Logistic Providers in St. Louis Look Forward to 2014!
The role of a 3PL continues to grow. Once, 3PLs were trucking firms that offered extra services. Today, third-party logistics providers in St. Louis like Clark Logistics can handle a full spectrum of supply chain tasks. From light assembly of foreign-shipped constituent parts and packaging all of the way to handling reverse logistics for returned goods, 3PLs are doing more than ever. Here are a few of the capabilities to look for in the new year:
Transparency Through Technology
Big data isn’t just a tool for marketing departments anymore. Many companies expect logistics providers in St. Louis and in other parts of the country to provide constant data feeds. This means that the 3PL needs to have access to the latest technology and software. It also means that the carriers, shippers and other subcontractors with which they work also have to be feeding data into the same integrated system. While 2013 was the year in which Big Data entered the industry’s awareness, 2014 will be the year in which it actually starts to get implemented on a very broad level.
Companies look to 3PL services to lower the costs that that have to bear by handling their logistics in-house. While this has always been the case, companies aren’t just looking to save on trucking any more. Instead, they are looking for logistic providers in St. Louis that can bring efficiencies and economies of scale throughout their supply chains. These benefits manifest themselves in two ways. First, 3PL companies have to offer low prices to be competitive — recession-level pricing is the new normal for 2014 and beyond. Second, they need to offer a deep and wide pool of partners so that companies can have a single point of contact for all of their logistics needs.
Simply being a logistic provider in St. Louis that helps with public warehousing or with fulfillment isn’t enough. The many worlds of retail have converged, with the line between brick-and-mortar and ecommerce disappearing. Today, customers shop at home to pick up from a store and stores ship inventory from the showroom floor to website customers. Companies with existing omni-channel businesses or that are in the process of transitioning to an omni-channel model will look to their 3PL providers to leverage their expertise in handling complicated and interconnected supply chains even more in 2014.
Global Trade Management
Logistics providers in St. Louis might seem like they are a long distance away form the world’s markets, but in this increasingly interconnected world, global trade management is becoming more and more important in the world of 3PL. As more and more businesses offshore greater parts of their supply chain, a 3PL that can handle the logistics of global trade beings tactical advantages. Those that can also provide guidance on which markets are strongest for producing goods, handling reverse logistics, or leveraging international preferential trade agreements or foreign trade zones domestically can also become valuable strategic partners to the companies that they serve.
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