READING, Pa. — With the growing uncertainty of today’s global supply chain, many in the industries that make up this complex system are coming up with ideas that may help improve it.
Such is the case with the 2023 Annual Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Study, released Monday, Sept. 19. The study is designed to give insight into the challenges and opportunities facing suppliers and third-party logistics providers, according to a news release.
The publication, created in conjunction with NTT DATA, supply chain professor and researcher Dr. C. John Langley and Penske Logistics, examines back-to-basics principles for supply chain professionals, the ongoing talent crisis and the rise of reverse logistics.
Key findings include:
Getting Back to Basics — While innovative technologies, globalization and growing access to data have all helped transform the supply chain, they have also created complexity, disconnects and competing priorities. A return to the fundamental principles governing supply chains is underway. “The Seven Immutable Laws for Supply Chain Success” helps organizations shift back to basics by focusing on the core principles needed to achieve current and future supply chain success. Of these principles, both shippers and 3PLs rated data and analytics, customer focus, and innovation and transformation, as the most important in achieving future improvement in their organization’s supply chains.
Understanding the Talent Crisis — The supply chain industry has been hit hard by labor shortages, with 78% of shippers, and 56% of 3PLs, reporting that labor shortages have impacted their supply chain operations. Hourly workers (e.g., pickers and packers) and licensed hourly workers (e.g., truck drivers and equipment operators) continue to be the hardest roles for companies to hire and retain. Many see the talent shortage as a long-term issue, with 27% of shippers, and 29% of 3PLs, reporting they believe there has been a permanent shift.
Tapping into the Potential of Reverse Logistics — Often neglected as the back half of the supply chain equation, reverse logistics has since become an integral part of both the B2B and B2C buyer experience. Consumer-focused shippers rated the returns experience as being extremely important (75%) to consumer loyalty, and both consumer-focused shippers (65%) and business-focused shippers (60%) noted that return expectations are growing. As buying habits continue to shift reverse logistics represents a key opportunity to boost efficiency and improve consumer satisfaction.
ESG Surges — Corporate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) continues to be a top priority for today’s supply chain. However, only 22% of shippers and 17% of 3PLs rated themselves as a trailblazer and a leader in ESG. Conversely, 45% of shippers and 41% of 3PLs rated themselves as average in their ESG targets. This discrepancy suggests that both shippers and 3PLs may be misaligned in implementing their ESG efforts.
The study was released at this year’s Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) EDGE conference in Nashville.
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