In 2020, the world of e-commerce saw unprecedented growth due to COVID-19, with even the largest e-commerce retailers like Amazon struggling to keep up with the demand.  As we know, Amazon has set the standard for order-fulfillment for fast and/or free shipping. Intuitively, a 2021 report by Shopify, a leading e-commerce store platform, shows that 67% of U.S. consumers expect either same-, next-, or two-day delivery, with a full 65% of consumers checking free-shipping thresholds before even adding something to their carts.

Moving forward into 2021, third-party logistics providers continue to adapt to this fast-changing landscape in order to meet the ever-growing need for e-commerce fulfillment.


Here are some of the key ways 3PLs can prepare for another year of growth in e-commerce:

Warehouse Automation

Looking to 2021, 3PLs will have to rely on integrated supply chain solutions like automation to increase inventory control. 3PLs benefit from cost-to-serve modeling to do so. In other words, the more 3PLs can save on their internal process efficiencies, the more profit they can make. Warehouse automation hardware like conveyor systems, print & apply solutions, inbound & shipping sorters, put-to-light technology, order-fulfillment picking devices, and infrared technology for application weighing are all worthy automation solutions that can make growth in 2021 seamless.

Automated Storage

During peak-growth, 3PLs often need to expand their warehouse capabilities. Thus, 3PLs should look to warehouse storage solutions to increase their operational storage efficiency. According to 3PL news, a 3PL industry newshub, automated warehouses use up about 40% less floor space than traditional warehouses. To decrease your operation’s footprint, automated warehouse storage solutions like push back storage rack systems, pallet flow conveyors, automated pallet storage and beyond can all reduce 3PLs storage costs.

Labor Management

3PLs looking to follow the largest e-commerce retailers lead in labor management can benefit from basic labor management practices moving into 2021. These practices include:

  • Surveying team members on their concerns or challenges with new technologies
  • Implementing change management teams to oversee changes
  • Using robust systems to track laborer performance
  • Creating systems for worker and supervisor feedback
  • And putting worker safety at the forefront of all warehouse operations

Risk Management

A 2021 3PL Logistics Study by Infosys Consulting, Penske Logistics and Penn State University showed that readiness and continuity planning is a priority for 3PLs  post-pandemic. Thus, internal strategies for unforeseen obstacles and challenges in the supply chain should be laid out for individual 3PLs in the coming year to better prepare.

In 2021, the 3PL businesses can emerge through another year of rapid growth by committing to smart practices and cost-saving hardware.  By streamlining order fulfillment processes and investing in high-quality, innovative solutions— 3PLs may come out the other side just in time to grow with the trends.


For more information on ABCO Systems’ 3PL solutions visit or contact us  HERE.