The Process

About the Process

Evolving economic conditions, rapidly changing global and industry dynamics and the maturing of the industry suggest the capabilities and uses of 3PLs have evolved considerably over the 25 plus years of the study. To assess these changes, the study team uses multiple channels.


A distinguishing feature of the Annual Third-Party Logistics Study is the incorporation of multiple streams of research undertaken by the study team. Each year the team selects key Special Topics. Topics are chosen based on what was learned from the prior studies and current trends in the industry. The study team conducts research to validate and illuminate the special topics in this report.

Web-Based Survey

During the spring and early summer each year, a web-based survey is sent to logistics and supply chain executives in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, as well as other regions and geographies of the world. In addition to shippers, surveys are sent to executives from companies providing 3PL services in order to gain their perspectives on many of the issues and topics included in the user survey.

Workshops and Interviews

Each year several supply chain organizations facilitate the research process by asking members and other contacts to respond to the survey. In addition to completing the survey, individual companies help by enabling executives to participate in focused discussions and workshops and by lending subject matter expertise. The team solicits various perspectives to reflect key issues and trends facing both users and providers of logistics services.