Technology and trade are transforming the 3PL business and the businesses of the customers it serves. The World Trade Organization predicts that global trade will continue to recover, growing at 3.6% in 2017. In addition to reducing the cost of imports from abroad, trade has also created new export markets for American and European firms. The Economist reports that in 1993, America exported less than $10 billion dollars in cars and parts to Mexico; by 2013, that number had increased seven-fold. Similarly, exports to China increased 200% between 2005 and 2014.
Today, however, 3PLs and their customers aren’t just shipping to major trading partners like Mexico, China or countries within the Eurozone. Technology has opened the world to trade with individuals and entities in nearly any country or region, from Asia to South America. In fact, by the time a finished product reaches a consumer, its parts and components could have crossed multiple borders and passed through many hands.
This creates a challenge for 3PL firms and their customers. They’re not only managing more shipments going to more places, they also need a process to manage the risks associated with doing so. Among those risks? The possibility of sending shipments to sanctioned individuals, entities or countries and the increased cost of working with multiple shipping partners.
In addition, smaller 3PLs must find ways to adapt to the changes within their own industry. It’s becoming more difficult for 3PL firms to meet customer needs by focusing solely on domestic shipping. Today, 3PL companies need to provide a more complete response to their customer’s global shipping needs, while maximizing ROI and positioning themselves for growth.
Leveraging Technology For Growth
To keep pace with change and compete effectively, your organization needs to make smart investments in technology, including multi carrier shipping software. Many technology investments deliver bottom line returns such as streamlining your operations, reducing cost or minimizing the human effort needed to accomplish your shipping tasks.
PRECISION Multi-Carrier and Enterprise Shipping and Trade Compliance solutions deliver all of these bottom line returns—and more. Not only do these solutions reduce the labor and bottom line costs associated with sending international shipments, they also deliver a unique opportunity to add revenue streams and top line growth to your 3PL business.
Imagine this: You’re bringing on a new client or working with an existing client that mainly looks to your firm for domestic parcel shipments. The customer explains that they are starting to do more business globally—a common refrain across industries like high tech or OEM parts manufacturers. For 3PLs that have always focused on domestic shipping, this creates two challenges.
The first challenge is finding carriers, managing and tracking shipments across international borders. This process isn’t any less time consuming for 3PL firms or their customers than finding a carrier for a pallet or truckload, but with small shipments these costs can quickly eat away at your profits.
When you add in the need to screen international customers, nations and entities to ensure you’re not sending products to the wrong people, it becomes even more difficult. If you’re managing high international parcel volumes manually, then you may need as many as 10 individuals to screen every shipment by recipient name, business entity or country against published lists.
As volumes of small international parcel shipments grow, 3PL firms need a better way to manage these processes. In the past, 3PLs and their customers might have been forced to outsource these processes to a large, global logistics firm, or even a trade compliance specialist. With PRECISION Multi-Carrier and Enterprise Shipping and Trade Compliance solutions, you can centralize all of these requirements and connect to Precision’s truly global carrier network, so you can offer more complete services to your customers whose businesses are becoming more global.
Winning new customers you otherwise might be unable to serve increases your return on investment in the software. It also delivers higher ROI and more complete services to your existing customers.
Adapting To and Facilitating Customer Change
The world is getting smaller. Today, as the need for global shipping expands beyond manufacturing supply chains and into other vertical markets such as retail, high tech and life sciences, 3PL companies that might once have served regional or domestic markets can find themselves serving their customers’ needs anywhere in the world.
For these 3PLs, expanding into each new market creates both an opportunity and a challenge. The ability to manage global shipping is attractive to new customers who might previously have opted for a global 3PL or trade compliance specialist. But to actually meet those needs, 3PLs need proven technology to help customers adapt to changes in their business as they grow.
Rather than seek out individual specialists to meet their shipping needs in each new country as they grow, Precision Software enables 3PLs to meet their customers’ changing needs. For customers, this means the peace of mind of working with the same trusted partner regardless of where their shipments are headed.
With Precision, 3PLs have the ability to manage carriers across the globe with minimal additional labor. Customers may come from anywhere on the globe, but managing the process of shipping to them requires a single set of tools and processes that streamlines and centralizes data, providing better reporting and enabling 3PLs to reduce their bottom line costs in every market.
Together, PRECISION Multi-Carrier and Enterprise Shipping and Trade Compliance solutions allow 3PLs to both adapt to and facilitate the changing needs of their customers, while attracting new clients who previously may have chosen a global shipping or compliance specialist.