Third-party logistics service providers (3PLs) may be fighting to maintain relevance in an increasingly commoditized business, but the game is by no means over. There are still opportunities for savvy 3PLs to differentiate themselves from their competitors, according to a recent report by the research and event management company eyefortransport (EFT). The publication, The 2015 3PL Selection and Contracting Report, is based on a survey of more than 400 logistics and supply chain executives, including both 3PLs and their customers.
What are some of those opportunities? One would be to develop services and expertise in emerging technologies such as augmented reality (think Google Glass), drone delivery, three-dimensional (3-D) printing, and driverless vehicles. In fact, demand already exists for these types of services, according to the study. Forty-two percent of shippers surveyed said they are looking for their 3PLs to have some expertise in driverless vehicles. They also want them to be knowledgeable about 3-D printing (33 percent), augmented reality (32 percent), and drone delivery (30 percent).
Despite the demand, the industry has yet to get fully on board with the concept. According to the survey, the bulk of 3PL respondents do not plan to provide these types of innovative services. However, roughly a quarter of respondents were doing some work with these technologies, and at least a few of them are already providing services around the technologies (with the exception of augmented reality).
To download the full report, click here.