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As third-party logistics providers look to scale up and meet demand of omnichannel retail, a new report from Extensiv reveals that technology is the tool that many are relying on to be the differentiator. 

Extensiv’s 3rd annual Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Warehouse Benchmark Report shows that as fulfillment providers respond to continuing commerce evolution, they are leaning into technology to rise to the challenge. As robotics and AI dominate industry discussion, third-party logistics providers anticipate a more-than-doubling of their use of robotics, with an expected increase of 133% . 

The key organizations goals of adopting new technology surround increased productivity and operational efficiency, as can be seen by the top three expected tech investments for 2023: billing and invoicing (32%), mobile barcode scanning (27%), and reporting and analytics (25%). On average, 3PLs are planning to implement 1.5 new technologies into their business in the coming year. 

Image source: Extensiv.

Growth is a primary driver behind technological adoption, with 60% of respondents sharing that their warehouse management system are leveraging the technology to grow 11% or more. In fact, 38% of third-party logistics providers used their warehouse management system to scale order volumes by more than 25%. 


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Increased use of automation

Automation is another critical pillar of logistics growth. Nearly 53% of 3PLs think automating processes in their warehouses is a top opportunity for 2023.

Adding more order sources is also another factor in order volume management, as the report also showed a dramatic increase in shopping cart integrations at 48% versus 33% last year and market and marketplace integrations are 25%, up from 17% in 2021.

Other key findings:

  • Many 3PLs focus on specialization, with warehouses serving 2.9 industries;
  • Bottled goods/wine and spirits and pharmaceuticals/nutraceuticals showed the largest decrease year over year, dropping 33% and 32% respectively.
  • 3PLs fared better than in past years, with 91% growing order volumes in 2022. 

Read the full report from Extensiv.

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