According to the 2016 Third-Party Logistics Study, 98% of customers believe that the continued success of their global supply chains depends upon managing data and being able to make informed decisions but only 55% believe that their 3PL had the technological capabilities needed to meet their objectives. 3PLs need technology to be competitive, win new business and to retain existing clients. Essential IT technology tools for third party logistics providers include warehouse management software (WMS), transportation management systems (TMS), visibility solutions, business intelligence including reporting and dashboards; electronic data interchange (EDI); and enterprise mobility such as mobile computing devices, RF or RFID. The third party logistics industry is growing steadily. 3PLs that use technology are better able to deliver cost savings, operational efficiency and workforce productivity. 3PLs that use leading edge technology are better able to collaborate with their customers and others and are better able to foster improved communication. Some 3PLs are hampered by fear, business uncertainty and a lack of IT infrastructure and expertise. These types of issues can limit or eliminate the 3PL’s investment in leading edge IT technology and can have a negative impact on their operation and ability to remain competitive in the crowded 3PL market. Results of the 2016 Third-Party Logistics Study indicate that 58% of the 3PLs that were surveyed plan to invest in new technology for their operations. More third party logistics companies plan to replace legacy systems and processes and are seeking leading edge technology to improve their operations. Both shippers and 3PLs are adopting “transformative” supply chain software, mobile technologies and cloud-based systems to help make their operations more efficient, productive and successful. Using leading edge technology helps 3rd party logistics providers to become better strategic partners to their customers and helps to build longer term relationships now and for the future.

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