Driven by staff shortages, more demanding end customers, and an increasingly complex omnichannel, multi-carrier shipping ecosystem, the recently released Third-Party Logistics Study shows that both shippers and 3PLs are placing more value on shipping technology.

As the logistics landscape shifts to one not only moving goods but also delivering data to get items more efficiently from warehouses, storefronts, and manufacturers to customers’ doorsteps, the reliance on technology that can give visibility and management of the entire supply chain is more critical than ever.

According to the study, 65% of shippers said that their expectations for technology have increased along with the need to optimize operations, improve real-time visibility, and enable rapid decision-making. And 3PLs have seen that increase as even higher with 78%, believing that shipper expectations for technology solutions have increased.

And when it comes to the role technology plays in choosing a 3PL provider, there is a discrepancy between the views of 3PLs and shippers—although both see it as very important.

The study showed that 75% of shippers said technology solutions play a more significant role today when selecting 3PL partners. Much like expectations, a more substantial number of 3PLs (87%) though shippers emphasize technology solutions more. 

This emphasis on technology—along with the increasing shift into omnichannel last-mile delivery—makes it more critical than ever for 3PLs to partner with technology companies that can offer a single solution that handles all of the needs of shippers from the first through the last mile.


While there are plenty of things to look for in a multi-carrier management solution [you can find them here], these three are a great starting point for 3PLs.


  1. Extensive Multi-Carrier Network

The growth of eCommerce and omnichannel fulfillment, as well as the broader availability of carrier APIs, have further expanded multi-carrier networks to meet consumer demand for a wider range of delivery alternatives from same-day to white glove. Meanwhile, the traditional lines between courier, parcel and freight modes have blurred as eCommerce continues to drive smaller, more frequent shipments worldwide.

  1. Federated Architecture

    As a 3PLs base of clients grows and changes to meet the needs of eCommerce organizations, it is vital to get their view of them from atop a single cloud-based administration utility. A multi-enterprise “federated” multi-carrier management solution provides the tools to manage distinct branding, workflows, carrier rates, and business rules for each entity in your community without impacting any other entity.
  2. Multi-Functional Apps

    Today, a best-in-class multi-carrier management solution goes beyond its name. It is not only multi-carrier but also multi-functional, with various apps capable of supporting routing and rating within order entry or purchasing, real-time tracking and returns within customer service, production shipping within DCs, supplier portals, and step-by-step shipping workflows.

With technology ranking high with shippers, 3PLs will have to continue to focus on what they offer and who they partner with for the solutions they provide their customers.

Contact us today to learn more about how Transtream multi-carrier management solution can help you deliver the technology your customers are looking for.