The Future for TIA Members? No Limit

Robert Voltmann
President & CEO
Transportation Intermediaries Association

We’ve seen remarkable growth in the industry this year, but then we’ve seen remarkable growth in the industry every year. Armstrong and Associates reports that the 3PL industry has had an 11 percent compound annual growth rate for 20 years! And, at TIA, we see no limit to that growth. I like to say that the only limit to your growth is between your own two ears.

You will see lots of reports about how you’re going to be disintermediated. we’ve heard that before and we’ll hear it again. But the reality is that the industry has already been disrupted by companies called C. H. Robinson, Tucker Company worldwide, Choptank Transport and thousands of others. Every day, TIA members learn something new, try something new and take a different approach to serving your shippers. Every time you do that, you are disrupting the industry.

To truly disrupt the 3PL industry as we know it would require first eliminating the 96 percent of motor carriers with 50 or fewer trucks. Do you see that happening? I don’t. Next, we’d have to see shippers making a major fixed-cost investment in people, process, and technology to manage all the carriers and services you bring to them currently on a variable-cost basis. Again, I don’t see that happening.

So, what is likely to happen? Industry technology will continue to be developed, and you’ll have to adapt to  and adopt that technology faster and faster. The technology will allow you to provide increased service to your customers and reduce back-office costs. It wasn’t that long ago that track and trace meant phone calls to carriers. Today, that service is provided electronically and in customizable formats to meet your client needs. Tomorrow, artificial intelligence that will help you source the right capacity and keep it under your loads will be key.

How do you keep on top of the changes taking place? That’s easy: TIA. We added the Technovations Conference in November to provide you with a quick and easy look at mind-blowing technology advancements that you can implement immediately. The TIA Capital Ideas Conference, April 10-13, 2019, will also provide you with information about the latest developments and an opportunity to meet the vendors. Of course, the Capital Ideas Conference also contains information to help you better run your company and interact with your peers.

Because technology changes are taking place too fast to be showcased only in April and November, TIA also offers monthly webinars from leading tech providers. The bottom line is that for 40 years TIA has been there to help you succeed.

There are a lot of changes taking place, and that’s exciting. The TIA staff and I can sense your excitement about the industry and your own businesses when we meet you in your offices and at industry events. You and your success are the only reason we’re here. Cheers to an even better 2019.