As third-party logistics (3PL) companies, it’s easy to stay in the familiar. Implementing new technology can feel like it will only be a costly investment of both time and resources. When resources are already short due to a labor shortage, the idea feels dismal at best.
But technology is a worthwhile investment to keep moving forward and continually heading in the right direction. In fact, there are a few pieces of technology that have rendered particularly enticing results for many who have already implemented them.
Here are the top pieces of technology and innovations that are shaping the future for third-party logistics companies, and what they mean for organizations when utilized:
1. GPS Tracking
Between delays, missed shipments, and lost time revenue, manufacturers, retailers and third-party logistics companies alike have felt the sting and frustration that has been the last three years. But accurate GPS tracking eliminates most of these frustrations by helping identify any shortcomings in the shipment process. This provides a never-before known view into exactly where shipments are and allows for extremely detailed measures to estimate delivery.
Although some freight bottlenecks are inevitable, with GPS tracking, shipments are traceable with a level of accuracy that allows third-party logistics companies to communicate with manufacturers and retailers if a delay is possible.
GPS tracking increases communication and transparency without extra lift from 3PL drivers and handlers, which makes it an easy implementation. Additionally, utilizing GPS can save money on fuel costs because it identifies the most efficient routes for drivers, meaning a win for both manufacturers’ delivery time and third-party logistics companies’ fuel budget.
Blockchain is yet another way to increase transparency and efficiency in the warehouse and beyond. It allows businesses to track goods in real-time and reduce the risk of theft with accurate asset tracking and identity management.
The electronic record-keeping, scanning, and monitoring of goods using blockchain also eliminates costs associated with paperwork and manual processing of data.
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3. Autonomous Vehicles
Similar to blockchain, eliminating manual, redundant processes is the main goal of autonomous vehicle use. This increases employee job satisfaction and saves the company hundreds of thousands of dollars annually by replacing or shifting job responsibilities.
Autonomous vehicles also decrease work accidents caused by human error with built in smart sensors and cameras. These can detect even what humans can’t and don’t get distracted or interrupted like humans can.
Another piece of technology eliminating human error and decreasing accidents is the use of drones in warehousing. Being able to scan thousands of pallets with nearly 100% accuracy and without a need for forklifts or ladders is a welcome advancement.
This allows third-party logistics companies to streamline their workforce and shift responsibilities where a manual presence is really needed.
5. AI for Data Analytics
A recent study released by MIT Sloan Management and the Boston Consulting Group reveals that 85% of organizations that implement AI obtained moderate to extensive value in it. The same can be said for third-party logistics companies.
Data is extremely important, but also time consuming. Allowing AI-driven tools to collate, manage, and read through the mountains of data collected by the drones or workforce at your facility can save time and improve employee satisfaction. In fact, that same study revealed that employees that utilize AI are 3.4 times more likely to be more satisfied with their job versus others.
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Are you ready to work with a third-party logistics company that keeps technology and innovation at the forefront of their services? Submit this form to the American Chain of Warehouses to connect you with the right 3PL provider in your area.