Top 3PLs In Innovative - Global Trade Magazine
  July 26th, 2016 | Written by

Top 3PLs In Innovative

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  • Global Trade's Most Innovative 3PLs
  • Innovation Leads The Charge For Modern Logistics
  • Best For Innovation In Logistics

HQ: Scottsdale, Arizona | Global

APL’s innovations range from the technical—an excellent suite of information systems includes proprietary TMS and WMS—to the more practical. The company introduced the industry’s first guaranteed Less Than Container Load (LCL)/ Less Than Truck Load (LTL) service as well as APL Guaranteed Continental, a guaranteed Full Container Load (FCL). With strengths in automotive/industrial and retail verticals, this provider has steadily grown its portfolio in consumer goods and high tech. APL President Beat Simon has said to expect more of that as his company is “focusing our energy on a streamlined portfolio of industry verticals.” Its aim, according to Simon, is “to offer innovative supply chain solutions to [our customers] to keep their companies more competitive.”

HQ: Youngstown, Ohio | North America


There are many reasons Comprehensive is known as a top logistics provider to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), including some of North America’s largest automotive OEMs; those reasons include an inventory accuracy of 99.97 percent and on-time delivery of 99.4 percent. Perhaps the one reason for that performance level is that the company engineers all aspects of customers’ operations itself. Its “Plan for Every Part” defines and manages information about each component, including its source; how it’s purchased and received; its weight and dimensions; how it’s packaged, stored and delivered; and its consumption rate and rate variability. Its proprietary STREME WMS is a recognized supply chain intelligence technology, with full track-and-trace capability.

HQ: Memphis, Tennessee | Global

Recently adding Bongo International and TNT Express to its corporate cart, FedEx continues to pay significant attention to e-commerce. Bongo allowed FedEx to launch CrossBorder, which helps e-commerce merchants handle such common cross-border issues as regulatory compliance, secure payment processing and credit card fraud protection, while TNT, which operates in 61 countries and had 2015 revenues of nearly $7 billion, widens FedEx’s already formidable reach. Frederick W. Smith, chairman and CEO of FedEx, called the additions “historic,” especially given the “current market environment where global e-commerce is growing at double-digit rates.”

KENCO group
HQ: Chattanooga, Tennessee | North America

Kenco partnered with PINC Solutions to look into the feasibility of deploying drones for yard management at Kenco distribution facilities. According to Kristi Montgomery, VP at Kenco Innovation Labs, the drones would be used to manage real-time data gathering at Kenco’s more than 90 warehouse facilities across the U.S. and Canada, allowing the company to customize and segment yard operations based on customer needs. “One of the reasons Kenco formed its own innovation labs was to explore opportunities like this one,” Montgomery says, “investing in leading-edge supply chain technologies that deliver greater value for our customers.”

MIQ logistics
HQ: Overland Park, Kansas | Global

MIQ values technological innovation enough to have developed its own Technology Guiding Principles built on “useful, accurate and timely information to customers.” The company, which is “actively pursuing technological innovation as a way to facilitate and enable superior service,” recently took another step forward by implementing frictionless rate distribution and network technology from CargoSphere. With it, MIQ will better understand carrier rates by trade lane and review rates and carriers on all lanes. “The value CargoSphere delivers was especially evident when I prepared a 6-7 lane ocean transportation rate quote for a customer meeting,” says Carol O’Connor, MIQ senior manager of Global Procurement. “Because of CargoSphere, I was able to get the quote done in 15 minutes.”

HQ: Irving, Texas | Global

When signing a five-year agreement with BMW of North America earlier this year to provide labor services for the automaker’s regional parts distribution centers, Neovia CEO Steve Larson said his company would “deliver exceptional services to BMW, leveraging our in-depth industry knowledge and expertise.” At the heart of that expertise is its Simulator, a proprietary technology that simulates outcomes from the thousands of adjustable parameters to find the exact ones customers need to reach desired performance goals. The Simulator offers a global approach to optimizing parts availability and inventory, determines achievable results, optimizes configurations and mitigates risks—which has helped the nearly 30-year-old company grow to operate on six continents and at 118 customer locations.

HQ: Itasca, Illinois | Global

This global giant, with more than 120 offices in 40 countries, recently opened its Aerospace and Aviation Centre of Excellence in the United Kingdom with the intention of helping customers remove cost from their supply chains while providing total visibility of inventory and transport. In addition to logistics services, customers have access to SEKO’s unique SaaS solutions that make vital supply chain information accessible online. “Aerospace and aviation is one of our largest industry verticals and certainly one of the fastest-growing,” says Dean Townsend, director of SEKO Logistics. “We know our combination of logistics and software services are perfectly attuned to the needs of customers in the sector.”

HQ: Auburn Hills, Michigan | Global

The range of this Michigan-based outfit’s innovative spirit goes far-beyond the fact it doesn’t employ any capital letters in its name—it’s “syncreon,” bub. The company points to its ever-evolving “learning culture” and “culture of systematic problem solving” as being foundational to its approach. Its WMS was built and is maintained in-house, providing numerous individual features that can be customized to customer needs. That approach has fueled consistent growth, including opening two large automotive facilities in Mexico that Jim Barnett, syncreon president in North and South America, says are part of the company’s North American growth strategy. “[syncreon] will continue our investment in facilities and personnel,” Barnett says, “to support our plans to build a significant presence in Mexico.”

HQ: Frisco, Texas | North America

It figures that Transplace, which has taken a kind of full-court approach when providing an “optimal blend of logistics technology and transportation management services,” would follow a similar tack in regards to innovation. Well known for its willingness to re-think and re-work–it’s been nationally recognized for its efforts to improve 3PL employee retention–Transplace has annually hosted a “Shipper’s Symposium” because, President and Chief Operating Officer Frank McGuigan says, “the supply chain continues to evolve, so do the challenges that shippers face on a daily basis.” This year’s event looked at everything from practical solutions to moving trucks–eliminate tolls, create trucks-only lanes–to what kind of supply chain new technologies and organizational processes will produce by 2020.

HQ: Bohemia, New York | Global

TransportGistics believes that while supply chain issues can sometimes be complicated, the greatest solutions are usually simple, best implemented step-by-step and totally understood by its customers. Take its latest release of, an easy-to-use—folks there call it “friendly”—technology that increases and improves communication between shippers, carriers and consignees while allowing them to post, manage and distribute carrier assignments and rules of engagement with immediate communications to vendors. TransportGistics likes to say that “solutions should not be more complicated than the problems they solve,” and this incremental approach has helped clients break old habits at a significant cost savings.