C.H. Robinson validated/underscored one of my predictions for 2015: that 3PLs (and software vendors) will focus more on serving the needs of companies in the Energy and Process industries, especially Oil and Gas and Chemicals. As the company announced this week, “To capitalize on the rapid demand in the oil and gas industry, C.H. Robinson has created Oil and Gas Solutions as a way to change how the industry views the global supply chain.” Chris O’Brien, senior vice president at C.H. Robinson, goes on to say, “Oil and gas companies are experts in their business, but as demand for their products has increased, we are seeing the limitations that can occur with their fragmented supply chains. The opportunities in the oil and gas industry focus on supply chain management and logistics needs now, more than ever.”
As I said in my post, companies in the Energy and Process Industries are, generally speaking, lower on the supply chain maturity curve than companies in Automotive and High Tech, but they face significant supply chain challenges and opportunities nonetheless — and more importantly, they are now motivated to move up the maturity curve (that is, invest in technology and pursue outsourcing relationships) as cost pressures, competitive forces, regulatory requirements, and customer expectations intensify. As C.H. Robinson’s announcement illustrates, the race is on among 3PLs to establish a leadership position in this vertical.