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Supply Chain Automation - How a 3PL can help your business

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Why You Should Partner With A tech-enabled 3pl

There are many ways a 3PL can increase efficiency and cut overall costs. One such way is through supply chain automation. Supply chain automation is the process of automating different contact points throughout the supply chain to increase efficiency or remove hurdles.

These upgrades create a more seamless experience and often are reflected in the services provided by a 3PL. That is why finding a 3PL provider that uses these supply chain operations is beneficial.

The Benefits of Supply Chain Automation for 3PL Clients

There are many benefits from supply chain automation that trickle down to your business from the 3PL. Primarily, quicker turnaround time, improved accuracy, and cost savings.

Automation of Manual Tasks

With supply chain automation, the automation of manual tasks is a key area where time and money are saved. Using software or computer AI, a 3PL can improve the efficiency and accuracy of many warehouse and distribution processes.

Processes that can be improved include orders, assigning picking slots, invoicing and paying invoices, picking and packing, and more.

This improved efficiency in the above areas creates a more seamless 3PL process, which guarantees your products and orders are getting where they need to when they need to.

The automation of what were previously manual tasks saves 3PLs time and money, which saves you time and money as well.

Human Errors Are Minimized

While not always an issue in a well-run and managed 3PL warehouse, mistakes do happen. When they do, they can affect everyone in a big way. Damages goods, slow downs, misplaced products, and expired goods are just a few human-related errors that can occur in the workplace.

With an automated supply chain, the reduction in manual tasks means less room for human error. While human workers are not entirely replaced, robots or AI software have been able to work with their human counterpart and free up team members for other tasks.

If you’re looking for a 3PL provider, you may have concerns that one offering the latest in automation technology might be a pricier option. . However, any higher costs are be offset by the drastically reduced errors caused by human elements.

Increased Visibility Through Technology

If you are using 3PL client to fulfill your end customers’ orders, providing those end customers with visibility is a must. Whether it is accurate tracking, real-time visibility into the packing process, or something else, visibility requires technology.

One key factor of supply chain automation is how technology is required to provide this automation. As technology continues to improve the services a 3PL can offer its clients also grow. One desirable element that goes hand in hand with the technology needed for supply chain automation is increased visibility.

The technology required for supply chain automation needs to also keep accurate logs and data to provide this automation for the 3PL. This information can then be transformed into relevant information for you and your customers.

For example:
A software program automates the delivery route for your 3PL’s drives to provide the most efficient route, then that data is being calculated and stored with the 3PL. The 3PL can then use this data to provide accurate tracking and ETA for your customer's order.
An inventory management system that catalogs products and volume for the 3PL and can provide data to the client regarding the amount of stock remaining and when it is time to send more shipments to your 3PL.

What Does This Mean For You

What does supply chain automation mean for you and your customers; does it mean an improved experience based on new and evolving technologies?

With reduced costs from neutralizing human error, and more efficient warehouse, and distribution processes, your 3PL provider can provide a more accurate service with less additional costs from error and time.

These savings of time and money trickle down to your customers making them happy as well.

What Can Be Automated?


The warehouse is the most prominent setting where 3PL supply chain automation can be implemented. In our previous blogs, we have discussed the benefits of WMS and IMS in the warehouse. These are two huge technologies that are incorporated into supply chain automation.


As mentioned earlier in the blog, transportation is another large sector that can be automated to achieve better efficiency. This automation includes automatic route planning, automated temperature control and regulation of vehicles, and in some newer but less frequent cases, self-driving, automated vehicles.


Supply chain automation is a remarkable movement forward for many industries, especially 3PLs. Since their job is navigating the supply chain on behalf of their clients, a company that is at the forefront of these technological innovations can adopt early and provide the best for its customers.

Partnering with a tech-enabled, automation-enabled 3PL can be greatly beneficial for you and your customers if you value cost and time-saving initiatives. While an upfront setup cost may be a deterrence to some, the peace of mind and technological growth that comes with tested and tried automation in the supply chain can save you in the long run.

Learn What Technology Birkby Can Offer You Today

At Birkby, we offer state-of-the-art technology, flexibility, and over 100 years in the industry. Partner with us today to see how we can elevate your business.

Looking for a 3PL Provider?

Contact us today to learn more about Birkby’s comprehensive 3PL solutions.

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