Data, analytics and intelligence are optimizing supply chain performance, and the amount of data flowing between shippers and 3PLs continues to grow. The most common data shared with external supply chain partners relates to transportation/logistics performance, inventory levels, supplier performance and order history.

Data sharing can have its challenges, with 57% of shippers and 32% of 3PLs citing issues with data quality as a top concern. Other challenges include integration and technology barriers, data standard issues and cost. However, both parties said they take several steps to protect data quality.

3PLs are focused on driving operational value out of supply chain data, and a greater percentage of 3PLs reported using dashboards, organizing and assessing real-time data, and collecting data compared to shippers.

Data can also help automate supply chain decision-making. Shippers derive value from automated supply chain planning, demand forecasting and inventory management. 3PLs cited the greatest value in route optimization, inventory management, and freight invoicing and billing.