It’s no secret that the 3PL industry has been growing exponentially, even in the face of a worldwide pandemic. While many areas of business have experienced a slowdown, shippers haven’t. With many companies shut down or working remotely, consumers are staying home and keeping e-commerce and transportation companies busier than ever.

Future Distribution Challenges Facing The 3PL Industry

3PL industry growth this year is predicted to be 15%. Therefore, companies need to continue to evolve their company’s business model or risk becoming the next one to become defunct. Successful 3PL companies have already recognized this need, and have adopted new technologies and systems to improve their operations.

While no one can predict the future exactly, industry insiders foresee some challenges that everyone should be aware of.

Big Data

More than just a buzzword, Big Data refers to the vast amounts of data that companies collect every day. It’s so much data that conventional methods of data processing are just too slow. But what a company does with this collected data is what sets them apart. Basic performance metrics are very much “last year,” and don’t give you the granular, “drill-down” information you need to make informed decisions.

The point of collecting all this data is to gather intelligence from it and then harness that information to make decisions. Starbucks is known for its innovations, and their Starbucks Rewards program is no different Their loyalty program integrates big data to make decisions from what new product to order to where to open new locations, and anything else that enhances customer experience. Companies like UPS, Walmart, and Amazon have long embraced Big Data for similar reasons.

Big Data can offer 3PL companies a competitive advantage. This white paper examines the use of 3PL and Big Data in the Indian marketplace. With the right data management, a 3PL company can deal with difficult business issues that may have been previously unsurmountable. Long-term planning, transparency and visibility, and predictive analytics are just some of the benefits a 3PL can reap from embracing Big Data.

Automation and Artificial Intelligence

Big Data is the technology to speed up multiple processes. Machine learning is the part of AI that creates machines that function on their own without constant supervision. The machine identifies those patterns in data and isolates the individual factors that can impact the 3PL company’s failure or success. Algorithms handle real-time supply chain forecasting and implementation and offer companies the opportunity to explore other options with modeling abilities.

Once deployed, Artificial intelligence (AI) can be used for:

  • Demand forecasting and planning
  • Labor forecasting and planning
  • Auditing
  • Warehouse efficiency
  • Network optimization
  • Chatbots (i.e., common customer service questions)
  • Analytics

Investing in the technology to utilize your Big Data information and incorporate it into everyday operations helps a company move into a more customer-focused model. This will make things easier for the customer and the company more competitive.

Mobile Apps

Anything is possible—but can you do it on a smartphone? If you or your customer can track a small item from the store to your mailbox, why shouldn’t your customers be able to do the same thing for their freight shipments?

Incredibly handy for doing a “quick check” on a package, bank and credit card accounts, and other “need to know now” information, it’s difficult to imagine life before everyone could carry around all that information in their pockets.

Just like the B2C world, mobile apps are quickly becoming the preferred method of information availability. Companies like Atlanta-based BizSpeed create apps for 3PLs and other transportation companies to get up-to-date information on shipments and freight information anytime. Mobile apps can also let your customers see their shipments, allowing for increased collaboration with their 3PL companies.

Let 3PL Worldwide Be Your Supply Chain Partner

While companies continue to work to meet increased demand, keeping your supply chain moving is vital. With 3PL Worldwide as your supply chain partner, we can work with you to manage the distribution of your company’s goods efficiently.

If your company has an increased need for help with supply chain functions, call us. We can help with shipping, warehousing, delivery, and so much more. We also offer additional help such as call center services and bicoastal warehouse space in both Connecticut and Southern California and supply chain customers nationwide. Contact us today to learn more at (888) 456-1920 or use our online contact form.

Call Now Button