The best way to predict the future of the 3PL industry is by looking at the rising trends of today. What is popular today and what is becoming obsolete will guide the next 10 to 20 years of innovation. We at CWI Logistics know how important it is to keep a pulse on how the industry is changing, so we’ll be sharing the key areas we believe will shape the future of the 3PL industry.
Artificial Intelligence and Automation
It’s impossible to talk about the future of 3PL innovation without mentioning the rise of AI in the modern day. AI has grown significantly throughout the past year, bringing change to almost every industry—including logistics. In the next three years, it is expected that commercial manufacturers will increase their use of AI by 40–80%. From sorting data to planning transportation routes to improving worker safety, the use of AI in logistics is only going to increase as AI’s capabilities grow to human capacity.
In a similar vein, automation is also rapidly growing alongside AI. Automation has been invaluable to the logistics industry and will continue to be so. Using Internet of Things (IoT) systems, sensors will be able to or already can automatically report the condition of the products, alert if climate-controlled environments are out of range, and predict the best transportation paths to avoid traffic or weather complications. By 2025, experts are saying IoT will be used for more than 27 billion automated connections.
Protecting the planet and being environmentally conscious has become increasingly important to both businesses and consumers, and the logistics industry has followed suit. There are several ways logistic companies have taken a stand in the green initiative, including:
- Using more energy-efficient solutions
- Reducing waste production
- Avoiding toxic and harmful chemicals or materials when possible
- Utilizing transportation management systems to find the most fuel-efficient way to travel to reduce carbon emissions
- Building warehouses with reduced carbon emissions in both construction and operation
Several companies, including industry giants like Amazon and FedEx, have agreed to help the planet by keeping global warming below 2°C (35.6°F) by 2050. These initiatives have included Amazon’s promise to have 50% of shipments not emitting carbon dioxide by 2030, FedEx’s goal for 30% of air transportation to use alternative fuel, and DHL transporting their first and last-mile deliveries using clean transportation such as bicycles.
Advancements in Transportation
The era of self-driving cars and vehicles has just begun, and while not yet wildly popular, predictions have these vehicles only increasing in functionality, accuracy, and efficiency. Work is still being done to bring self-driving technology to trucks; however, industry leaders are preparing for a future where transportation can be completely automated. Some experts believe that trucks—both self-driving and manually operated—may even be able to “shapeshift” and become more aerodynamic to improve fuel efficiency.
However, self-automated vehicles aren’t the only innovation coming to 3PL transportation. Drones have been a topic of interest for logistics companies for a while, but as technology continues to advance, the reality of using drones—especially for first and last-mile deliveries—is coming in the near future. While self-driving advances will likely hit urban areas first, drones will be used to help reach more remote or difficult locations, reducing time spent on the supply chain and keeping workers safe from possibly dangerous road conditions.
Keep a Pulse on Industry Advancements with CWI Logistics
Knowing what to expect from the logistics industry is vital for any 3PL company to keep up with. This is why CWI makes an effort to learn about what changes are coming so that we can implement them to best serve our customers and their needs. Whether it’s AI, sustainability, or transportation, CWI is here to help you navigate the future of logistics. To partner with a 3PL company that understands how the logistics industry is changing, get in touch with us today!