Current Trends: Modern vs. Traditional 3PL


Current Trends: Modern vs. Traditional 3PL

Third-party logistics trends have undergone a lot of change. This article explores the current 3PL trends, modern vs. traditional.

A supply chain is a worldwide network that delivers products and services. The component of any supply chain includes producer, distributor, customer, raw materials, and retailer. Companies use the supply chain to ensure that the product manufacturing process is smooth. The process starts with acquiring raw materials and ends when the customer receives the final product.
Depending on various factors, companies adopt a traditional, modern, or blended approach. While each method has unique features and characteristics, there is a common goal: to ensure customer satisfaction, encourage repeat business, build a brand reputation, and foster a long-term relationship with the customers.

Traditional vs. Modern

Third-party logistics (3PLs) have used traditional methods for their logistics issues for years. Currently, they are trying newer and more innovative ways to upgrade their logistics. If you are part of a B2B company, it’s always advisable to have a blend of both new and traditional approaches for your logistics requirement.
While new technologies and innovations increase the efficiency, accuracy, and speed of the overall logistics process, the traditional method is always the go-to when building a long-term, standing, and loyal customer relationship base.
Logistics companies nowadays are working hard to find a balance where they can blend these approaches. While a traditional method always ensures a long-term customer base, a modern system ensures faster and more accurate order fulfillment. In the traditional approach, a personal connection is built with the customer that ensures that customers feel seen and heard. Alternatively, in the modern approach, the supply chain is automated, resulting in faster, better, and cheaper product delivery.

Next-Generation 3PLs

The current next-generation new-age third-party logistics started because of the innovative technologies which improved the accuracy and speed of the supply chain processes. The newer and younger companies are working hard to leverage these new technologies to implement an automated process to provide a sophisticated logistics experience.
The next-generation third-party logistics companies concentrate on foundations such as culture, concurrent planning, digital operations, and data integrity. When companies move to the new age technology for their logistics requirement, they adopt various technologies. One of the technologies adopted is Application Programming Interfaces, otherwise popularly known as APIs. It enables customers to retrieve real-time data and lets them see their order status regularly.
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Gary Frantz, a contributing editor of DC Velocity, wrote, “These next-generation players and their service portfolios are defined by speed, agility, adaptability, and continuous improvement. They have to operate reliably and seamlessly in an e-commerce-defined world. They are embracing digitization and technology for automating manual processes and creating even more data. And perhaps most important, they’re emerging as an “integration hub” connecting a far more diverse and interdependent set of systems, technology platforms, and data sources across the supply chain than ever before.”
As the demand for more disciplines and robust technology increased, more and more logistics companies are leveraging these cutting-edge technologies to stay ahead in the race. Companies that implement the new type of logistics mostly rely on digital, automated, and process-driven supply change management. Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) play significant roles in modern supply chain management. They cater to the new mantra of Cheaper, Faster, and Better.

Traditional 3PLs

Third-party logistics work for their customers and cater to their requirements. Consequently, it becomes imperative to understand your target audience. The goal is to ensure that the company and their customer have the same result in mind and agree on the path to help them achieve that common result. This goal requires in-depth planning, strategizing, and executing those plans and strategies. This implementation is possible if you have a relationship born from understanding the customer.
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The process of a traditional supply chain is pretty uncomplicated. The main steps require collecting raw and other materials to make the product. Then the company manufactures the product and distributes them to the customers. Post that, the customer uses the product as appropriate, thus closing this supply chain process.
The process of a traditional supply chain is pretty uncomplicated. The main steps require collecting raw and other materials to make the product. Then the company manufactures the product and distributes them to the customers. Post that, the customer uses the product as appropriate, thus closing this supply chain process.
Companies that work in the traditional 3PL model believe in building long-term customer relationships. As a result, the customer develops familiarity and trust towards the 3PL company. The customer can then breathe easy and work on developing other aspects of their business.

Blending Traditional and Current Digital Supply Chain

As evident above, both new and traditional approaches have pros and cons. The idea, then, is to create a process with the perfect blend to give the customers the best experience and ensure they are satisfied.
The companies must digitize and automate their logistics process to ensure that the supply chain is managed accurately, on time every time, and has less chance of customer complaints. Doing that will lead to the company’s growth and ensure that they get more revenues in the future.
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However, it’s also very important to gain customers’ trust to hand over the logistics part of their business and trust you to take care of it without depending on them heavily. That then enables the customer to focus on building different aspects of their businesses. This is where the traditional way of handling logistics is useful. They insist on clarity, transparency, and communication, which go a long way in building customers’ trust in your brand value.
If your company achieves that perfect blend of a new and traditional approach to handling supply chain logistics, the customers will always prefer to do business with your company every time. Additionally, they will also endorse your company to other people and businesses, bringing in the potential for new revenues.


Since its inception, third-party logistics have come a long way. Although the process of functioning of logistics has evolved over the years, the goal and focus have not. 3PL companies want to provide an accurate supply chain management process for customers and ease their business product delivery process. To do so effectively, as demonstrated above, companies must strike a balance between the new and traditional approaches to give customers an exemplary supply chain logistics experience. The idea is always to be clear, transparent, and keep the communication channel open. If you do not take time to be available for your customers, they might feel ignored. If you automate all the processes, the customers will not feel included or special. So ensure that you add a personal touch and that your customer feels seen and heard.

About XPDEL:

XPDEL helps eCommerce brands accelerate their growth, empowering them with multi-channel fulfillment, whether shipping directly to consumers, delivering to businesses, or selling through retail stores. We are founded and operated by veterans with experience from Amazon, FedEx, UPS, JDA, Walmart, Target, and other leading companies in eCommerce and Retail. Guided by these experts, we provide customer experiences that help you grow your business.