Political turmoil, civil unrest, pandemics, natural disasters…logistics managers must be half magician and half fortune teller to stay nimble in what has become a disrupted playing field. Third-party logistics providers can help as they offer the tools and resources clients need to proactively adjust their supply chain.
First and foremost, the leapfrogging e-commerce sector in the U.S. has seen rapid growth, with online sales making up approximately 20.8% of total retail sales. This surge in e-commerce has fundamentally shifted consumer expectations, with a growing demand for fast and reliable delivery. This highlights the need for a logistics system that can swiftly adapt to these changing demands.
Moreover, the geographic expanse of the U.S., covering more than 3.8 million square miles with over 4 million miles of public roads, presents a logistical challenge for distribution. This vast and varied landscape requires a fluid and responsive logistics system that can effectively navigate through the complexities of population migration away from traditional clusters, such as large cities. 3PLs are required to stay current on the U.S. distribution landscape – from congestion to failing infrastructure to new work-from-home delivery points – for final mile distribution.
And then it all changes.
The U.S. Department of Commerce and FEMA report that supply chain disruptions have a significant impact on the economy, with a single major port closure costing upwards of $1 billion per day. Furthermore, the U.S. faces frequent domestic supply chain disruptions, averaging about 100 natural disasters per year. These disruptions can significantly impact the flow of goods and materials, causing delays and disruptions in the distribution process. Over 75% of companies have experienced significant impacts due to these disruptions, emphasizing the need for resilient and adaptable logistics solutions.
How about asset control when disruptions occur? Does your 3PL own or manage its trucks? Wavepoint is a hybrid 3PL, both owning assets as well as contracting carrier partners for added flexibility. Amazon is quick to advise vendors to clarify a 3PL’s posture in that area.
“Most 3PLs rely on carriers to handle their transportation and shipping services, but a handful of 3PLs are carriers themselves. If the 3PLs you are evaluating don’t have their carrier network and fleet, you should find out which carriers they work with, how much those carriers charge for their services, and how much capacity those carriers can offer that 3PL’s customers. If your 3PL is a carrier themselves that can be a huge advantage for you as a customer – as you can have a direct relationship with the carrier and oftentimes get a better rate or more flexible capacity limits.” – Amazon.com, Inc.
Lastly, flexibility and agility must be embedded in the logistics operations whether internal or outsourced. The ability to pivot to changing market conditions, consumer demands, and unforeseen disruptions should not be stymied by the hesitation of offsite corporate approval. Wavepoint 3PL prides itself on our flexible and responsive approach to logistics, leveraging advanced technologies and innovative strategies to ensure that companies can effectively adapt to the ever-changing dynamics of the distribution environment. For example:
- Real-time visibility and monitoring: Having a clear view of the entire supply chain through technology and data analytics can help logistics managers quickly identify disruptions and adjust their plans accordingly.
- Redundancy and safety stock: Maintaining safety stock of critical items and having backup facilities in place can help mitigate the impact of disruptions.
- Strong communication and collaboration: Effective communication and collaboration with suppliers, carriers, and other stakeholders can help streamline efforts to quickly recover from disruptions.
- Reliability and agility: Logistics systems should be designed to quickly adapt to changes in supply and demand, and to pivot in response to unexpected disruptions.
- Risk management and scenario planning: Proactive identification of potential disruptions and planned responses can help minimize the impact of natural disasters and other supply chain disruptions.
- Continuous improvement and learning: Regularly reviewing and learning from past disruptions can help logistics systems develop better strategies for dealing with future challenges.
- Technology integration: Utilizing advanced technology such as IoT, with conversations on how our technology providers can leverage AI and blockchain to improve visibility, efficiency, and responsiveness to disruptions.
The success of modern U.S. distribution is dependent on the ability to navigate through constant changes and challenges. By partnering with a forward-thinking and innovative logistics provider like Wavepoint 3PL, companies can position themselves for sustained growth and success in the rapidly evolving logistics landscape.
Wavepoint 3PL offers a comprehensive range of services, including supply chain optimization, transportation management, warehousing, and fulfillment, all geared toward helping companies achieve greater efficiency, resilience, and competitiveness in their distribution operations. With a focus on fluidity, responsiveness, and sustainability, Wavepoint is paving the way for the future of U.S. distribution. By leveraging advanced technology, strategic partnerships, and a relentless commitment to customer satisfaction, Wavepoint is setting a new standard for efficient and effective logistics management.
For more information, be sure to download our eBook: “Mastering U.S. Distribution with Responsive Logistics” which explores these competencies.