Statistics Providers: Traditional and Virtual 3PLs versus 4PLs

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Statistics Providers: Traditional and Virtual 3PLs versus 4PLs Outsourcing has become a viable option for many companies, especially the ones engaging in logistics and supply activities. Businesses engage in outsourcing for varied reasons such as reduction in operating costs, improving operations, increasing shareholder values and initiating business transformations.
The main difference between third party logistics (3PL) and fourth party logistics (4PL) is the level of service integration, responsibility and control that a customer would have (Dutton, 2009). The main actors in 3PL are logistics service providers while the main actors in 4PL are the lead logistics providers and consultants.
3PL’s mainly offer logistics service wile 4PL’s offer supply chain management. The main third party logistics providers include courier companies, freight forwarders as well as other companies which offer subcontracted transport and logistics services.4PL’s are more neutral and usually manage the process of logistics regardless of the kind of warehouse or carriers used (Stefannsson, 2006).
The main similarity between the two is that they are both involved in the process of logistics and procurement outsourcing. Why more companies are relying on 4PLS More companies now rely on 4pls than 3PL’s. This can be attributed to the fact that fourth party logistics have embraced higher levels of service integration. For instance, 4PL’s engage in integrated activities where they offer both logistics and consultancy services (Stefannsson, 2006). Further, their neutrality can also be taken as a key factor behind most companies opting to use 4PLS rather than 3PL’s
Determining the value of a 4PL Before entering into an agreement with an outsourcing agency, it is very important to first establish the value of the 4PL into one’s business. Ideally, the major factors to consider include the ease of use and cost saving mechanisms established by the fourth party logistics provider (Win, 2008). Further, the level of flexibility and control desired should be considered.
Unyson’s Logistics Solutions As devised for Big Lots, Unyson’s logistics solutions can be seen to be consistent with the role of a fourth party logistics. This can be attributed to the fact that the company has concentrated more on service integration by delivering bigger savings, more efficiency and optimization of truckload shipments (Dutton, 2009).