How a 3PL Can Help You During a Capacity Crisis - Mar 2018

Transportation, logistics, and supply chain professionals have seen several intense capacity problems over the past decade, and will see several more over the next ten years. Since experienced transportation professionals know that another shortage is always on the horizon, however, that gives shippers time to prepare.

Have no doubtsthe next capacity crisis is coming. The shortage of drivers in the trucking sector neared 50,000 at the end of 2017, according toestimatesby the American Trucking Associations. On top of that, the deadline for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrations mandate to implementElectronic Logging Devices(ELD) came and went in December 2017. The ELD mandate creates a safer work environment for truckers, but has also caused delays, parking problems, and technical issues that will snowball into capacity shortages. Other problems that caused a short crisis in 2017, such as aging fleets, still need to be addressed by many carriers. Meanwhile, manufacturing boosts in several areas continue to drive up freight volumes. 

Theres No Need to Fear Your 3PL is Here

Sure, that all sounds very scary, but it is possible to get ahead of the next crisis. By using a third-party logistics (3PL) partner, you can shrug off some of that burden when the next capacity crunch comes calling. Here are four ways your 3PL can provide capacity when youre struggling to find it on your own:

1.Established Relationships.A successful 3PL thrives in part due to the partnerships and relationships that they have built over the years. Your 3PL should have well-established relationships with many carriers across every sector in which they operate. When space becomes short, your logistics provider can leverage those relationships to keep your cargo moving.

2.Multiple Modes.A good 3PLs carrier network extends beyond the highway. While trucking capacity may be at a premium, they should also have rail, air, and water carrier networks to fall back on, ensuring that your shipments reach their destination on time.

3.Purchasing Power.When capacity gets tight, it may be hard to attract the attention of a carrier on your own. 3PLs, however, arent just handling your shipment. Logistics providers buy capacity the way you might buy toilet paper at Sams Club or Costcoin bulk. These larger purchases attract carriers, and discounts from large buys lower average rates for shipment stakeholders.

4.Latest Technology.While many shippers cannot afford the latest and greatest supply chain technology, 3PLs must stay updated to remain competitive. For small and medium shippers, a logistics provider may be the most affordable way to gain access toTransportation Management Systemsor other valuable logistics technology.

No Time Like the Present

If you intend to use a 3PL to lower the risks you may face from a capacity crisis, dont wait. Much in the way individual carriers will dole out capacity to their loyal customers before granting space to new ones, logistics providers also may struggle to find space for your shipments last minute.

Finding a 3PL now will ensure you can access the capacity you need when the next capacity shortage rears its ugly head. While you wait for the next crunch, you can enjoy the expertise, savings, and continuous improvement that a quality 3PL provides.

WSI provides a wide range of innovative supply chainsolutionsand boasts aglobal transportation networkthat can help you meet the challenges of the next capacity shortage.Contact usto see how we can help.