MacGregor Partners: Demystifying Supply Chain Complexities

Jason Ziegler, President & Managing Partner, MacGregor PartnersJason Ziegler, President & Managing Partner The global third party logistics (3PL) market is experiencing substantial growth, driven by e-commerce demand, international trade initiatives, and manufacturer labor optimization efforts. As per the latest Chamber of Shipping reports, the market is expected to expand at a cumulative annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.4 percent between 2016 and 2020, reaching $995.1 billion. With services expanding beyond traditional logistics functions, 3PL companies are struggling to manage and effectively utilize the vast amount of data and documents accumulated through extensive frameworks and customized systems. To address these challenges, MacGregor Partners serves the North American and international markets with 3PL-centric supply chain consulting and holistic turnkey solutions based on innovation and simplicity.

Managing Partners Jason Ziegler, Nicolas Celle, and Casey Winans combined industry-specific knowledge and connections to create a company that provides a material competitive advantage to its clients, through an agile and bespoke consultancy focused exclusively on architecting and delivering world class supply chain software and solutions. MacGregor Partners was founded in 2012— named after the local draft house where the trio routinely met to chart the company’s vision, strategy, and goals. “The goal was to combine our deep experience across multiple verticals to create a company capable of developing innovative and impactful solutions for the supply chain community. Our clients demand solutions to their complex problems and we had no intention of delivering solutions limited to predefined frameworks,” says Ziegler, President, MacGregor Partners.

Ziegler attributes their success in the supply chain space to their raw passion for problem solving and technology. Coming out of organizations where solutions were restricted by technology or corporate mandate, the team at MacGregor values the flexibility and agility a smaller firm affords and is laser-focused on solving clients’ problems, whatever it takes. “While we specialize in supply chain software, namely warehouse management systems, our experience extends into automation, labor management, mechanization, pricing, facility design, and IT supply chain strategy,” says Ziegler.

We deliver solutions that produce real value through improved profits and competitive advantage

From a technology perspective, the 3PL landscape is evolving. Historically, 3PLs could compete by supporting and operating a facility that leveraged their clients’ warehouse management system (WMS). Today they are expected to offer not just the operational expertise, but also the building, multiple WMS solutions, and technology that offers their clients’ a competitive advantage–a turnkey solution with appurtenance. This shifting landscape forces many 3PLs to operate both internally and externally owned WMS solutions and manage both digital and paper-based documentation in response to their clients’ vastly differing needs. Forming the new paradigm are demands for API based integration services, flexible rapid deployment WMS solutions at multiple price points, automation and labor reduction through disruptive technology, and complementary supply chain products that digitize the supply chain–all of which must be scalable and supportable on a global playing field. As the number of systems 3PLs are required to offer clients, and ultimately support, grows, so does their clients’ desire for real-time visibility to data and information about their product and service levels. This is causing 3PLs to take a closer look at complementary software that can be deployed across a myriad of systems, within their network, in order to consolidate the disparate data and documentation while providing different slices of that information to the diverse set of interested person as. This hunt for differentiation within the 3PL space is where MacGregor found the impetus for their two most recent products: Logistics Toolbox, a data warehouse and analytics platform, and Folio, a document management system.

No longer is the question “How can we collect the massive data generated across the vast systemic landscape of a 3PL?” The question has become “How can we aggregate and harness the vast amounts of data in a way that allows an organization to share it in an actionable way with the right stakeholders at the right time?” says, Ziegler.

Organizations need to see metrics from their sites and sectors presented in a way that turns the data into knowledge, and ultimately, an actionable plan to improve upon the story it tells. MacGregor Partners’ suite of products attacks that challenge head on, providing solutions that empower 3PLs to define a competitive advantage by using technology to discover new insight.

Those organizations that find a way to aggregate data across their disparate systems in an actionable way will be in a position to not only differentiate in the sales cycle, but retain clients at each contract negotiation or rebid, due to their innate ability to react and anticipate their clients’ needs, while maintaining and exceeding service levels. Many supply chain systems are built on dated frameworks with limited native functionality to provide real-time visibility across multiple integrated systems. In addition, advances in mobile technology are driving demand for mobile WMS and labor management solutions and visibility. MacGregor Partners’ powerful data warehouse and analytics platform, Logistics Toolbox, addresses all these demands. It provides clients with a scalable, web-based repository to aggregate, analyze, tweak, and share information and insights accumulated from warehouse operations, material handling equipment, labor-related activity, and any other supply chain system’s data across the organization–even with external customers and clients.

“Our Folio product is a document management solution that allows clients to seamlessly store, sign, view, and manage supply chain documents generated across all supply chain systems,” adds Ziegler. It electronically identifies bills of lading, packing lists, hazardous material forms, drivers’ licenses and similar documents, includes integrated signature capture, and is expandable beyond logistics-related documentation. Folio leverages document sets to logically group documents associated with a specific data element or activity–for example, an outbound shipment document set may contain a specific type of BOL, packing list, and a driver’s license, all of which is configurable. This document set can then be configured to require multiple signatures from various parties before being archived within Folio or migrated to an external client specific repository. All the while, the document set and documents therein are visible via the web-based application across the organization and to specific external partners–clients, carriers, and end customers. All the digitized documents reside in an on-line repository, in perpetuity, increasing visibility throughout the organization and providing the opportunity for a significant reduction in paper costs through what is a significant green initiative.

While growing the software and consulting sides of their business, the MacGregor team knows their success isn’t built exclusively on technology and solutions, but rather its people and their passion. With a passion for problem-solving in their DNA, Ziegler says, “Look for us to make significant waves in the supply chain space over the coming years. Our people and their supply chain expertise is the perfect marriage with Toolbox and Folio to provide clients with a solution that weaves their systems into a cohesive story, told from a single web-based setting.”