Trends in Logistics and 3PL

This is a guest post from third party logistic service provider Canadian Alliance Inc.

Senior managers at warehouses and 3PLs have witnessed rapid changes to the logistics industry. Because of this, their roles have also changed. Current industry trends make them responsible for much more than managing day-to-day processes and workplace teamwork. Today, they need to constantly adapt and devise bigger strategies than ever before.  

At Canadian Alliance, our senior managers eagerly adjust to the latest technology that’s at the forefront of the logistics industry. In order for them to do so, they must be willing to learn and face new challenges. We’ve partnered with Goldbeck Recruiting to write this industry trend analysis that senior managers of any industry can learn from.  

Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology has changed the way goods, product calls and logistics are managed within the warehousing industry. This is a good thing for senior managers who are ready to make adjustments to current processes. There are several advantages including better tracking of goods, linking physical goods to serial numbers and much more (1). When a senior manager learns how to employ and use the blockchain technology, they can spend less time on menial tasks. It’s important for managers to remember that blockchain software is still technically in its infancy, so senior managers should create realistic expectations knowing that it will gradually improve warehouse and 3PL workplaces.

The Industrial Land Shortage

According to CHRE, Metro Vancouver’s industrial land space is expected to run out by the early 2020s. It also says this land space decreased by 160 basis points from 3.9% in 2016 to 2.3% by the end of 2017. This is the lowest percentage on record in Vancouver and the second lowest rate in North America (2).

This issue calls for senior managers to get creative when planning for the future of their warehouse. They may find it helpful to focus on the current space and find innovative solutions to solve their problems. In some countries, multistory warehouses have become a popular solution when land space is lacking. Building up doesn’t require more land but builds onto what a company already has.

In approaching the industrial land crisis, curious senior managers that do some extra research would be able to paint a bigger picture by learning about the finer details. For example, in Asia and Europe, the tight ramps that are found within those regions’ multistory warehouses are conducive to the shorter trucks in common usage there. In contrast, developers would have to make building adjustments to create designs to accommodate the 53-foot semi trucks that we often see in America (3).

Senior managers will need to collaborate with various types of experts they may not already have in house. In this case, contacting architects and contractors would be necessary to resolve space issues. Resourcefulness, confidence, communication and advanced industry knowledge are necessary to approach any challenge head on.

AI and Redefining Roles

AI is so widely used in warehouses that many workers don’t realize that they’re already using it. In some warehouses, drones and robots are being used to perform tasks like scanning barcodes, sparing regular employees from danger by doing the heavy lifting.

This can be a positive change since employees on the floor can be used to perform more meaningful tasks. This could mean that they contribute to strategies and planning instead. Many of the jobs offered by Goldbeck Recruiting today did not exist 10 years ago. By creating new roles, a manager can help leverage existing talent to contribute in exciting ways.

According to the Harvard Business Review, robots will likely create new opportunities for workers instead of replacing them.

While AI will radically alter how work gets done and who does it, the technology’s larger impact will be in complementing and augmenting human capabilities, not replacing them” (4).

…humans and AI actively enhance each other’s complementary strengths: the leadership, teamwork, creativity, and social skills of the former, and the speed, scalability, and quantitative capabilities of the latter. What comes naturally to people (making a joke, for example) can be tricky for machines, and what’s straightforward for machines (analyzing gigabytes of data) remains virtually impossible for humans. Business requires both kinds of capabilities” (4).

Senior managers can make the most out of this collaboration by understanding how humans can most effectively augment machines, how machines can enhance what humans do best, and how to restructure business processes to support the partnership (4).

These are a few current warehouse and 3PL industry trends that will increasingly afford senior managers with opportunities to become experts in more than one area. They can contribute to exciting changes that involve building the modern warehouse. They can think in more abstract terms by reaching beyond their warehouse’s square footage.

According to Supply Chain 247, leadership will be paramount to the process.

Regardless of whether it’s risk management or the digitization of supply chain, it is leadership that will drive companies forward and elevate the status of the supply chain in an increasingly competitive and fast-moving world” (5).

Businesses can turn to top recruiters in Vancouver like Goldbeck Recruiting for applicants who possess this high level of leadership skills.


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