The digitisation of the logistics industry has come with significant benefit to the consumer. Processes are undeniably slicker, more secure and quicker, whilst also being cost effective. With that said, surging consumer demand coupled with the introduction of a number of high potential logistics start-ups means the industry is more competitive than ever.

Providers, both established and new, face a significant challenge to stay ahead of the competition in the wake of digitisation, so how are they going about remaining relevant to their consumers in a gradually saturating market?

Logistics trucks

A Shift in Strategy for 3PLs

For a considerable period, third party logistics (3PL) providers were seen as somewhat of a reluctant necessity to large retailers; simply means of getting their product from A to B, albeit at an unwanted cost. Steadily over time, however, big business has grown to understand the benefits of a fully optimised supply chain as a key operational advantage over their competition.

This in turn has created a window of opportunity for 3PLs to offer comprehensive logistics management for larger corporates, providing them with their own platform to find a competitive edge.

At the other end of the spectrum, 3PLs are also winning business in the SME market, as they break down barriers to smaller business partnerships, who are realising they too can enjoy the same operational benefits of their larger counterparts, while remaining cost effective.

End-to-End Visibility for Optimal Performance

The impact of big data on logistics, as with any other industry, cannot be overstated. Big data offers logistics providers end-to-end visibility on their operation, which helps them identify areas for improvement and a number of optimisation options.

Real time data sharing between business partnerships is allowing for universally improved performance, while geo-analytical data is helping to improve transport routes and resource consumption on international deliveries. This sort of transparency also extends to the customer, who can enjoy comprehensive tracking on their package from the moment it leaves the depot.

Logistics providers with the sense to invest in the tools to process and understand big data will enjoy improved speed of process, better cost-effectiveness and improved customer experience. In such a competitive market, providers will either have to get on board or be left behind.

Shipping containers at the port

Reducing Freight Expenses

In light of the better visibility provided with the introduction of big data, providers should be able to identify ways to cut costs on their freight process without impacting overall performance. Adopting a good transport management system is essential for a logistics business to leverage real time data and develop a dynamic freight strategy.

It could be keeping expensive air cargo to a minimum or adjusting transport routes to produce optimum output. Logistics business that have a full understanding of their freight operations can expect to see a benefit to their bottom line and do more with less against their contemporaries.

As the logistics market continues to heat up, the consumer can look forward to improved pricing structures, even faster processes and technological improvements to the overall experience. Considering the current high standards of the logistics industry, it will be interesting to see where the next big innovation is made.