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Third-party logistics (3PL) providers in the fulfillment sector face many of the same market challenges as their retail customers — and the growing shortage of available labor is at the top of this list. In the past, 3PLs have simply scaled up their workforce to meet service contracts. But to meet e-commerce requirements, they’ll need new strategies that aren’t as dependent on adding labor. As a result, many are accelerating their transitions to automation and digital technologies. 
To meet SLAs without cutting into profit margins, managers need to be able to quickly identify underperforming labor resources and process bottlenecks. So, how do you do that? Our experts have identified 10 simple ways companies like yours can identify operational inefficiencies and address them before they impact the bottom line.

Smarter Robots Will Be Critical to Handling DC Order Volumes, Speeds and Complexities

Today’s distribution center (DC) operations are struggling to keep pace with the speed and complexity of modern e-commerce. U.S. online distribution volume grew faster in 2017 than it has since 2011,¹ and continues to accelerate at around 25 percent each year.²

Integrating Various DC Automation Systems Under One Umbrella

Warehouse execution systems (WES) have advanced significantly in recent years, securing an essential place among other types of distribution software as a key enabler of productivity required to succeed in today’s competitive retail climate.

Order Picking Technology

Robotic Each Picking Boosts Speed and Efficiency

AI-powered autonomous robots use sophisticated gripping and vision technology to augment your human workforce in each order picking applications. Integrated in collaboration with Soft Robotics, these picking robots are able to grasp objects with dexterity comparable to the human hand, retrieving, sorting and fulfilling orders at rates of more than 600 picks per robot per hour. 

Robotic Unloader

Make Unloading Efficient and Automated

Advanced machine learning enables robotic unloaders to unload trucks, trailers and shipping containers in less than half the time while handling products with greater care. 

Using a combination of a vacuum arm and a conveyor sweep system, these robots are capable of handling diverse case sizes and weights, even from trailers that haven’t been loaded with robots in mind. Products are discharged in a semi-singulated flow, improving the efficiency of downstream processes, and no fleet modifications are required.

Picking processes have a tremendous impact on the core business of distribution centers. It’s estimated that more than 50 percent of warehouse operational costs can be attributed to picking — quite possibly because picking processes are among the most labor-intensive, critical tasks shared by fulfillment operations.

Robotic Sorter Induction

Improve Productivity and Reallocate Staff

Robotic sorter induction systems can handle a variety of common package sizes and types, including boxes, polybags and jiffy bags. Designed to fit existing workflows and handle the typical products seen in postal and e-commerce applications, the solution keeps integration costs and technical risks low. Automated label orientation improves the efficiency of sortation systems further down the line, while optimized sorter tray loading enables your site to handle larger product volumes.

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