Supply chains used to be about physical assets and infrastructure to move boxes. Now supply chains are all about information flows, moving data and capturing intelligence. Technology serves as a key differentiator in today's market, especially among 3PLs that leverage technology as a medium to increase revenue and elevate business growth. Today, technology is just as important as people.
For over twenty years, the Annual Third-Party Logistics Study has tracked and monitored this trend via the IT Gap. The IT Gap is calculated based on the difference between (1) shippers' opinion as to whether information technology solutions are a necessary element of a 3PL's offerings and expertise, and (2) whether shippers have been satisfied with the IT capabilities provided by 3PLs.
This year, 94% of shippers viewed information technology solutions as a necessary element of 3PL expertise, while just 54% said they were satisfied with 3PL IT capabilities. These numbers were very much in line with previous years, suggesting that the IT Gap may be stuck. However, these similarities are more likely due to shippers' expectations consistently increasing and evolving as new solutions emerge and the supply chain transitions into digital.
In fact, both shippers and 3PLs reported changing expectations regarding technology solutions. Over half-53%-of shippers and 64% of 3PLs said that expectations had increased more than prior years. Similarly, 75% of shippers and 77% of 3PLs either agreed or strongly agreed that technology solutions are playing a greater role in their shipper/3PL partnership evaluations and selection process.