Third-party logistics service proviers (3PLs) are as diverse as they are many, and trying to determine which 3PL is right for your own shipping needs requires more than just a “gut feeling” about them. This article by Jeff Berman (online news editor for SCMR.com) explains how the magic quadrant for global 3PLs can help shippers understand and address the market. The Magic Quadrant released by Gartner groups 3PLs into different categories, including challengers, niche players, players, and visionaries, according to Berman. He also explains how the report in itself is pointing to the future of understanding and choosing global 3PLs: “There is a bit of futurism in the report, because it is an aspiring goal that companies have in that it is not where they are today,” said [Gartner Director of Supply Chain Research and Magic Quadrant Co-Author] Aimi. “The establishment of a preferred set of providers on a global basis is the target. There is no chance these types of shippers have only 1, 2, or 3 providers today, but there is a goal of simplifying the integration between business-to-business and between a shipper and a 3PL, which center around being demand-driven and maturity. 3PLs at the top end realize they are not operating just themselves but that they are operating a network that defines their capabilities. And if that is the case shippers want to integrate their provider globally more easily than it they had 100 3PL partners that is more of an integration challenge for businesses for things like capacity, volume, and inventory.” 3PLs will expand to show the value they provide – as the economic downturn has created the demand for more transparency in that area. The Magic Quadrant report helped note advances in technology and visibility, making the decision easier for suppliers in finding the perfect 3PL for them.