A Bright Future

Robert Voltmann, CAE

At TIA, we estimate that over the course of the next 10 years, the brokerage-based 3PL market will double. Today, you control about 25% of all freight decisions. When we look back from 2030, we expect that you will control around 50% of all freight decisions. There will most certainly be bumps and changes along the way, but that’s the business you are in.

It’s likely that margins will continue to compress over this same period, so the question then becomes, “how do you reduce costs to remain profitable?” There are many answers to this question. It could include artificial intelligence that helps reduce the number of touches necessary to get a truck under load. It seems clear that companies must move away from the one-and-done mindset and build a network of carriers. It’s also highly probable that companies will need to evolve from a cradle-to-grave approach and adopt a team approach. Software will also play a major role in automation and reducing costs.

One thing, however, is certain: shippers will not make the necessary investments in software, people, and knowledge to bring this back in-house. That’s a huge opportunity for you.

The TIA Board of Directors is engaged in a strategic planning process to look at these and many other issues. The Board is looking at several megatrends and how they will impact the future that we want as an industry. These megatrends are:

• What impacts will consolidation have on the industry, and what can TIA do to address any impacts;

• What should TIA do to help members respond to the marketplace risks they face;

• What should TIA do to help members leverage technology, so that it is a common tool that works for all instead of being customer specific/specified, and what should TIA do about the ownership of data;

• How can TIA help educate members to become more efficient and control costs in order to remain profitable in a period of compressing margins; and

• How can TIA help our members attract, train, and retain employees in an aging and changing workforce?

Another thing that is clear is that you must understand what your costs are. TIA offers a simple benchmarking tool to allow you to plug your numbers in and see how you match up to your peers. We also offer the 3PL Market Report with data from dozens of participating companies that provide their monthly numbers and in return, receive a monthly cost aggregate.  As Bob Villa used to say, “measure twice, cut once.” Throughout all of the changes, challenges, and opportunities of the 2020s, TIA is here to help you grow and protect your business in service to your customers