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3PL Trends Surfacing for 2016

Categories: BCO/Shipper, Warehouse.

We’re halfway through the year and looking ahead to see what new trends are emerging in the 3PL space for 2016. The best 3PL providers will be on top of these developing areas, ensuring their service remains competitive.

Cloud-based WMS

New, agile WMS systems are using the cloud to make data available anytime and anywhere so you can have it at your fingertips when the time comes to make big decisions. Cloud-based solutions also offer greater opportunities for integration with the rest of your business software, keeping your team on the same page.

Moving away from on-premise systems also makes upgrading and integrating new technology much easier for small companies that don’t have access to massive IT departments to manage updates and changes.

Increased Automation

Amazon’s Kiva robots are just the tip of the automation iceberg–a new generation of low-staff, high efficiency warehouses are right around the corner. According to Janney Capital Markets these robots enable warehouse workers to pick items two or three times faster than before.

Clint Reiser, principal author of ARC Advisory Group market study, Warehouse Automation and Control Global Market Research Study, says “…research indicates that the warehouse automation market will see significant growth over the five-year forecast period.”

Third-party warehousing providers that want to remain cost-effective will have to consider what systems can be automated to streamline their service offerings even further.

Mobile Capabilities

3PL providers that offer clients access to real time data and inventory management systems via mobile devices empower logistics and supply chain executives to drive increased profit margins.

John Santagate, Research Manager at IDC Manufacturing Insights, believes that “through a mobile strategy, 3PL providers are further helping to drive efficiency in the manufacturing supply chain while at the same time better positioning themselves as value adding players.”

Big Data Integration

Embedded BI systems are on the rise throughout the business world, and third-party logistics is no exception. Last year 27% of 3PL providers were taking steps to integrate BI and Big Data into their strategies to remain competitive.

The advanced, in-depth analytics that these systems offer allow third-party logistics providers to maximize workflow efficiency and optimize operations, enabling them to pass that savings along to their clients.

Some providers of warehousing and fulfillment services with embedded BI systems can offer their clients direct access to the insights that are generated via the data they collect.

If you need a partner to help you strategically manage and successfully move your products out of the port and onto their final destination, be sure to download our latest eBook — Speeding Time-To-Shelf and Cutting Costsa must read for today’s Logistics Managers.