According to the 2023 Annual Third-Party Logistics Study, published on Sept. 19, third-party logistics providers (3PLs) face challenges and opportunities. Supply chain professionals need to get back to basics, there’s a talent crisis and reverse logistics is on the rise, according to the report.
1) Labor shortages have had a major impact on the supply chain industry:
Seventy-eight percent of shippers and 56% of 3PLs report that labor shortages have affected their supply chain operations. Companies continue to have difficulty hiring and retaining hourly workers (e.g., pickers and packers) and licensed hourly workers (e.g., truck drivers). Almost two-thirds of shippers and 3PLs say they believe a permanent shift has occurred because of the talent shortage.
2) Consumer satisfaction can be improved by using reverse logistics to boost efficiency:
It is often overlooked as the back end of the supply chain equation, but reverse logistics has recently become an integral part of both business-to-business and business-to-consumer purchasing processes. Customers rated the return experience (75%) as extremely important to their loyalty, and both consumer-focused shippers (65%) and business-focused shippers (60%) noted that return expectations are increasing. With consumer buying habits constantly changing, reverse logistics presents an opportunity to increase efficiency.
3) There may be a misalignment between shippers’ and 3PL’s efforts in terms of ESG implementation, but they should consider this for long term:
Environmental, social, and governance factors remain a high priority in the supply chain. Shippers and 3PLs, however, only rated themselves as trailblazers and leaders in ESG. In contrast, 45% of shippers and 41% of 3PLs rated themselves as average in their ESG targets. There appears to be a misalignment between shippers and 3PLs in implementing their ESG efforts.
It is hoped that the topics and results of this year’s study will inspire future efforts to improve our supply chains through successful 3PL-customer relationships.
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