Automation Drives the Next Generation of 3PL Fulfillment

The unrelenting growth of e-commerce is fundamentally changing the third-party logistics (3PL) industry. To stay competitive and meet increasing consumer expectations for on-time and accurate deliveries, many retailers are tapping 3PL providers to augment their order fulfillment capabilities. While the omnichannel fulfillment sector is the fastest-growing segment of the 3PL industry, these providers inherit many of the same market challenges faced by their retail customers. 

Retailers are finding themselves relying on 3PL providers to meet growing consumer demands in the e-commerce space. 3PL providers must be able to have high throughput and order accuracy rates and meet delivery expectations. Because there is such a need for 3PL fulfillment, these providers often find themselves competing against each other for long-term contracts.

Succeeding in this competitive market space will require an accelerated transition to automation and digital technologies. 3PL providers understand the need to integrate automated solutions, but often do not know where to begin. The switch to automation must be made soon — otherwise, facing potential obsolescence and losing the business of e-commerce retailers.

This paper will explore the 3PL landscape in the distribution and fulfillment (D&F) sector and discuss the range of automation technologies available to help address mounting market challenges and demanding contract SLAs.