The Human Side of 3PL: Training, Expertise, and the Role of People in Logistics Success

August 31, 2023

In the era of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and the Internet of Things (IoT), the logistics industry is undergoing a digital transformation. Yet, as technology continues to play an increasing role in the industry, the human element remains irreplaceable. Third-party logistics (3PL) companies exemplify the balance between innovative tech solutions and the human touch, offering both technological efficiencies and people-driven expertise. This article delves into the human side of 3PL, underscoring the importance of training, expertise, and the role of people in ensuring logistics success.

The Role of People in 3PL

People play a pivotal role in the world of third-party logistics in numerous ways:

Decision Making: Technology can process and analyze data faster than any human, but decision-making requires human intuition, judgment, and years of experience.

Relationship Building: One of the keys to successful 3PL partnerships is the human-to-human connection. This involves understanding client needs, managing expectations, and building trust.

Problem-Solving: While AI can predict and prevent many issues, unexpected challenges arise that demand human creativity and adaptability.

The Significance of Training in 3PL

In the dynamic field of logistics, consistent training is essential for various reasons:

Adapting to Technological Changes: While technology is pivotal for efficiency, its success hinges on how well individuals can operate and adapt to it. Continuous training ensures 3PL employees can harness new tech tools effectively.

Safety Protocols: Logistics often involves the movement of goods using heavy machinery or vehicles. Training is imperative to ensure the safe operation of equipment, adherence to regulations, and reduction of workplace accidents.

Customer Service Excellence: In 3PL, providing exceptional customer service is a differentiator. Through regular training, employees can better understand and anticipate client needs, ensuring long-term partnerships and client satisfaction.

Expertise: The Bedrock of Logisitics Success

Expertise is not just about knowledge; it’s about applying that knowledge effectively in diverse scenarios. In the logistics industry, expertise can make the difference between successful delivery and a logistical nightmare.

Navigational Know-how: Understanding routes, traffic patterns, and alternative pathways requires not just tech but human expertise. Experienced logistics professionals can leverage their on-ground knowledge to navigate challenges.

Industry-Specific Solutions: Different industries have unique logistical challenges. For instance, transporting pharmaceuticals requires different expertise than transporting electronics. Human expertise tailors solutions to specific industry needs.

Risk Management: Every logistical undertaking carries certain risks, from damaged goods to delayed shipments. Experienced 3PL providers can anticipate potential issues and mitigate risks before they escalate.

Balancing Technology and the Human Touch

The future of 3PL is not about choosing between humans and technology but leveraging both optimally. Companies must understand that:

Tech Empowers People: Automation can handle repetitive tasks, allowing humans to focus on strategic activities and decision-making.

Human Oversight is Essential: Even the most sophisticated AI systems require human oversight to catch anomalies and make judgment-based calls.

Collaboration is Key: The best outcomes are achieved when human expertise collaborates with technology to create efficient, innovative, and client-focused solutions.


The logistics sector’s future, particularly in 3PL, will be shaped by both technological advancements and human expertise. By valuing the human side – through continuous training, nurturing expertise, and understanding the irreplaceable role of people – 3PL companies can ensure that they deliver exceptional service and achieve lasting success in the logistics landscape. The harmonious integration of tech and touch will be the hallmark of future-ready 3PL providers.

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