If you’ve been around third-party logistics long enough, whether as a 3PL provider or a shipper, you know that change is a constant.
But to say that there were some changes in the past decade would be a gross understatement. We’ve chosen to call the massive shifts the industry experienced in the 2010’s “transformations”, but you wouldn’t be wrong in calling them “revolutions” in the way third party logistics are provided and consumed.
Three 3PL Transformations of the 2010s
Without further ado, here are the major shifts that happened in the past decade that we believe revolutionized third-party logistics forever for everyone.
- TMS, IMS & WMS – We’re using the acronyms here to drive home the point that most of us didn’t know what they meant, or even that they existed, 10 years ago. But transportation, warehousing and inventory management systems are just the standard-bearers for the digital revolution that swept the business. And this isn’t just about going digital, but about the visibility all of these systems gave us into the details of what we do, and the speed at which we can react to what we see. We can now pinpoint the location of a vehicle in real-time, know precisely when to order inventory, and find the best place for it in the warehouse.
- Climate Change – Yes, climate change. Whether you believe it’s manmade or not, there’s no denying the increase in catastrophic weather events over the past 10 years. Its effect on shippers, on-time delivery and the demands for transportation options to get around it, like intermodal delivery routes and cross-docking, is probably immeasurable.
- E-commerce – This is another one that sounds simple. But it isn’t just online shopping instead of bricks and mortar shopping. The effect of e-commerce shopping is monumental. The e-commerce revolution not only introduced same-day free shipping (which was inconceivable for most of us in 2010), but has created traffic chaos and pollution on city streets, putting further demands on 3PLs that no one could have anticipated 10 years ago.
If you want to read more about how third-party logistics can help your business, check out our post “When A Third-party Logistics Provider Will Come To Your Rescue”.