I attended the 3PL E-Warehouse Management and Solutions Show (http://www.3plshow.com.au) held at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre last week expecting a vast array of 3rd Party Logistics (3PL) Service Providers to be in attendance.
These expectations were based purely on the name of the show but clearly, and to be fair having since re-read the marketing literature it is reasonably clear, that the primary intention appears to have been to showcase the technology (software and hardware) offerings relative to warehouse management – this is at least confirmed by the type of exhibitors with only 3 of the 24 listed companies actually being 3PL’s.
Maybe the lack of 3PL’s exhibiting at the show highlights the fact that the market for a true 3PL show where the thousands of Australian 3PL’s are given the opportunity to showcase their services does not exist??
Curiously this show was co-located within the E-Commerce Conference and Expo (http://www.ecomexpomelbourne.com.au) and three major 3PL’s (Next Logistics, StarTrack and Toll) not only chose to exhibit at the E-Commerce Conference but were also sponsors of the conference.
Given the massive growth of e-commerce it makes perfect sense for companies such as the above to be more focused on presenting and developing solutions for this market than it does to the in the fairly mature and extremely competitive market of traditional 3PL services.
I spent some time at the StarTrack booth which also included representatives from Australia Post who were keen to assure me that there were a number of initiatives in the pipeline that would finally take advantage of the incomparable service offering that the combined networks of StarTrack and Australia Post could offer if they were finally able to integrate the two companies.
I get the feeling that there will be a compelling integrated offering sometime in the near future – lets hope so but only time will tell.