As the busiest shipping season of the year creeps up, it’s vital to stay ahead of key trends in 3rd party logistics.
Things are changing fast in the industry as more tech and data is utilized in creative ways. If you’re not paying close attention, you may miss something vital. When things are changing this fast, it’s easy to get caught up in the gadgetry and forget how those things can be applied in real life.
That’s why we picked out the most promising logistics trends in 2018 for you.
Top Trends in 3PL Right Now
Tech and data are the biggest waves to ride in 2018, whether you’re talking to a friendly regional 3PL or giant freight haulers. The supply chain seems to be ready to embrace a huge cross section of tools, both old and up-and-coming.
Here are a few current 3PL trends to watch:
- 3PLs will get an even more important role in the supply chain. The data they collect will be used to help predict and adjust for market fluctuations across all parts of the supply chain. Customer service improvements should follow, as more shippers are investing in integration with more 3PLs.
- All parts of the supply chain should learn how to talk to each other this year, as communication and collaboration continue to improve. This will lead to an increase in freight visibility, value-added services like demand forecasting and even help improve dimensional freight classification and pricing models.
- Automation will improve workloads and possibly prices. Tools like robots, drones and autonomous vehicles, along with automated identification and data collection (AIDC), radiofrequency IDs (RFID) and Bluetooth-enabled tech, will help to reduce the need for manual labor on some of the most intensive jobs in the supply chain. Less manpower may equal lower shipping costs.
- Improvements to last mile delivery overall. Transportation management systems (TMS) are being retooled to include artificial intelligence and machine learning, along with advanced analytics to help 3PLs willing to learn how to use them stand out from the crowd. The last mile is the most visible part of the supply chain, and thus the most vital to be functioning flawlessly. As drones and autonomous delivery vehicles come online, they’ll be included in the TMS upgrades. All of this means increased costs savings, more consistency and a larger level of accountability.
In any industry, it pays to stay ahead of upcoming changes, but the supply chain has been morphing so quickly in the last few years that it has become a requirement so everyone in the sector knows to hold on tight. The world of 3PLs is undergoing a tech revolution and it promises to be great for everyone.