By 2005, users of third-party logistics services may be spending an average of nearly one-third of their total logistics budgets (compared to 20 percent today) to support 3PL services (Gooley 2000). Yet, very little research has examined managerial activities that might influence the performance of these logistics outsourcing relationships. Over the past several years, the management approach that views relationships as key assets of the organization has gained increased prominence in the priorities and practices of many companies (Gruen, Summers and Acito 2000). The current study utilizes this relationship marketing perspective as the basis for evaluating the perceived performance of third-party logistics arrangements. In particular, the current study examines the influence of six key relationship marketing dimensions on a customer's perceptions of their 3PL provider's performance. In so doing, the article builds on research (e.g., Goldsby and Stank 2000) that focuses on potential linkages between logistical performance metrics and managerial activities. The results suggest linkages between relationship marketing activities and the perceived performance of the 3PL arrangement.
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