Competition within the logistics industry is ramping up due to tightened capacity along with increased consolidation within supply chain arena that has resulted in fewer partners for 3PLs and increased prices.
The changing landscape is altering how 3PLs and shippers work together. The majority of respondents—44%—have enhanced relationships to guarantee shipping lanes and on-time shipments, 40% have increased rates, and 29% said assets have not been available to move shipments when needed. Similarly, 29% have engaged with a larger number of 3PLs to get access to gain capacity.
3PLs are working to differentiate themselves by providing sustained value, innovative solutions and information to facilitate data-driven decisions. Information sharing between 3PLs and shippers is increasing, and shippers are more willing to make adjustments to improve carriers’ efficiency and possibly obtain a better rate.
Logistics providers are driving innovation in a number of areas, particularly within the last mile. A successful last-mile fulfillment process utilizes route optimization, incentivized scheduling, and real-time electronic tracking and communication. Globally, companies are turning to crowd-sourcing solutions, on-demand deliveries and value-added delivery services.
Technology is improving operations within the supply chain—60% of respondents are using technology to increase visibility within orders, shipments and inventory; 40% are using it for planning within transportation management and 48% are using it for scheduling within transportation management. 3PLs are also utilizing technology to choose the most profitable and efficient shipping lanes and modes.
To meet increasing customer requirements, 58% of respondents said they are investing in new capabilities for themselves, 40% said they are leveraging new capabilities from other companies in different industries, and 15% said they are leveraging new capabilities from competitors.