The competition among 3PLs nowadays is such that if you do not surpass the customer expectation, you will find yourself out of the game. In our modern technology-driven world, customers expect adaptable and advanced solution offerings from 3PLs.
So, it is imperative that you make use of every latest technology available in the market to stay ahead of the game. Becoming a technology-driven 3PL will ensure you win new contracts, as well as strengthen the relationship with your customer/client.
Following are some of the new technologies that have the potential to make your 3PL operations more efficient.
3D printing will help your 3PL to shorten the supply chain. This technology enables anyone to create products or parts of products using plastic, mixed materials, metals, and even human tissue. It will enable manufacturers to manufacture or print (as the manufacturing process is technically called) on demand.
This means the manufacturers will no longer have to store a large number of finished products in the warehouse. As and when the customer demands the product, they can just print it out. This, in effect, will help to shorten the supply chain.
In the future, 3PLs will have the option to deliver the raw materials to make the product instead of the finished product. The customers can then print out the finished product. As an additional source of revenue, the 3PLs may offer 3D printing service at the point of delivery. If the customer does not have the 3D printing facility, they may avail the 3D printing service of the 3PL.
IoT (Internet of Things)
IoT will help to increase the transit visibility. With the application of IoT, along with cloud-based GPS, you will be able to keep track of all the items in transit, and their condition. Each of the items will be tagged with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips.
These chips will transmit information like location, identification, pressure, humidity, and temperature. This also means the goods will no longer go missing or lost while in transit, since each of it will transmit its location.
The central office of the 3PL getting information like temperature and humidity means you will be able to take necessary actions in case of adverse weather conditions. The chips will also have the capability to transmit traffic conditions and data specific to the way the drivers drive the delivery vehicles. Getting information like the driving patterns and the average speed will help you to improve the delivery process.
A drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle. It can be controlled either remotely or you can program a flight path for it to fly. Drones are small and light. They can go to remote locations where other modes of transports would not be able to go. They are inexpensive to operate. The 3PL companies will be able to use drones to deliver small packages and goods to customers.
As of now, most of the countries have strict rules about using drones for commercial purposes. However, in the future, these rules will be relaxed, because of the practicality of using drones for various tasks.
Companies like Amazon and Domino's Pizza are already exploring various ways to deliver goods to the customers using drones. As far as 3PLs are concerned, drones will help to significantly reduce the transportation costs, and will help to shorten the supply chain. Drones will provide for a speedy delivery as well.
Driverless vehicles are ideal for delivering products to customers. The potential of driverless vehicles for the logistics and supply chain management is immense. However, this is one technology that may not be available for commercial purposes in the near future. Trials are going on, but to implement it successfully in the real world will take time.
One of the big transportation costs is the salary of the drivers. Take that out from the equation, and the 3PLs will be able to save a lot. The chances of a driverless vehicle getting into an accident is almost nil, mainly because of the fact that it will be programmed to perfection.
A machine, unlike a human driver, will not get drunk, become angry, take risks, doze off or race with other cars, all of which could potentially lead to an accident. Driverless vehicles also mean you will not have to worry about trucker shortages and burn outs.
Augmented Reality (AR)
AR provides you with an enhanced view of the world around you in real time. It is a live feed of a real, physical-world environment, indirect or direct, whose components or elements are projected/augmented by sensory input generated by computer, like video, sound, GPS data or graphics.
AR makes you more aware of your environment. 3PL employees, in the future, with the help of wearable devices, will be able to obtain important information about the freight they are handling. The information may include destination, weight, and the freight contents.
This will definitely help to improve the handling of the products/goods, speed up the delivery process, and reduce the overall expenses. AR will help the employees to provide the customers with accurate and updated information regarding their goods. This will help to improve the customer relationship as well.
If you look back, technology has always been the driving force behind logistics. From the railway to the computers and the Internet, all of them have helped the logistics industry to reach where it is today. Embracing the latest technology available in the market today is the only way for 3PLs to make it successful in the industry.
One of the key factors for any business to be successful in today's world is customer satisfaction. Satisfy your customer, exceed their expectations, and you will get more business. It is as simple as that. However, it is not easy to satisfy a customer. For that, you need all the help available in the market today. In this modern world, the only way to ensure 100% customer satisfaction is with the help of the latest technologies.
Using Current Technological Innovation
Future technologies for 3PL will drive innovation in this industry, but current technologies can increase efficiency at exponential rates. 3PL's looking to use technology to their benefit can start by vastly improving efficiency and speed by adopting Newcastle mobile powered workstations. Newcastle technology has the added benefit of proving its ROI within months, calculate your in our ROI calculator now.