Guarding the links

Back in Chicago following this year’s RIMS conference in New Orleans, and I’m going through my notes and the various business cards I collected, remembering the many interesting discussion I had there about a variety of industry trends and new business developments.

Among those conversations was one with Stephen W. Connor, vp of the Logistics Industry Practice at ACE USA in Roswell, Ga. It was actually a bit of a followup on a conversation we’d had at a prior RIMS about some of the issues involved with the development of the third-party logistics business and businesses’ increased reliance on them to provide needed supplies and deliver finished product.

One of the developments since we’d talked last, according to Mr. Connor, was an increased recognition among top executives of just how important a role those “3PLs” play in their businesses.

“I think one of the exciting things for everybody involved in supply chain and the 3PLs and the service industry surrounding 3PLs is that at long last C-level executives of corporate America understand and get that supply chain has a direct impact on their business and, more important, has a direct impact on their financials,” Mr. Connor said.

As corporations’ grow ever more reliant on third-party logisitics providers to support just-in-time inventory processes and deliver products from manufacturing sites around the world to consumers’ homes or offices in speedy fashion, the challenge of addressing the risks those 3PLs face is a complicated one.

In fact, a number of different exposures potentially dovetail in a 3PL, Mr. Connor said, among them property, wet marine, casualty and professional liability, as well as such risks as cyberliability and political risk. “Supply chain, it covers all areas,” he said.

Mr. Connor’s recently written a white paper on risk management in the logistics industry, which is available for download from ACE.

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