While logistics outsourcing may seem like a mature business concept, five smaller 3PLs show how new concepts, better technology and outstanding performance can bring new benefits to companies open to fresh ideas.
Even if you are not among Wal-Mart's top 100 suppliers, the retail giant's push for RFID labels at the case and pallet level by January 2005 deserves your attention. The mandate will have repercussions throughout the supply chain.
As off-price stores moved upscale in recent years with the creation of attractive, shopper-friendly outlet malls, the demands of consumers and value retailers changed. Low prices were still expected, but shoppers also wanted a better selection of style and colors. To meet this need, Levi Strauss revamped its value-channel logistics.
Rapid growth, acquisition of a company with different distribution characteristics and a troubled ERP implementation created supply-chain problems for Hershey Foods in the late 1990s. A new strategy that focused on fulfillment speed and agility helped turn things around.
The pioneer of the office-products superstore has big plans to boost sales and market share in Europe by increasing stores, catalog orders, contract stationery business, and internet retailing. But it must balance growth with the challenge of a multi-channel supply chain.