Shippers and third-party logistics providers are better utilizing technology to improve the overall supply chain, but many believe there is much room for improvement, according to a new report.
The “2020 Third-Party Logistics Study” found 93% of shippers believe their relationships with 3PLs generally have been successful. An even higher number of 3PLs agree: 99%.
The study, released during the recent Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) EDGE conference in California, found more shippers are turning to 3PLs because they tend to have an advanced technology infrastructure.
“Shippers are increasingly aware that if they do not have the technological capabilities to accomplish their goals, they should partner with those that do,” the report said.
About 95% of shippers and 99% of 3PLs said they agree that analytics are a necessary element of 3PL expertise. However, only 26% of shippers and 27% of 3PLs said they were satisfied with current analytic capabilities.
The report said electronic logging devices (ELDs) can help bridge that gap.
“The information [from ELDs] creates transparency and enables those within the supply chain to see the same thing at the same time,” the report said. “The data can also be used to drive collaboration as shippers and their transportation and logistics providers work to identify inefficiencies, minimize idle time and keep shipments moving. The recorded information provides factual examples of inefficiencies, which can drive deeper conversations than those based on observations.”
These partnerships are also seen as further “greening” the supply chain. Sustainability efforts continue to grow in importance, the report found, due to regulatory requirements, public perception and cost savings.
“Those within the supply chain are becoming more sophisticated in how they demonstrate and document their carbon emissions, miles per gallon, data and efficiency metrics,” the report said. The study was created and supported by Infosys Consulting, Penn State University and Penske Logistics.
A separate research study of supply chain professionals from BluJay Solutions found that a majority believe customer experience will overtake price and product as the top brand differentiator in the next five years.
The study also found rising demand for real-time visibility and greater reliance on electronic connectivity among trading partners as ways to enhance the customer experience.
Respondents also said that data quality is an that needs improvement across the supply chain.
“One of the important concepts revealed by the research is that successful companies show by their priorities that they focus on the end result first – in this case, the customer experience,” said David Landau, chief product officer of BluJay Solutions.
BlueJay is a provider of supply chain software and services. The study was conducted by Adelante SCM, in partnership with CSCMP.