3PLStudy has released their 26th Annual Third Party Logistics (3PL) Study analyzing the top trends of the industry in 2021, focusing on current trends, concerns and opportunities in the space — including the continued promising role of wearable technology like ours.
It's an extensive study, spanning nearly 100 pages, with the express goal to "investigate leading trends and uncover how shippers and 3PLs can collaborate to improve service and drive value."
Here are three takeaways that stood out to us:
1. Warehouse turnover rate is a growing concern. This is a trend that we’ve highlighted before, but that's absolutely worth reiterating. COVID-19 and the resulting demand have increased pressure on 3PL providers (as well as every industry), so warehouse turnover rate has become a keen concern. Poor employee turnover rates indicate poor accuracy rates, declining productivity, high stress levels and high costs; warehouse turnover rate is now a key vetting question for clients choosing 3PL providers. In general, high retention rates mean higher performance operation, so optimizing this aspect of an operation is essential.
2. The impact of COVID is still relevant. This year was undoubtedly influenced by COVID-19, but as we look forward, the safety hazard and worker retention threat that infectious diseases pose is still top of mind. Outbreaks halt productivity and threaten the livelihood of employees, but shippers are increasingly reliant on 3PLs to help them achieve their supply chain goals, and are not afraid to challenge them to step up and deliver when they need results. Mitigating the threat of an outbreak is key. Technology like ours plays a huge role in this, as it allows businesses to maximize productivity by minimizing potential spread in the workplace.
3. There is a rising interest in technology. “Shippers’ survey responses pointed to a sharply rising interest in robotics and data analytics and, overall, a desire for 3PLs to leverage technology to drive value.” Combating the concerns listed above is a challenging proposition, but the demand of the industry requires it. Thus, 3PLs need every possible advantage to stay competitive. 3PLs reported that their top future investment areas are all centered around technology, indicating a lot about how these providers are adjusting for what’s ahead. Number three on this list? Wearables.
This year's 3PL study is more important than ever, as it represents trends following a rapid and massive shift in how we conduct business everywhere, across industries and channels that are facing a burden of demand they've never seen before.
As stated above, the results from this study not only dictate where the industry is going, but how companies like StrongArm can work to drive productivity and efficiency forward.