Third-Party Logistics: Finding the Perfect Solution


Conveyor systems vary in just about every measurable capacity. Some are completely fixed and single purpose, while others are more flexible, able to adapt to become exactly what the operation requires. At FMH, flexible and reconfigurable systems are our calling card. Our modular conveyors have transported hundreds of millions of parcels through just about every warehousing environment one could imagine. There is no doubt though that there is capacity for expansion. Expansion in supply, scope, accuracy and in application. The industry is calling for it, and FMH Conveyors and its sister company Motion06 are delivering. Combining product portfolios has created a diverse and scalable way to tackle almost any material handling solution.

The Challenge

Modern warehousing and logistics is a changing game. For decades now, the largest players have ruled the roost. Their ability to scale and pour resources into ‘front to back’ operations has meant they can handle volumes that dwarf anything any smaller company could approach. Goliath warehouses and distribution centres would spring up in a matter of weeks and quickly see throughputs well into the millions. Impressive, but is it sustainable? That race for ginormous plots of land and resources would (at some point) come to an end. After all, both are finite and becoming ever rarer in our changing world. Many believe that time is now.

The alternative model seems to be 3PL or Third-Party Logistics. Often with reduced warehouse footprints, these partners/ providers store, sort, and distribute goods through bespoke omni-channel solutions all over the world. Their comparably smaller scale means they can populate areas that larger warehouses could not. Spreading exponentially to create a vast network of fast and efficient logistics hubs. What was once seen as a potential bottleneck, could well be the logical future of speedy and efficient distribution. The Third-Party Logistics model demands the highest levels of warehousing equipment though. Efficiency is king. So, how can FMH Conveyors and Motion06 help?

The Solution

For this example, we will draw inspiration from several 3PL companies we have had the pleasure of supplying systems to. The combination of FMH Conveyors and Motion06 equipment in this example allows us to create a dynamic and efficient flow of products all the way from ‘Goods In’ to ‘Goods Out’.


The unloading of loose parcels is typically the start of a 3PL operation. Our 3D example shows the 2 main variations of ‘Goods In’ doors seen throughout the industry. Door 01 shows a ground level shutter door and Door 02 a dock leveller. Door 01’s unloading operation is solved with the FMH Mobile Loader. This unit is specifically designed to compensate for the lack of a raised loading dock. The powerful hydraulics and integrated belt conveyor mean the height difference between the warehouse floor and the base of the trailer is managed - parcels can flow effortlessly through into the inbound area.

Door 02 can be seen unloaded using a PowerFlex 19. Given the warehouse floor and trailer bed are level, the PowerFlex provides a robust and yet flexible means of bringing in loose goods. As the trailer begins to empty, the PowerFlex can be expanded to constantly fill the gap – heavily reducing operator fatigue and manual handling.

Sortation Operation

Now the parcels have been inducted into the building, the Sortation element of the 3PL model takes place. The inbound goods could require a plethora of operations before they are ready for dispatch, and this is the start of that process. From Door 2, boxes seamlessly transition from the unloading PowerFlex 19 onto a BestConnect system. The parcels go through a manual sort to determine their route through the warehouse. If diverted, they transition to a sortation area with 4x possible destinations. 3 of these are operator packing lanes (made up of BestConnect Gravity Modules set 90° to the system), the other is a BestConnect Merge unit – combining the packages with the inbound goods from Door 01. It's here we see the benefits of an FMH and Motion06 turnkey solution.

This multifloored 3PL operation requires the transition of the sorted parcels to a mezzanine storage area. The upstream system deposits parcels onto the Motion06 modular SBC conveyors. These straight belt conveyors, when coupled with the renowned Motion06 CBC Curved conveyors, provide an efficient stream of parcels to the underside of the mezzanine. At this point, the Motion06 STU equipment takes the spotlight. The S Transport Unit uses a state-of-the-art mechanical lift and rubber chain technology to transport the packages up to the storage operation on the first floor. Its modular construction means the height can be adjusted if additional floors are added to the mezzanine at a later date. Our expert partners in mezzanine construction give us the ability to confidently adopt and integrate structures into all turnkey 3PL systems.


Here, the 2 lines of parcels reconvene at another manual sortation area. A combination of BestConnect modules and PowerFlex 15, this section of the system brings together the mezzanine level parcels (having travelled down the adjacent S Transport Unit) and the ground level packages. At this point, an operator sorts the goods to either of the 2 outbound doors. Door 03 uses much the same principle as the inbound operation seen at Door 02. A PowerFlex 15 unit is extended into the back of the trailer where the parcels are offloaded. This flexible method of dispatch loading gives the operators a variable solution depending on vehicle type and capacity. The alternative loading method is displayed on Door 04.

Door 4 depicts the FMH Small Vehicle Loader (SVL). This unit, fed by an upstream PowerFlex, gives a variation on our tradition term of ‘flexible’. The SVL is designed to load small vehicles (typically vans) from either a level access or a dock leveller. Parcels efficiently travel over its fully guarded powered belt to an operator within the vehicle. Having this unit in place creates a faster, safer and more efficient dispatch process.

The interactive layout shown on our website, gives a realistic overview of the kinds of operations and challenges seen in todays 3PL environments. FMH and Motion06 have extensive experience is supplying not just manual, but also heavily automated systems into this ever-growing corner of the industry. Our substantial combined portfolio can be implemented to solve virtually any material handling challenges – creating dynamic, scalable, and reliable sortation centres. Finding the perfect solution is difficult, let us deliver it to you.

With you for the long haul!

For enquiries into Turnkey Solutions or any of our other catalogue products, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our globally interacting Sales Team. FMH Conveyors and Motion06 would be delighted to help improve and resolve your material handling requirements.