It’s long been said that to be successful, you must go where the business is. For 3PLs, the business for parcel shipping is just about everywhere, and it is growing.
eCommerce is not constrained by national borders so shipping is now more than ever an international game filled with its own trials and tribulations. And that isn’t about to change based on reports in Pitney Bowes’ Parcel Shipping Index, which was released in August. The report indicated that parcel shipping generated $279 billion in revenue last year, an increase of 11 percent over 2016, and is expected to top 100 billion parcels shipped by 2020.
A quick—OK, not so quick—read of the 2019 22nd Annual Third-Party Logistics Study reveals, as we reported here, that the use of 3PL firms is growing. So, while not every parcel shipper has turned to an intermediary for help yet, the odds are that they will.
The study, which was released by Infosys Consulting, Penn State University, Penske Logistics, and Korn Ferry during the recent Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) Edge conference in Nashville, Tenn., shows an increase in the use of 3PLs as 63 percent of shippers said they would outsource more of their logistics operations in 2018, compared to 61 percent in 2017. And among the 3PL companies that responded to the survey, 86 percent said their customers were keeping them busier, up from 83 percent the prior year.
It has been said on more than one occasion that in the digital age, trade shows would go the way of the dinosaur, typewriter, and video stores — extinct. But as we saw last week at PARCEL Forum '18 in Chicago, there is still plenty of life and learning at trade shows.
Better yet, there is perhaps no better way to get the pulse of the shipping industry, uncover emerging trends, and luckily for us, find fodder for a blog. There is also the matter of catching up with friendly competitors we’ve known for years! So we thought we’d recap our three biggest takeaways from the show.
Today’s logistics world is complex. No longer is a one-size-fits-all TMS solution approach going to work. Flexibility, connectivity, and scalability are the keys to meeting customers’ expectations.
And it isn’t only the way shipping is done that has changed, today’s shipping technology has had to evolve along with the needs of shippers, carriers, third-party logistics providers (3PL), and their customer expectations.
How much is air worth to you? When you are thinking of breathing, it is priceless. However, as carriers crack down on shipping air, the cost of air for shippers is becoming quite pricey.
With eCommerce driving parcel and LTL shipping growth to all-time highs, space has become a premium. Carriers have responded by expanding dimensional-based (DIM) rating policies, making it harder to quote accurate shipping.
Add the fact that shipping costs are rising at twice the rate of inflation, at the same time customers expect free shipping, and it becomes even more clear that the extra costs can hurt your bottom line.
The race to meet the expanding expectations of eCommerce customers has led shippers to find ways to deliver parcels faster and cheaper. This focus on the last mile, combined with the growing gig economy, has spawned a new model made up of smaller and more agile carriers.
For those not familiar with the gig economy, it is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.
As eCommerce continues to grow globally, e-tailers face new challenges as they navigate international waters.
There was a time that “going shopping” meant taking a walk to the corner market. If someone was really adventurous, they headed downtown. If they wanted to shop some of the best retailers in the world, it was usually part of a vacation. Today, with the click of a mouse, people can shop anywhere in the world, including your store.
According to a study by Pitney Bowes, 66 percent of consumers now shop online, and 40 percent have purchased goods from another country.
When the need to manage shipping spend outpaces internal capacity, more shippers are turning to 3PLs to find them the right systems and software to keep ahead of rising costs.
Whether it is selling online, manufacturing, running your office or warehouse, you are good at what you do or else you probably wouldn’t be doing it. However, sometimes, there are things you need to do that aren’t exactly your specialty, so you turn to a pro. Water heater leaking? If you aren’t the handiest of folks, you may call a plumber. Want to spend the weekend with the kids? Odds are you have someone take care of the lawn for you. Your company’s tax extension is up, and it’s time to file? Most likely it’s being handled by a tax pro. With a trucking capacity crunch thanks, in part, to the e-tail and retail delivery boom, shippers are increasingly seeking the guidance of experts to help them spend less time and money on shipping and more on their core business.
We all know that what goes up must come down. However, when it comes to eCommerce, too often, what’s sent out will come back.
Not surprisingly to some e-tailers, 30 percent of items purchased online are returned, compared to less than 9 percent of brick-and-mortar purchases in 2016, according to reports. To compete in the rocky waters of eCommerce, and maintain customer loyalty, processing those returns quickly, easily, and for free is almost as important as selling them in the first place.
Free and fast shipping doesn’t come cheap. But today’s customers expect it. In fact, they expect a lot from their online shopping experience from order through delivery and even returns.
This demand has put a strain on eCommerce players as they try to keep profits in line while keeping customers happy. And as shown in this infographic, customers—and potential customers—are more than willing to click to the next site if they don’t get what they want when they want it from shippers.
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