3PL Solutions

To stay focused on their core business, many companies turn to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider for their fulfillment needs. A 3PL must be experienced in various types of fulfillment strategies since their client base may include everything from e-commerce to wholesale. This may present challenges to a 3PL if multiple channels must be serviced from the same facility. Because the typical fulfillment contract with a client is 3 to 5 years, the introduction of expensive automation may be difficult due to long ROI periods and varying types of solutions that may work well for the current client’s product but not for the next client who replaces them. The experts at AHS LLC considers all these factors to understand each client’s requirements when developing a solution that meets both current and future needs.  

StorageBot carrying outbound order totes

Manual Process for 3PL

A manual process is recommended with businesses just entering the marketplace, daily activity levels are low, acquiring capital dollars is difficult, picking is mainly at the bulk level, or there is uncertainty regarding future activity levels.


Large conveyor system for a 3PL facility

Semi-Automated Process for 3PL

A semi-automated process is the next step in the progression from a manual process. As daily activity levels increase, more efficient methods are required to handle the increased throughput and service level requirements. The transition from manual to semi-automated involves the introduction of conveyors, packaging equipment, and a more advanced warehouse control system.


Robotic arm picking from a tote on mobile robot

Automated Process for 3PL

Automated processes are employed in fulfillment centers that have high daily volume demands consistently. They utilize many of the components of a semi-automated system but replace labor-intensive operations (such as picking) with highly efficient machines. Using goods-to-person technologies such as shuttles and autonomous robots; reduces order cycle times even further than a semi-automated solution but at a higher capital cost.


3PL Customers

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3PL Components

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Depending on the need(s), one or more of these technologies may be used in a 3PL solution.

Learn more about the technologies utilized and our partners involved during the entire process from conception to completion.

Exotec Skypod System ASRS

Automated Storage Retrieval

An Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS) is a combination of equipment and controls that handle, store and retrieve materials as needed with precision, accuracy, and speed.

Tilt Tray Sorter

Also known as a loop sorter, a Tilt Tray is a continuous loop sortation conveyor that consists of individual trays traveling in the same direction to speed up order fulfillment.

Conveyor system in a large warehouse

Minimal Conveyor

These systems and conveyors are designed and manufactured for use in specialized facilities that conduct unique processes. Some examples include spiral, telescopic, flexible, and drive-out conveyors.

Order picking cart for ecommerce fulfillment

Picking Cart

Picking carts are used to move items from one point to another; it can reduce work-related stress and fatigue, and improve accuracy and efficiency, reducing loss due to incorrect counts.

Overhead view of large conveyance system in a warehouse


With the ability to rapidly transport product and both sort and track progress throughout a facility, conveyor systems remain one of the most popular material handling technologies.

Worker operating a loader in tall warehouse racking

Loaders and Unloaders

Trailer loading and unloading can be simplified using extendable / retractable conveyors. These conveyors can range from inexpensive gravity conveyor up to traversable powered conveyors. The use of conveyors improves the speed and ergonomics of the trailer load / unload process.

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