January and February 2019. Participating companies came from a range of sectors but predominantly in the grocery, FMCG, electrical appliance and homewares sectors. Almost 60% contracted out their entire logistics requirement with a further 23% relying on 3PLs for more than three quarters of their logistics. The 3PLs ranged from regional providers to the largest in the UK, with the majority having more than 100 clients.