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.
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.
- Carton Flow Rack
- Autonomous Mobile Robots
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.
- Robots/Autonomous Mobile Robots
- Pick/Put to Light
- Pick Modules
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.
Automated Storage Retrieval
Tilt Tray Sorter
Loaders and Unloaders