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Time To Dust The Vault And Revive Those Forgotten Logistics Ideas

global trade logistics

Time To Dust The Vault And Revive Those Forgotten Logistics Ideas

Things are slowing down in the 3PL industry, with a 4.7% shipment decline during the last fourth quarter. Asparuh Koev, CEO of Transmetrics, an AI logistics platform, sees this as a green light for polishing the dust off those company visions that got put on the bottom of the pile.

Read also: Why Now is an Excellent Time to Switch to Sustainable Logistics Practice

A glut of trucks and stubbornly weak freight markets have been crippling third-party logistics (3PLs) companies for the past two years. These conditions are squeezing margins and putting a serious strain on their financial health.

With 2024 looking like a slow-to-steady year for shipping demand, smart investments are what 3PLs need to take back control of their market. Getting closer to customers with strategically located warehouses, customizable solutions, and dynamic pricing techniques are some approaches to consider. 

Looking beyond traditional solutions, your logistics business can regain its unique proposition, navigating periods of excess capacity and emerging stronger.

Micro-Warehousing and Strategic Partnerships

Some 67% of surveyed customers encountered delivery problems already this year. Strategically located facilities offer a handy alternative to large distribution centers and make for agile retail supply chains.

Micro-fulfillment centers or smaller-scale storage facilities are often positioned in urban areas, bringing inventory closer to the end consumer, and reducing the delay and costs that come with heavy traffic congestion and limited parking. This last-mile optimization strategy is particularly useful for fast-moving items, or popular products, ensuring they are readily available for quick dispatch. The trick is to have advanced inventory algorithms that prioritize high-demand items and logistics planning tools to calculate storage recommendations that can maximize smaller spaces.

Popular supermarket chain Walmart, for example, partnered with three technology companies to open micro-fulfillment centers inside select Walmart stores in the US, and we are seeing a similar strategy for Germany’s largest grocery discounter, Netto. The Edeka Group company joined forces with automated solutions provider, Cimcorp, to help optimize Netto’s processes for shorter lead times and more precise order fulfillment.

Teaming up with logistics providers or co-locating with other retailers in shared warehouses can also improve efficiency by reducing costs and streamlining fulfillment processes.

Value-Added Services (VAS) Expansion

How many times have customers bought products and decided they don’t want them anymore? Twenty-three percent of shoppers admit to “wardrobing” — buying items with the intention of returning them.

Reverse logistics is all about getting that product back from customers and figuring out what to do with it in the best way possible. This could mean sending it to a store, a warehouse, a repair center, or even back to the manufacturer. The main goal is to either get some money back from the product by selling it again or get rid of it cheaply and sustainably through recycling.

While it might not be the trucker’s fault a customer received the wrong order or the product didn’t meet the customer’s standards, 3PLs can help businesses dispose of unwanted or defective products responsibly. Providing this additional value is a great way to maximize excessive capacity and take the burden off retailer clients. By streamlining communications between retailers, warehouses, manufacturers, recyclers, and end customers — with transparent information on warranties and service returns accessible — 3PLs can offer reliable reverse logistics.

Estimated at $8.8 trillion in 2024, the e-commerce market size is large and it’s growing; at a CAGR of 15.8% between 2024 and 2029. However, business expansion across multiple independent online stores requires solid inventory management control. Forecasting tools and warehouse management systems (WMS) that integrate with e-commerce platforms can provide real-time visibility into inventory and order fulfillment to manage stock across multiple warehouses. 

Data-Driven Dynamic Pricing

Traditional fixed pricing can leave 3PL warehouses empty during slow seasons and overflowing during peak times. However, by adjusting prices based on real-time factors like demand and capacity, 3PLs can maximize profits and better serve customers.

3PL companies can adjust their strategies to market fluctuations, differentiating rates for services depending on their current demand, warehouse space, level of difficulty, or load-to-truck ratio. You may use the delivery date to determine the final rate, putting a dynamic markup based on timeliness and your current workload.

To implement dynamic pricing successfully, 3PLs need good data. Real-time visibility into an organization’s entire supply chain enables businesses to enhance decision-making and pivot to maintain a competitive edge. Analyzing historical trends alongside real-time data and market conditions allows you to swiftly identify and address upcoming peaks or slows in demand or storage space. Clear communication with clients and investment in flexible technology is also crucial. This way, 3PLs can understand client needs, adapt to market changes, optimize resources, and become more competitive in the logistics industry.

With a surplus of empty trucks and a slow-to-steady year for shipping demand on the horizon, 3PLs need to get creative to regain control. The key lies in getting closer to customers. Strategically located warehouses can mean faster deliveries and happier clients. 3PLs can bring in new customers with customizable logistics solutions making you a more attractive partner while keeping profit margins balanced with flexible rates based on demand. By thinking outside the box and adopting these strategies, 3PLs can not only weather the current market conditions but emerge as stronger competitors in the logistics industry.

Author bio

Asparuh Koev has worked in the transport and logistics sector for more than two decades. Over the years, he has established several companies including Sciant, an engineering services company later acquired by VMWare, and IntelliCo Solutions, which delivers IT digitization for the transport industry. Koev co-founded Transmetrics in 2013 and, as CEO, he combines IT and domain expertise to grow a company that is bringing truly cutting-edge technologies to the sector.

GT Podcast - Episode 130 - Logistics Plus Cover Art featuring Jim Berlin

GT Podcast – Episode 130 – LOGISTICS PLUS: Growth and Excellence Through Determination

On this episode of GT Podcast’s Logistically Speaking we are speaking to Logistics Plus Founder and CEO, Jim Berlin.  Today we will learn how a small one-client, three-person company has grown to over 1200 employees in more than 50 countries worldwide, why this company has made it a personal mission to help in the efforts to help rebuild Ukraine, and what in the world do donuts have to do with success in logistics.  You won’t want to miss this one!

For more information on Logistics Plus, visit https://www.logisticsplus.com/

Check out more of our GT Podcast – Logistically Speaking Series and more here!

supply wms global trade WMS global trade warehouse

Unleashing the Power of WMS for 3PLs: A Gateway to Competitive Advantage

In the fiercely competitive world of third-party logistics (3PL), success hinges on the ability to swiftly onboard new customers, optimize operations, and drive revenue growth. With the market constantly evolving, 3PL providers are increasingly turning to advanced technological solutions to gain a competitive edge. Among these solutions, Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) emerge as a cornerstone in empowering 3PLs to excel in today’s fast-paced environment while strategically positioning themselves for future success. 

For 3PLs, the journey begins with their sales teams actively pursuing new customers to fuel revenue growth. However, the real challenge lies in efficiently onboarding these customers and seamlessly integrating them into the logistics ecosystem. A robust WMS serves as a linchpin in this process, enabling 3PLs to optimize their operational model and rapidly onboard new clients in as little as 30 days. By providing setup wizards and copy/paste capabilities, a 3PL-focused WMS simplifies and accelerates the onboarding process, enabling 3PLs to scale their operations more efficiently. In addition, by tactically managing the pick, pack, and ship processes, WMS streamlines product flow both into and out of warehouse facilities, laying the groundwork for further enhanced efficiency and customer satisfaction. By automating and optimizing these critical tasks, WMS helps 3PLs streamline their operations while reducing errors. This leads to increased revenue generation by enabling 3PLs to process orders more quickly and accurately while enhancing operations.

Moreover, the agility and flexibility inherent in modern WMS solutions play a pivotal role in accommodating the diverse needs and process requirements of individual customers with multiple levels of configuration and ability to support multiple individual rule sets and workflows in a single facility. With the ability to adapt to unique capabilities and preferences, WMS empowers 3PLs to deliver tailored solutions that meet the evolving demands of their clients. Whether it’s managing multiple business units within a single facility or catering to customers across various regions, WMS provides the scalability and versatility needed to meet business goals and drive success. 

The transition to a cloud-based WMS architecture brings unparalleled advantages for 3PLs, particularly in terms of scalability and technological agility. In an industry characterized by seasonal peaks and fluctuations in demand, cloud-based WMS solutions offer the flexibility to scale resources dynamically, ensuring optimal performance during peak periods. By offloading concerns about technology infrastructure and scalability, 3PLs can focus on maximizing labor efficiency and delivering exceptional service to their customers.

Advanced features such as flexible billing engines also help 3PLs adapt to evolving customer needs and services, eliminating revenue leakage and maximizing profitability. Experienced 3PLs know it’s important to partner with a WMS provider that has extensive billing knowledge and capabilities. Highly granular, configurable capabilities that capture all billable activities as well as supporting broad contract terms is crucial. 

Furthermore, WMS solutions provide invaluable insights and visibility into warehouse operations, allowing 3PL providers to make data-driven decisions and continuously improve performance. By offering real-time visibility into inventory levels, order statuses, and operational metrics, WMS enables 3PLs to identify inefficiencies, streamline processes, and enhance overall productivity. When combining a Distributed Order Management (DOM) approach to intelligent sourcing, this proactive approach not only drives cost savings but also ensures that 3PL providers can deliver superior service and value to their clients.

The strategic adoption of WMS empowers 3PLs to thrive in an increasingly competitive market landscape. WMS represents more than just a tool for operational optimization – it’s a gateway to competitive advantage for 3PLs. As the logistics landscape continues to evolve, the adoption of advanced WMS solutions will be instrumental in shaping the success and sustainability of 3PL operations, enabling them to stay ahead of the curve by achieving sustainable growth and profitability. 

Author Bio

Jack O’Malley is Vice President of Account Management for Softeon, a WMS provider focused exclusively on optimizing warehouse and fulfillment operations. For over two decades now, we have been helping our customers succeed. Investing in R&D enables us to develop software to solve the most complex warehouse challenges. Softeon is laser-focused on customer results, with a 100% track record of deployment success. We believe warehouse leaders shouldn’t have to settle for a one size fits all approach to technology. For more information, please visit www.Softeon.com.

Podcast cover art with Logistics Plus

GT Podcast – Episode 128 – LOGISTICS PLUS: An Innovative Leader and Top 3PL

In this episode of GT Podcast’s Logistically Speaking, we will talk with Yuriy Ostapyak, Chief Operating Officer of Logistics Plus.  We will learn how Logistics Plus has grown from a logistics company to a supply chain management company that offers highly specialized solutions for Fortune 50 companies in the realm of IT, IT infrastructure, and business intelligence.  You won’t want to miss this one!

For more information on Logistics Plus, visit https://www.logisticsplus.com/

Check out more of our GT Podcast – Logistically Speaking Series and more here!

Shipping 3pl

The 4 Pillars of a Successful 3PL Partnership

Managing a supply chain is a full-time job. Without consistent oversight, your supply chain process could easily end up with excessive levels of inventory, delays in shipping or transportation, and all sorts of inefficiencies. In today’s convenience-obsessed economy, companies cannot afford to let supply chain issues go unnoticed or unresolved.

That’s why I believe an increasing number of business leaders are choosing to outsource logistics to a third-party logistics provider (3PL). 3PLs offer an array of essential supply chain management services, such as warehousing, transportation, order fulfillment, and inventory management. Think about it: did you decide to start your business so you could spend your days chasing down deliveries, both incoming and outgoing? Outsourcing logistics enables you to focus on the tasks you truly enjoy, like building a distinctive brand identity, growing your operation, and better understanding your customers’ needs.

Now that outsourcing logistics has become more commonplace, more 3PLs are popping up left and right. This can make it difficult to find the right partner for your business.

Track record and reputation 

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a 3PL is your potential partner’s reputation. This isn’t one of those situations when there are advantages to partnering with a younger business with fewer customers. When it comes to a responsibility as crucial as logistics, it’s imperative to choose a 3PL that has a strong track record and can produce good references from numerous satisfied customers. 

You also want to find a 3PL who has experience working with companies in your industry. Every industry has its own challenges and regulations, and a 3PL that has worked with other companies like yours will be familiar with these challenges and regulations and know exactly how to navigate them. 

To that end, a 3PL with more experience is also more likely to have a larger network of partners. In the likely event of a supply chain disruption, a 3PL with more partners to count on can keep your supply chain running until the issue is resolved. In fact, you can get an even better idea of a 3PL’s reputation by reviewing references from vendors, carriers, and employees, not just customers.

Customization and flexibility 

Again, every industry has its own specific characteristics, and you want to partner with a 3PL that understands what makes your industry distinct. And due to the notorious complexity of supply chains, it’s important that 3PLs consistently adapt their services to meet the needs of each individual customer. A good 3PL will possess the resources to accommodate specific challenges of your business, such as unforeseen spikes in demand, or the need to maintain a certain level of inventory for a certain item throughout the year.

With this in mind, it’s also important to consider how your needs will change as seasons progress. Will there be times when you require additional services that you don’t need at this particular moment? Will the extent of your needs for each service change significantly? For example, at certain times of year, you may eventually require more storage space, or you may need to ship your items to further geographical distances. Your new logistics partner must be able to quickly scale up and meet these needs at any given time.

Finances and technology

Lots of 3PLs might say they are well-positioned for the future. Only some, however, will be able to prove it. When speaking with potential partners, be sure to determine whether the 3PL is in good financial shape and has made the necessary investments to succeed in the logistics industry of 2023. For example, if the 3PL has been able to consistently add new customers, has it simultaneously been making key investments in infrastructure and staff?

Another way to tell if a 3PL is ready for the future is the prevalence of advanced technology in its services. Does the 3PL consistently harness the latest transportation management systems, warehouse management systems, and freight forwarding software to improve efficiency and profitability for its customers? To what extent has the 3PL automated its fulfillment processes? A good 3PL should be able to rattle off all sorts of different ways it has stayed up to date with the latest developments in this ever-changing industry.

Customer service protocols

A reputable 3PL will have many customers, but that shouldn’t stop them from giving the same amount of attention to every single one. This is only possible if each customer has a designated point of contact who is fully prepared to field questions or concerns at any given time. 

As you’re well-aware, supply chains tend to become disrupted at the most inconvenient moments, and every minute that goes by could cause more orders to be delayed. For this reason, your new partner should have someone who will always be available to respond to communications and work with you to resolve sudden issues.

As you’re speaking with potential partners, ask them how they typically handle supply chain disruptions, and how you would contact them for support. A 3PL that understands the importance of customer service will have protocols in place for resolving different types of issues such as delivery errors or product recalls. It’s the 3PL’s job to help you maximize efficiency and profitability, so the last thing they should do is put you in a situation where you’re wasting time and money.

Final thoughts

Choosing the right 3PL comes down to determining whether a potential partner possesses the resources to simplify your business’s logistics-related challenges while also meeting the changing standards of the logistics industry. Once those boxes are checked, it’s just about getting the impression that the 3PL is ready to treat this new partnership as a top priority and can truly help you succeed.

 

Global Third-Party Logistics Market to Generate Revenue of Over US$ 2,349.2 Billion By 2031

Global third-party logistics market was valued at US$ 1,112.6 Bn in 2022 and is estimated to reach US$ 2,349.2 Bn by 2031. The market is registering a growth at a CAGR of 8.7% during the forecast period 2023-2031. This growth is largely driven by the increased demand for integrated supply chain solutions and services as businesses strive to become more efficient and cost-effective.

However, the recent outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war has caused severe disruption to the global economy, and the 3PL industry is not immune to these adverse effects. This conflict has reduced consumer confidence throughout the world, thereby reducing spending, which has in turn affected the demand for 3PL services. Additionally, the travel restrictions imposed due to the conflict have resulted in increased transportation costs and a slowdown in the delivery of goods.

Despite these challenges, the third-party logistics market is still expected to experience steady growth in the near future, as companies continue to realize the value of outsourcing their supply chain operations. This is evidenced by the adoption of advanced technologies such as AI and blockchain, which are being widely used to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of 3PL operations. Companies are also increasingly investing in digital solutions such as warehouse management systems, fleet management systems and order management systems, which are enabling them to better track their shipments and optimize their supply chain operations.

Top 6 Trends in the Global Third-Party Logistics Market

The Third-Party Logistics (3PL) services industry has seen significant growth in recent years as businesses continue to search for cost-effective, reliable logistics solutions. As such, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments to ensure that your business is making the most of its 3PL services. Here are some of the top trends in 3PL services to watch in 2022 and beyond:

1. Increased Automation: Automation has become increasingly prevalent in the 3PL industry, from warehouse robots to automated order scanning and processing. Automation can reduce costs and improve accuracy and efficiency, so many businesses are now turning to automated 3PL services.

2. Data Analytics: 3PL providers are increasingly harnessing the power of Big Data analytics to gain insight into customer demands, inventory levels, delivery times, and more. This helps them better serve their customers and provide a higher level of service.

3. Sustainable Practices: Sustainability has become an increasingly important factor for many businesses, and this is reflected in the third-party logistics market. 3PL providers are increasingly embracing eco-friendly practices, such as reducing fuel consumption and emissions, and utilizing renewable energy sources.

4. Digitalization: Digitalization has been a major trend across industries in recent years, and the 3PL industry is no different. 3PL providers are increasingly shifting to digital processes and technologies such as digital freight matching and route optimization software to streamline operations.

5. Cloud Computing: Cloud computing is transforming the logistics industry by providing 3PL providers with access to powerful analytics and data storage capabilities. By leveraging cloud technology, 3PL providers are able to better manage data and optimize their services.

6. Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI has become increasingly commonplace in the 3PL industry, with applications such as AI-driven route optimization and predictive shipment forecasting helping companies to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

These are just some of the trends that are shaping the third-party logistics market in 2022 and beyond. As the industry continues to evolve, businesses should stay informed about the latest developments to ensure that they are leveraging the best 3PL services available.

Roadways to Bring in over 44% Revenue of the Global Third-Party Logistics Market

The report states that the transportation and warehousing industry will benefit from more efficient management of its operations. This will be driven by increasing demand for dedicated contract carriage services and airways mode of transport.

The report also highlights that the global market will see a CAGR of 8.2% during the forecast period. This growth is attributed to the growth in global e-commerce, the expansion of cross-border trade activities, and the increased focus on supply chain optimization. Roadways are expected to account for the largest share of the global third-party logistics market due to their long-term sustainability, cost effectiveness, and reliability.

Furthermore, the A&A Top 50 Global Third-Party Logistics Providers (3PLs) list shows that roadways are playing an increasingly important role in the 3PL industry. They are helping businesses reduce costs, improve efficiency, and better manage their supply chains. Companies such as DHL, Kuehne + Nagel, and XPO Logistics are leading the way in the adoption of roadways for 3PL services.

It is evident that roadways are playing a crucial role in the global third-party logistics market. Companies are increasingly turning to them to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and better manage their supply chains. With the use of dedicated contract carriage services and airways mode of transport, the roadways segment is expected to account for over 44% of the total revenue by 2031.

Domestic Transportation Management to Captur Over 36% Revenue Share in Global Third-Party Logistics Market

The market is mainly driven by factors such as the rising demand for efficient transportation solutions, increasing need for cost-effective logistics services and improved customer service. As per the report, domestic transportation management is expected to capture over 36% of the global third-party logistics revenue share in the coming years.

Domestic transportation management involves the coordination of various activities related to the movement of goods within a country’s borders. This includes planning, scheduling, tracking, and monitoring shipments from the point of origin to the destination. It also involves managing other logistics processes such as warehousing, inventory management, and order fulfillment. In addition, domestic transportation management enables organizations to improve their supply chain efficiency and reduce costs associated with transportation and logistics.

The increasing adoption of digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT), has enabled organizations in the global third-party logistics market to automate their domestic transportation management functions. This has enabled them to optimize their operations and improve customer service. Additionally, the growing demand for cost- Effective solutions, improved customer service and better visibility into transportation operations are driving the demand for domestic transportation management services.

Furthermore, the emergence of autonomous vehicles and drones has made it possible to transport goods more efficiently, which has also increased the adoption of domestic transportation management services. This, coupled with government initiatives to improve the transportation infrastructure across various countries, is expected to drive the growth of the global third-party logistics market during the forecast period.

Global Third-Party Logistics Market is Highly Competitive: Top 5 Players Holds Less than 23% Market Share

The global third-party logistics (3PL) market is highly competitive, with a large number of players operating in the market. The competition in the market is primarily driven by factors such as price, quality of service, innovation, and customer service. Key players in the market are continuously striving to enhance their market position by implementing various strategies, such as expanding their global presence, entering into strategic partnerships, and investing in research and development activities.

Some of the leading players in the global third-party logistics market include DHL International GmbH, Kuehne+Nagel Inc., DB Schenker, Nippon Express, and FedEx Corporation. These companies have a strong brand image and have established a broad customer base, which provides them with a competitive advantage in the market. In 2022, top five players held over 22% market share.

In addition to established players, the market also has a significant number of regional and local players that operate in specific regions or countries. These players have a strong regional presence and are well-positioned to cater to the needs of local customers.

Overall, the global third-party logistics market is characterized by intense competition, with players constantly vying for market share and seeking to establish themselves as the leading player in the market. In this highly competitive environment, companies are continually seeking new and innovative ways to improve their offerings and better meet the evolving needs of customers.

Prominent Players in Global Third-Party Logistics Market:

  • DHL INTERNATIONAL GmbH (DEUTSCHE POST DHL GROUP)
  • KUEHNE+NAGEL INC.
  • DB SCHENKER (DB GROUP)
  • NIPPON EXPRESS
  • C.H. ROBINSON WORLDWIDE, INC.
  • UNION PACIFIC CORPORATION
  • FEDEX CORPORATION
  • UNITED PARCEL SERVICE (UPS)
  • PANALPINA WORLD TRANSPORT LTD.
  • MAERSK
  • Other Prominent Players
locus last-mile delivery locus report

Big and Bulky Last-Mile Delivery in the United States Continues to be a High-Growth 3PL Segment

Armstrong & Associates, Inc. (A&A), an internationally recognized leader for third-party logistics market information and consulting, releases its latest market research report “Making it Count: Big and Bulky Last-Mile Delivery in the United States”. The National Home Delivery Association (NHDA) and A&A partnered for this study covering the Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Big and Bulky U.S. Last-Mile Delivery Market segment to identify current market size, historical growth and outlook, key providers, customers and verticals served, e-commerce’s role, employment, and other trends. This report details and compares the use of independent contractors versus employee drivers, customer and revenue trends by vertical industry, and the growing use of freight brokerage to source last-mile carrier capacity.

The 3PLs analyzed had last-mile delivery revenues from $7 million to $1 billion and represent approximately 40% of the estimated $9.3 billion U.S. Third-Party Logistics Big and Bulky Last-Mile Delivery Market. A&A estimates the U.S. 3PL Big and Bulky Last-Mile Delivery Market experienced a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.2% from 2017 through 2021 and will have a CAGR of 11.8% from 2022 through 2025. These projections make Big and Bulky Last-Mile Delivery one of the fastest-growing 3PL segments over the next three years.

In this report, last-mile delivery is defined as the transportation of big and bulky shipments (not parcels) from an origin to a destination within the United States where they will be used or consumed. These can be business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) shipments. Typically, last-mile e-commerce orders are shipped as small packages and transported by parcel carriers. However, with expanding e-commerce product categories such as furniture and appliances, other last-mile options are growing in significance. Third-party logistics providers with fleets of independent contractors and freight brokerage operations deliver many last-mile orders. In addition, Less-than-Truckload (LTL), Last-Mile, Household Goods, and Truckload (TL) carriers are expanding last-mile services for big and bulky items to accommodate the rapid growth in e-commerce retail sales.

The final transportation leg for an e-commerce order—the last mile—may be short, but it can also be extremely costly. Transportation costs for a shipment from a distribution center or fulfillment center to a customer’s doorstep can account for 30%–40% of the total cost of transportation. Last-mile provider revenue per shipment is low by traditional LTL standards and averages less than $90 per shipment. Total shipment revenue varies depending upon the value-added services performed at the time of delivery. A whole bedroom delivery and setup can generate $250 while a less service-intensive shipment may only generate $50.

For more information on this report, “Making it Count: Big and Bulky Last-Mile Delivery in the United States” and other market research, please visit:

ABOUT ARMSTRONG & ASSOCIATES, INC.

Armstrong & Associates, Inc. (A&A) was established in 1980 to meet the needs of a newly deregulated domestic transportation market. Since then, through its leading Third-Party Logistics (3PL) market research and history of helping companies outsource logistics functions, A&A has become an internationally recognized key resource for 3PL market information and consulting.

A&A’s mission is to have leading proprietary supply chain knowledge and market research not available anywhere else. As proof of our continued work in supporting our mission, A&A’s 3PL market research is frequently cited in media articles, publications, and securities filings by publicly traded 3PLs. In addition, A&A’s email newsletter currently has over 88,000 subscribers globally.

A&A’s market research complements its consulting activities by providing continually updated data for analysis. Based upon its unsurpassed knowledge of the 3PL market and the operations of leading 3PLs, A&A has provided strategic planning consulting services to over 40 3PLs, supported 24 closed investment transactions, and provided advice to numerous companies looking to benchmark existing 3PL operations or outsource logistics functions.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL HOME DELIVERY ASSOCIATION (NHDA)

In 2013 ten of the leading home delivery companies specializing in the “white glove” delivery of appliances, furniture and large electronics to homes came together to address common interests. These ten firms founded the National Home Delivery Association with a shared commitment to enhancing the industry through training, setting standards for customer service and enhancing the profile of this vital segment of America’s retail economy. The NHDA has grown to over 70 member companies representing the leading companies in this segment of the logistics industry. Collectively, NHDA members account for over 70% of residential “bulky goods” deliveries and setups, utilizing thousands of delivery teams and logistics professionals across the country.

The National Home Delivery Association (NHDA) is committed to advancing the interests of individuals, companies, and organizations that deliver furniture, appliances, and electronics to the home by promoting the highest standards of professionalism and customer service. It can be found online at:

https://www.nationalhomedeliveryassociation.com.

3PL kale Logistics data analytics can provide an invaluable competitive edge to third-party logistics (3PL) providers. 3PLs face a rapidly changing market.

What 3PL’s Need To Gain a Competitive Advantage

The third-party logistics (3PL) industry has been the ongoing answer to the never-ending supply chain crunch. Constant volatility between labor shortages, pricey shipping costs, and global tensions impacting shipping capacities has led experts to believe the problems will persist through the holiday season

Shippers continue to have high expectations of their 3PLs, but performance isn’t meeting the mark. The 2023 Third-Party Logistics Study found a 7% decline in shippers’ satisfaction with their 3PL relationships. Shippers want to know their partners can monitor shipments easily, communicate frequently with brokers and carriers, and ensure compliance is met. This is increasingly difficult for 3PLs to manage, considering 90% of them increased their customer base in the last year, according to Inbound Logistics.

Visibility can help 3PLs meet and exceed shipper expectations. Technology can give 3PLs insight by tying together data, tracking shipments (and reducing lost or stolen cargo in the process), improving communication with shippers, and upholding all shipping requirements. It allows a 3PL to get ahead of any issues and become a trusted source over the competition. 

Let’s take a deeper look at how a visibility platform gives you a competitive advantage and makes you a more attractive option for shippers. 

Improve company efficiency 

When you invest in a software platform to improve shipment visibility, it will also help your employees be more efficient in their work. That improved efficiency can scale your business.

For example, a visibility platform can bring all of your pertinent data from a number of sources, whether it’s fleet data or other device information, into a single system. According to the 2023 Third-Party Logistics Study, 75% of shippers say that technology solutions are playing a greater role in their 3PL selection process. Tapping into a detailed technology platform frees up the time spent monitoring multiple data feeds and gives shippers a level of transparency that can unlock new business for you. 

With every hour saved by the platform’s efficiency, employees have the time to focus on other strategic work that can optimize company processes. Having the hours to improve work cycles and refine costs will increase the quality of your business, giving you an easy advantage over other 3PLs. 

Ensure compliance is maintained 

Adding visibility not only protects your business, but the shippers, too.

This becomes especially important when you’re working with sensitive cargo, as these shipments come with a list of added requirements. For example, the Food and Drug Administration has a number of compliance rules that must be met when transporting certain pharmaceuticals. Whether the shipments you’re running are medicine, cosmetics, or perishable foods, rules are in place to ensure the product arrives safely and in usable condition. But how are you supposed to manage what you can’t even see?

Visibility allows your company to closely manage carriers and help them ensure they’re meeting specifications by improving communication top-down. It also protects both you and your clients from any liability issues, because you have visibility into a shipment’s status, location, temperature, and other pertinent data. You’ll have any evidence you might need, right at your fingertips, to prove you’ve met all compliance requirements and upheld the standard of care your customers are asking for. Real-time data allows you to address any issues immediately. 

Mitigate carrier schemes 

Double brokering and double loading are well-known, disruptive issues to the freight industry. Visibility into your shipments helps you fight it off. 

Double brokering can create communication and compliance issues when a shipment is passed from one broker to another. Same goes for double loading — when a carrier tries to maximize revenue and efficiency by combining shipments, it leaves shippers stuck with unwanted, unknown liability. Both are major security issues that put your company’s integrity at risk . 

By investing in a visibility platform, you are able to monitor carrier compliance and offer shippers a new level of accountability for their cargo. You can see exactly where a shipment is and recognize when a double load is happening, immediately, to quickly fix the issue. 

Advantage over malicious actors 

Cargo thieves are plotting their heist of vulnerable packages this holiday season. According to CargoNet’s report from last year’s holiday trends, 185 thefts resulted in more than $9 million lost between Dec. 23, 2021 and Jan. 2, 2022. 

Improving your shipping visibility can mitigate potential losses throughout the holidays and keeps your shippers up-to-date. Technology can give you detailed data, define standard operating procedures, and alert you the moment any procedure goes wrong.

Those to-the-minute alerts allow you to take immediate action to quickly find potentially lost and stolen shipments. Visibility will set you apart from competitors when it comes to dealing with malicious actors because you’ll have a comprehensive view into every shipment made by your company and every action made by the carrier. 

Since the onset of the pandemic, 3PLs have been the key to managing supply chain issues, and even though challenges are changing, 3PLs can still play a huge role. Especially if they invest in visibility. It gives them the tools to exceed shipper expectations by offering several improved capabilities, which in turns wins over new customers. 

As supply chains evolve, 3PLs can offer a window into the process of moving shipments so all stakeholders benefit and some of the constraints can be eased.

3PL

3PL Back To Basics: How to Stay Ahead of Competitors Without Sacrificing your Bottom Line 

In today’s competitive logistics and supply chain space, 3PLs must focus on staying ahead of the competition while minimizing costs. Building the fanciest mouse trap is okay only if customers are willing to pay the price. Cost conscious 3PLs utilize these fundamental strategies to stay ahead of their peers.

Retain Your Associates

Employee turnover increases costs, harming the bottom line. Recruiting and training new associates are also expensive. It is less expensive to increase existing associate pay and benefits than to recruit, hire and train a new associate. 

Additionally, there is the financial and organizational risk of the new associate not working out.

Invest in Your People

Hire quality people. Provide training and timely performance feedback. Training does not need to be outsourced at an additional cost. Instead, use direct management resources to reduce training costs. Involve your associates in developing the training to better understand where their gaps in knowledge exist.

Structure Task Assignment

Use experienced employees to perform put-away tasks. They know the product and stocking locations. This helps keep productivity high and shrinkage low. New employees should start on outbound-order fulfillment to learn the products and procedures. Outbound is also easier for supervisors to monitor and audit during the pack-out stage.

Listen to Customers

Industry experts may claim the latest trend is essential for 3PLs and “now is the time to invest in the future.” Has any customer or prospect asked about this trend? What was their response when you asked them about the trend? If customers do not see value and are not willing to pay for the service, a 3PL would be foolish to subsidize the cost.

Provide Business Intelligence to Customers

A 3PL’s systems contain important data for clients. A good 3PL helps transform data into actionable information clients can utilize to transform their business. BI&A tools don’t need to be expensive. Research what is best for your organization and clients. Many clients expect BI&A tools as table stakes these days, but there is no reason to overspend on the solution.

Listen to Associates for Continuous Improvement

Associates working the frontline have valuable insights on what works and what does not. Use daily standup meetings combined with regularly scheduled continuous improvement workshops to glean valuable insights from those performing the work. Continuous improvement drives waste from operations to improve the bottom line.

Inventory Control

A structured cycle count program that addresses discrepancies when they are discovered improves inventory accuracy. Improved accuracy in turn reduces claims paid out to clients. Prevent claims improve the bottom line.

Measure and Manage Fulfillment KPIs

Focusing on increasing outbound orders is wasted if the orders picked are inaccurate. Fulfillment accuracy must be monitored otherwise claims costs eat into the bottom line. 

Network with Peers

Industry trade groups are a good way to stay abreast of what peers and competitors are doing. Engaging peers and competitors will likely provide a wealth of information.

Offer Service Customization

Many 3PLs will argue customization increases cost and therefore should be avoided. It does increase cost. Be flexible with clients, customize solutions and charge accordingly. Ensuring the charges are fair and correct prevents the 3PL from sacrificing the bottom line.

The best way for 3PLs to stay ahead of competitors without sacrificing the bottom line is to focus on the fundamentals. Let your competitors become distracted and lose focus on the basics. Successful organizations focus on the details day in and day out. Failure to focus on the fundamentals results in expensive lessons.

Author’s Bio

Adam Zaranski, director of Sales & Marketing at Boxzooka Fulfillment & Global Ecommerce, has more than 25 years sales and operations management experience in e-commerce fulfillment, logistics and supply chain. Prior to arriving at Boxzooka, he held various sales and operations management roles at such companies as Ryder Supply Chain Solutions, Kane Logistics, Airborne Express, Select Express & Logistics Unilever HPC and The Home Depot. He holds a B.S. in Logistics & Transportation from the University of Maryland and an M.B.A. from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

logistics

COLD HARD FACTS: The Future of Health Systems is Third-Party Logistics

As the complexity of health systems increases, the complexity of the logistics in their day-to-day operations increases as well. Imagine you could pick up a modern hospital, turn it upside down, and shake it. Everything that would fall out—saline bags, PPE, medications, MRI machines—must be shipped from somewhere. Many of those items would be recurring orders that need to arrive on a tight schedule, or else the medical care the hospital offers its patients could suffer.

Who is tracking those shipments? Who is watching for disruptions in the supply chain that might affect the delivery schedule? Who is coordinating with the hundreds of vendors necessary to supply the facility? Given the importance and dizzying volume of this task, it’s no surprise that many health systems turn to third-party logistics partners for help. This approach has several benefits.

Reduced Costs

While one might assume that a third-party healthcare logistics partnership is more expensive than the alternatives, I would argue this is not true. Often, the upfront price of a good third-party logistics team will be more than offset in the long term, as the team identifies and corrects inefficiencies embedded in their partner’s shipping practices. Increases in efficiency lead to reduced costs from hindrances like lost shipments, delays, redundant ordering, and suboptimal choices in courier and vendor services. Moreover, a third-party solution frees up time, energy, and resources for healthcare workers whose jobs demand their full attention.

Actionable intelligence reporting is worth its weight in gold, and it’s hard to acquire about yourself by yourself. Health systems can’t be expected to do thorough meta-analyses of their supply chain practices, and then correct problems they find, on top of managing their actual shipments—they’re just trying to get supplies in the door on time! An outside perspective can be the answer, as logistics experts know where to look for sticking points, what solutions to implement, and how to communicate those changes to their partners for lasting change. That in turn can have a big impact on a company’s bottom line, not just one time but forever.

Shorter Delivery Times

When you contract with third-party logistics specialists, you gain many advantages at once: their knowledge of industry vendors, their network of couriers, their resourcefulness in the face of unexpected obstacles, their optimization technologies. All these things add up to shorter delivery times. 

One vendor is out of stock? 

Your logistics partner has a backup on standby. 

A shipment is delayed by weather? 

Your partner might find a way around the problem by tapping courier relationships. 

In healthcare, where time is often in short supply, the capabilities a third party can offer may be the difference between things running smoothly or grinding to a halt. 

A trend we have seen at TRIOSE lately is a move toward same-day delivery, particularly for prescriptions from hospital pharmacies to patients’ homes. This helps simplify the healthcare process for consumers. However, it also creates greater demand for reliable courier networks, making it more important than ever to evaluate courier KPIs and processes to ensure you find the service you want. Here too, a third-party logistics partner can be a valuable asset, since they know the courier landscape and can help you measure performance. 

Improved Customer Experience

Lost, mishandled, misdelivered, or delayed shipments all translate to a bad customer experience. Now, for example, many couriers operate on the honor system, meaning there is no real-time tracking of packages available, and no reporting as a package moves through the chain of custody. Inevitably, this results in packages being stored improperly, lost, or winding up at the wrong place, which frustrates health systems and patients alike. One way TRIOSE has prepared for the rise in courier deliveries is by launching tools that give better visibility to courier shipments in transit. That means problems with fewer packages, and less stress for healthcare providers and consumers. That kind of innovation would be hard to develop in-house.

An example of this is our CourieriQ, which provides proactive notification and real time shipment tracking, allowing you to get a full picture of your courier network, track your courier’s KPIs, avoid costly issues before they happen, and set the foundation for a courier network that grows as you do.

By relying on third-party logistics from a company with a wide range of shipping expertise—from pharmacy mail-order to traditional freight management—healthcare companies put themselves in a good position to meet the demands of their industry. But if their logistics partner goes beyond providing expertise to also provide white-glove account management, that’s when the value of these partnerships really stands out. 

And ask yourself: With people’s lives on the line, should you expect anything less?

Author’s Bio

Armond Green serves as Enterprise Account Executive at TRIOSE Inc., where he secures high-value accounts through consultative selling, effective customer solutions and promoting compelling business opportunities. In his tenure at TRIOSE Inc., Green has proven to be an accomplished and creative leader adept at forging lucrative relationships with key partners and is a trusted advisor to pharmacy and supply chain leaders. Notable accomplishments include winning the Sales Metrix Award his first year in the industry and recently being awarded the 2021 TRIOSE Sales Champion Award for outstanding commitment to sales. For more information about Armond or TRIOSE logistics solutions, visit triose.com.