Penske Logistics, along with Infosys, presented findings from the 2021 Third-Party Logistics Study: State of Logistics Outsourcing Report during the annual Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) 2020 EDGE conference. The study is a collaboration between John Langley, a professor at Penn State University and the founder of the report, and Infosys Consulting. Penske Logistics is a sponsor.
The 2021 25th Annual Third-Party Logistics Study shows that the customer (shipper) and their 3PL are moving closer to a strategic relationship than a transactional one. In addition, 92% of 3PL users and 96% of 3PL providers agree that supply chains are evolving into complex networks. Across the next five years, shippers predicted that strategic relationships with their 3PLs would increase to 45% (from the current 28%).
The study also explores topics that are top-of-mind in today’s supply chain: technology’s direct impact on scalability and mobility, the COVID-19 effect and risk management.
According to the study, the majority of shippers indicated they are utilizing technology for these types of planning: supply (89%), demand (83%), sales/operations (78%) and capacity (61%).
Third-party logistics providers are further along in mobile technology, with increased usage of smartphones, tablets, wearables and other handheld devices. The majority of shippers are using dashboards and related tools in their operations for real-time access, while 48% noted they have systems in place to organize and access that data for reporting purposes, and 45% stated they collect real-time data across more than half of their supply chains.
A majority of companies (58%) answered that they saw at least a 25% reduction in supply chain operations and 6% stated they experienced a total shutdown. Impacted areas were different for shippers and their logistics providers.
The two biggest shipper areas were international transportation/logistics (55%) and manufacturing (46%). For 3PLs, the largest problem areas were labor/workforce management (54%) and domestic transportation/logistics (45%). Among shippers, roughly 46% believe that recovery will take place in less than three months (the survey closed on July 31).
Among respondents, 51% of shippers were confident that their companies possess a comprehensive risk management process. Additionally, 45% of shippers stated that their risk management coverage extended into multiple layers of suppliers downstream and upstream. Over a third of shippers (37%) forecasted that future supply chains would rely less on global capabilities and more on domestic or local capabilities; 49% of 3PLs answered this way as well.
While globalization is an industry mainstay, recent occurrences have sparked talk of further nearshoring in order to retain a dynamic and responsive supply chain. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, consumers spent over $601 billion online last year, a 14.9% increase from the previous year. Online grocery sales have seen significant growth since March.