Third-Party Logistics Provider (3PL) Strategic Business Planning

Leverage A&A’s third-party logistics market expertise and best of breed 3PL benchmarks in developing an executable “real world” 3PL business plan. A&A has provided strategic planning advice to over 50 3PLs. A&A’s standard business planning process is detailed below:

Current State Analysis: Performed onsite at the 3PL’s headquarters, transportation management, trucking, and warehousing operations. For most mid-sized 3PL operations, the information needed can be obtained in two to three days of onsite review.

Objective: Review management’s vision for growth and assess your 3PL’s internal capabilities of current operations, staff functions, information systems, and back office functions. This information will be used to identify current business strengths and weaknesses. The following areas will be reviewed during the internal analysis:

  • Growth plans/vision for growing 3PL business
  • Value proposition
  • Corporate and operating financial statements
  • Supply chain management processes and metrics
  • Warehousing capabilities
  • Transportation Management capabilities
  • Trucking operations
  • Sales and marketing capabilities
  • RFP/Bid process and pricing
  • Customer/product mix and services performed
  • Review information systems capabilities
  • Organizational structure
  • Business development approach
  • Service offering
  • Information systems capabilities

Market Analysis and Positioning (External Analysis)

Objective: Define third-party logistics market factors, areas of potential competitive advantage, and service differentiation. Identify key industry trends, market segments, target market segments and potential customers. Identify potential competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and detail what is working in the market and what isn’t.

  • Identify market trends, growth rates and segment profitability profiles
    • Domestic and global 3PL trends and analysis
    • Domestic and Global 3PL market leaders
    • Trends in 3PL/Customer relationships
      • Fortune 500 and 1,000 use of 3PLs
      • 3PL Revenues by industry for the Fortune 500 and 1,000
      • Services provided
  • Define trends in leading 3PL service offerings and technology
    • Major 3PLs service offerings and information technology deployed
    • Information technology comparisons
    • Process improvement capabilities and “Lean” initiatives
  • Profile key 3PL competitors and identify their strengths and weaknesses
  • Analyze 3PL customer relationships, vertical industries with the most opportunity, and successful marketing and sales processes
  • Identify potential areas for competitive advantage and service differentiation

Third-Party Logistics Provider Business Plan

Objective: Define the sales and marketing approach, organization, service offering, operations, information systems, and management structure required to develop a leading 3PL business to meet growth and profitability objectives.

  • Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis – What capabilities can be leveraged, or are missing to be a market leading 3PL?
    • Sales and marketing gaps
      • Brand strategy
      • Service positioning strategy
      • Marketing organization gaps
      • Sales organization gaps
      • Promotion strategy – advertising and communications gaps
      • Pricing gaps
    • Service offering constraints and gaps
    • Operations and capabilities gaps
      • Transportation management capabilities gaps
      • Warehousing management capabilities gaps
      • Trucking capabilities gaps
    • Systems and IT gaps
      • Transportation management systems gaps
      • Warehouse management systems gaps
      • Order management systems gaps
    • Management infrastructure gaps
    • Financial/operating gaps
  • Recommended go-to-market strategy, market targets, service portfolio, and growth steps
    • Identify the most desirable target vertical industries and potential customers based upon your 3PL’s current and future capabilities
      • Most profitable vertical industries and required 3PL skill sets
      • Potential customer information and current 3PL relationships
    • Recommend target service offering based upon desired 3PL capabilities and customer targets
      • Identify operational areas and capabilities with gaps and provide recommended improvements
      • Identify sales and marketing areas with gaps and provide recommended improvements
      • Provide overall improvement recommendations for your 3PL’s IT solutions suite
    • Recommend brand management and promotion strategies
    • List recommended business growth steps
      • Organic growth recommendations approach
        • Phased growth approaches from existing to future service capabilities
        • Leveraging related company capabilities
        • IT recommendations
        • Business organization recommendations
        • Target revenues and profitability
      • Potential for strategic acquisitions to round out 3PL solutions portfolio

Key Benefits:

  • Identify unmet customer requirements and needs
  • Isolate needed internal improvements and capabilities
  • Receive a targeted action plan that can be implemented
  • Obtain the necessary support to make your 3PL an industry leader
  • Profitably increase market share by targeting the right new business
  • Get recognized and included on customer request for proposals

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