“It is not just technology, it is not just people, it is not just one solution – it is collaboration that fuels this industry.”Geoff Kelley
After unforeseen 2020 challenges and supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19, 3PLs remain vigilant while staying ahead of 2021 shipping trends one year after a global pandemic began. Staying current on proven technology, trusted partnerships and quality service offerings are key when it comes to adding value for your employees, customers and carriers – and ultimately, is essential to the success and longevity of any company. We want to look toward the future and focus on 2021 trends that are likely to develop in the logistics industry while emphasizing valuable and sustainable solutions. This year we expect to see an expansion in the use of technology, the utilization of trusted partnerships, more carrier-friendly automation and continued growth for NTG.
The advancement and investment in technology is a major trend that will continue throughout the industry in 2021 and beyond. We’ve seen this over the last few years, especially with increased visibility and optimization tools such as connectivity and self-service tools, online load boards and order fulfillment apps. Technology trends in the 3PL space will aim to better support both customers and carriers by way of convenience, speed, efficiency and cost-saving benefits. It’s important for companies to invest in trends that add value, as opposed to chasing ones that end up being a distraction. Some of these value-add trends include dynamic pricing, freight matching and enhanced route optimization products, among other advancements, to further boost efficiency in the supply chain space.
NTG is proud to have an extensive and growing network of shipper and carrier partners. It is critical to continue to view these relationships beyond a transactional perspective and think about how to create strategic, longer-term value – leveraging scale and density for all partners involved. This approach, combined with continued investment in technology to help drive efficiency that benefits the overall 3PL network, is key to creating the ideal partnership. Partners are integral to our company and customers’ success and play a fundamental role throughout the logistics process. By always being cognizant of the next transaction and the impact to a broader network, we can ensure that we do right by our trusted shippers and carriers and foster a symbiotic relationship.
The continued creation of user-friendly automation tools in the logistics market will prove to be essential in helping to save time, energy and money for companies and their clients. The move toward automation in elements such as freight matching, freight tendering and load quoting is one of the more progressive trend projections for the coming years, and NTG sees it as essential for brokerages to offer these solutions to stay competitive. Expect to see more convenient, time-saving and intentional automation investments in 2021 that will drive adoption and user experience.
Following the unprecedented year that the industry saw in 2020, growth expectations remain uncertain and will likely be volatile, but NTG forecasts companywide growth throughout 2021. NTG, as well as many others in this space, will aim to continue expanding in both people and service offerings that benefit our customers and carrier partners. A diverse and dense carrier network will continue to be valuable for handling increased demand due to the e-commerce boost throughout the pandemic. In addition, customers will continue to use the services of trusted 3PL partners that allow for more convenience, efficiency and visibility through a combination of technology, expertise and trusted relationships. Investing in technology and user-focused automation tools while putting an emphasis in trusted partnerships and company growth will continue to be our goal in 2021.
For a deeper dive on supply chain trends in 2021, read Geoff Kelley’s article on this topic in Supply & Demand Chain Executive.