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Making the Inbound Logistics Top 10 3PL list in 2017

Posted by Sean Coakley


We all know how important and accomplished it feels when you win an award. Whether it’s the trophy you received in second grade for good sportsmanship or the time you secured the best business deal of your life…awards feel great. And as great as they feel, it feels even better when you share the win with your team and can help others to achieve the same accolades.

I am proud to say Kenco has been on the Top 10 3PL list from Inbound Logistics for five years straight. Many people in the industry ask us how we got on the list, what does it mean to be on the list, and how have we consistently maintained our position against the much larger competition?

In this blog, I’ll provide some insight on these questions and highlight the companies who share the title of a Top 10 3PL with Kenco.

Getting on the Top 10 3PL List

To get on a list like this, your company needs to do their best, to be the best. Striving for operational excellence, reducing costs, and giving great customer service are three factors that contribute to having your customers give you accolades.

To achieve operational excellence, it is best to start with your company’s behavior or culture. Kenco has a long standing promise to our customers:

Be Honest, Serve, Get Better.

Reducing Costs is at the top of everyone’s agenda. Whether it's innovative material handling strategies, improving supply chain efficiencies, or controlling your freight spend; we promise to drive out extraneous costs throughout their supply chain.

In the age of continuous change and mergers and acquisitions, many customers are rapidly evolving. The shippers we work with rely upon Kenco to quickly adapt to their needs so they can focus on their core competencies. Our customers consistently tell us that our level of service allows them to be their best.

You Are on the List – So What.

The first year we made the list we were honored and excited, but we didn’t know what it would mean long term. Being one of the few warehousing and transportation providers on the list did introduce us to shippers who didn’t know we offered a suite of integrated logistics services. Also, it exposed us to opportunities published by purchasing departments that use the publication for their bid lists. Over the last five years, we heard from numerous customers that they researched the industry and discovered Kenco on the list, solidifying our position in their company.

The most important theme to note in this article is customers. Kenco didn’t get on this list because we are the largest or most ruthless 3PL in the industry. As a point of reference, eleven of the twelve companies on this years list (that’s right, 12 companies on the top 10 list) have annual revenue over a billion dollars.

On the contrary, Kenco is a family owned, mid-sized (under $1 billion in revenue), a culture focused logistics company. We take a customized approach to our solutions and preach transparency in our relationships. For the last five years, we are honored to be included amongst the biggest 3PLs in the world.

Don’t Fall Off

Not to sound like a broken record, but the key to repeat placement on the list is to support the customer; and in turn, they support us by voting in the survey. For that, I would like to thank all of our customers for their business and their ongoing support.

As memorized in the guiding principles of our founders, we fully recognize we do not exist as a company without our customers.

Finally, the last item to consider when striving to be a Top 10 3PL is to know your competition – their strengths, size, and breadth. With that mind, I would like to tip my hat to the full 2017 Top 10 3PL list (company descriptions cited from Armstong & Associates “Who’s Who in Logistics 3PL Guide.”):

1. Echo

Echo Global Logistics is a provider of technology-enabled transportation and supply chain management services. Echo maintains a web-based technology platform that compiles and analyzes data from its network.

2. C. H. Robinson

C.H. Robinson provides international and domestic transportation management. While the majority of Robinson’s net revenues are truck transportation related, it has domestic intermodal, international air and ocean, food sourcing and supply chain management.

3. Transplace

Transplace is a U.S.-based non-asset transportation manager. Its service portfolio includes network transportation management, supply chain consulting, hosted/software-as-a-service transportation management system (TMS) technology.


SEKO Logistics offers transportation, forwarding, and warehousing services as well as omnichannel logistics and spare parts logistics services.

5. UPS

UPS supply chain operations concentrate on high-tech, healthcare, and retail/consumer goods customers. These operations are highly integrated between value-added and package delivery services.

6. Unyson

Unyson is the non-asset based transportation management division of Hub Group. Unyson accounts for about 20% of Hub Group’s business.

7. Kenco

Kenco is a North American focused company and is the largest, diversity certified supplier of third-party logistics in the United States. Founded in 1950, Kenco provides integrated logistics solutions including distribution and fulfillment, transportation management, material handling services, real estate brokerage and automotive logistics. Little known fact, Kenco and DuPont initiated the first third-party, contract warehousing agreement in 1966 for the management of a newly constructed distribution center in Chattanooga, TN.

8. (TIE) J.B. Hunt

J.B. Hunt Dedicated Contract Services (DCS) has over 160 customers and is the largest dedicated contract carrier in the nation.

8. (TIE) Penske

Penske Logistics is an automotive logistics player. It has been Ford’s lead logistics provider and provides significant services for General Motors, Daimler, and tier-one suppliers.

9. FedEx

FedEx Supply Chain (formerly GENCO) was acquired by FedEx Corp. in January 2015.

10. (TIE) Werner

Werner is a dedicated contract carrier and U.S. trucking company with non-asset based domestic and international transportation management operations.

10. (TIE) XPO

XPO Logistics is the most acquisitive provider of transportation logistics services in North America. XPO has two business units: Transportation and Logistics.

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Sean Coakley

Written by Sean Coakley

Sean Coakley is Senior Vice President of Kenco. He provides strategic direction for sales and marketing activities for all of the Kenco operating companies.


We'd like to hear about your supply chain and discuss ways Kenco can help address your business needs.

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Kenco provides integrated logistics solutions that include distribution and fulfillment, comprehensive transportation management, material handling services, real estate management, and information technology—all engineered for Operational Excellence. 

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