Is your 3PL Investing in New Technologies?

You’ll never guess what’s new in logistics. Actually, with today’s proliferation of new logistics technologies, you may never have to guess again.

3PLs have deployed a wide range of advanced transportation management systems and software to streamline how they capture and share information internally and externally, so they can make more accurate predictions and improve service. Customers can use the new technologies to monitor freight in real time and make proactive decisions that impact performance, relationships and ultimately, the bottom line.

A new generation of logistics professionals has entered the workforce, skewing younger and favoring smart, responsive technologies. They’re accustomed to having immediate access to scores of information via computers, smartphones, tablets and other devices. In addition, savvy industry veterans want to showcase their skills in new ways.

As a result, 3PLs, technology firms and consultants are working continuously to develop and deliver new, hi-tech products and software that enable shippers, carriers, suppliers and other stakeholders to move accurate information quickly, improve visibility, reduce costs and eliminate waste. We expect an abundance of new logistics automated platforms to be introduced in the coming years.

New technologies provide more transparency throughout the supply chain. Most fit seamlessly into existing networks and workflows. And, they can be accessed anywhere at any time to enhance everyday logistics and transportation tasks, including:

Tracking & Tracing: One late shipment can create a host of problems. Fortunately, with today’s technology, customers, carriers and logisticians can quickly check the exact location of any shipment in real time. This visibility allows them to make necessary adjustments before it’s too late. Plus, they can get status check-calls and alerts on their smartphone even while performing other tasks around the office, warehouse or loading docks.

Pricing: Forward-thinking 3PLs use a technology platform that compiles data from multiple technology sources, including freight brokerage operations management software, historical trend data, subscription-based platforms, load board databases and more. From there, they can offer fast, competitively priced spot quotes or long-term trend data for RFPs based on historical pricing, market volatility and other factors.

Predictive Analytics: Sometimes, the future can be shaped by events in the past. That’s why some 3PLs have invested in transportation technology that captures a wide range of metrics from market trendlines and other sources to use in customizable reports that are analyzed to predict balance in supply and demand, more accurate pricing, optimized routes, available capacity and other trends.

Carrier Scorecards: It’s critical to know which carriers to use — and avoid. 3PLs use software to monitor and score carriers on a wide range of metrics, including on-time pick-ups and delivery, service levels, tracking capabilities and more. Results are updated automatically, so shippers have up-to the-minute results.

Digital Freight Matching: Carriers can quickly search and accept lanes that accommodate their resources, budgets and availability with freight matching software for every shipment, including dry van, flatbed, refrigeration, less-than-truckload and drayage. As a result, end customers may receive more favorable pricing and timelier delivery from carriers best equipped to manage the shipment.

Mobile, consolidated convenience

We use our smartphones to communicate, shop, watch video and much more. The next phase of 3PL technology will be to enhance mobile app services to manage the supply chain from the convenience of handheld devices.

Orders can be processed and freight delivered seamlessly with the best pricing. It’ll be entirely automated for optimal convenience. Don’t worry, when there is a problem, customers will still be able to connect with 3PLs — only they’ll have the technological tools for faster, more knowledgeable resolutions.

When searching for a 3PL partner, look for one that’s investing in new technologies. It’s a sure sign that they’re equally invested in providing a better shipping and freight delivery customer experience.

 

Collins White, President of Logistics, AMX Logistics