Logistics has been around for a long time, but it has never evolved quite so much in such a short span of time as it has in the past two decades. If you had any doubt about how different things can be after just 20 years, think about 1996: that was the year the first DVD hit the market, the top social medium was AOL, Mad Cow disease was working its way through Europe, and Microsoft’s Windows NT 4.0 was “the next big thing.”
The supply chains of today are highly complex entities, and the field is changing so rapidly that keen attention must be paid if you don’t want to get left behind. As omni-channel and e-commerce logistics continue to grow, shippers are being confronted with a host of new challenges. One way they can navigate these new challenges successfully is by partnering with third-party logistics (3PL) providers.
Some of the 3PL providers that have been in the business for the past 20 years recently shared their opinion on the evolution and future direction of the industry.
DSC Logistics was an asset-based public warehousing firm back in the early 1990s, and it had a very modest trucking fleet. DSC’s Ann Drake said that the industry saw little regulation at the time, with transportation and warehouse departments communicating very seldom.
According to Bob Bianco of Menlo Logistics, shippers felt that 3PLs were a good idea back then, but they weren’t sure if they could provide real value so they were hesitant to dive in. However, as 3PLs began to take on additional responsibilities, tings started to progress. It was investments in technology and talent that ultimately caused the industry to grow. The expansion of the Chinese economy also played a role, and as global markets keep opening up, more competition throughout the world among service providers can be expected.
Drake believes that the trend over the next few years will be toward continuous integration, and she welcomes the blurring of lines in this regard as 3PLs continue to evolve.
This blog post was based off an article from Inbound Logistics. View the original here.