State of the Third-Party Logistics Industry 2018 Recap & 2019 Forecast

Date: February 26, 2019

Last year, 3PL Central shared our second annual State of the Third-Party Logistics Industry report. Our focus was to share how the massive changes within our community - from new requirements, to heightened competition, and new technologies - could help 3PLs address the rising demand for superior customer service.

Throughout 2018, we saw first-hand how our 1000+ 3PL Central warehouse customers met these growing challenges head-on. From an increase in technology integrations with their warehouse management systems (WMS), sharing visibility and data with their customers, or delivering more services required to meet the growing needs of the consumer, 3PLs took on a massive influx of change.

Just as we predicted, the rise of ecommerce, mobile shopping and empowered consumers, offered many opportunities for 3PLs looking to establish more omnichannel fulfillment.1

And what is omnichannel fulfillment for a 3PL? It’s the ability to deliver a consistent brand experience to consumers, regardless of the sales channel. Whether a consumer is buying online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone, or in a brick-and-mortar store, a 3PL will always be able to offer a seamless service in delivering these goods.

Learn the five steps your warehouse can take to capitalize on new omnichannel opportunities. 

So, what actually happened in 2018 to drive these new opportunities? And, more importantly, what does this mean for 3PLs looking to grow their businesses in 2019? 

What happened in 2018?

As the demand for omnichannel capabilities increases, 3PLs have been looking to their WMS to provide support.  

In 2018, retailers felt enormous pressure to go omnichannel.2 With this pressure, many are reaching out to their 3PL warehouses to help deliver on this heightened demand. In order to build the operational requirements to successfully meet this new omnichannel promise, technology has been the main driver to help alleviate the strain. However, in a recent report, only 39% of supply chain respondents noted having operating models at this level.3 3PLs are actually evolving more quickly, as a recent survey noted that use of warehouse management systems (WMS) reached 93% to help warehouses cope with new challenges.4

3PL business owners are required, more than ever, to partner with their WMS providers so that they can better scale their warehouses. At 3PL Central, our industry experts have found that by partnering with our customers to implement 3PL-centric best practices, we are helping them build the proven technological backbone required to accurately manage inventory, automate routine omnichannel tasks, and better serve their customers.

This is extremely important as omnichannel sales exceeded $1 trillion in the FMCG (Fast-Moving Consumer Goods) market in 2018 and is expected to climb this year.5

It was also interesting to note that ecommerce accounted for 5% of total omnichannel sales last year, but drove 40% of its growth. The ability for 3PLs to accommodate these fulfillment workflows will be extremely important in 2019.

So, what’s to come in 2019?  

Supporting omnichannel fulfillment is quickly moving from a huge opportunity for growth to a fundamental requirement for long-term profitability for 3PLs.

In our upcoming 2019 State of Third-Party Logistics Industry report, 3PL Central will be sharing how 3PL warehouses can optimize their operations and grow in omnichannel fulfillment by leveraging technology - focusing specifically on helping solve the five biggest challenges facing warehouse operations today.

Sign up to receive early access and we'll send the report straight to your inbox as soon as it's available.

In the meantime, 3PL Central will be busy partnering with our customers to help them navigate the world of ecommerce and omnichannel fulfillment. We couldn’t be more excited to start 2019 off by working with 3PLs  who trust us to help them them grow their businesses into the services leaders required for today’s evolving logistics industry.



3PL Central

Written by 3PL Central

The first cloud-based WMS solutions designed for 3PLs. Powerful, flexible, scalable, and specifically designed to help 3PLs and warehouses grow to the next level.