What are 3PL and 4PL Logistics Services?

What Are 3PL and 4PL Logistics Services?

Logistics terminology is quite confusing for anyone who understands layman’s language. There are distinct parties involved in logistics, i.e. Party Logistics. The numbers in this regard begin from 1PL to 5PL. We are providing a simple overview of 1PL to 5PL for proper clarification of these terms. Please check out the forth-given definition of all 5 five terms-

  • 1PL stands for the manufacturer, i.e. the farmer in the case of the fresh produce. 
  • 2PL stands for transportation as well as storage, i.e. the courier delivery of the product from the production to stores. 
  • 3PL denotes the role of logistics service providers. These companies have fleet trucks and transportation mediums to fulfill the logistics work. 
  • 4PL signifies supply chain management, wherein all the manufacturer's work is outsourced to the logistics company. 
  • 5PL denotes the solution optimization and complete business solution that enables the logistics company to take care of the business from production to delivery

Now that you are clear about the party logistics, it is easier for you to dig deeper into understanding the functionality of 3PL and 4PL. In the next step, we will get well-versed with full-fledged knowledge of 3PL logistics service

What are (3PL) third-party logistics services?

Businesses nowadays prefer outsourcing to handle all operations in-house. This decision definitely contributes to enhancing productivity and efficiencySuch growth is possible with the use of 3PL, i.e. third-party logistics services, and you can focus on customer satisfaction as well as marketing more aggressively. The whole purpose of 3PL facilitation is to store your business inventory and be a link between customers and manufacturing units.

3PL service is quite necessary to act as a fulfillment company for your business. 

Process of third-party logistics Services


What are the benefits of third-party logistics Services For Your Business?

  • Drive Cost Savings - Your company’s supply chain functions will surely be lesser extensive than those of specialized logistics firms. You can save a lot on drive costs as a benefit of their exclusive relationships within the logistics arena. 
  • Expert Fulfillment - Supply chain logistics is not that simple and can be an overwhelming task without the help of experts. The shipping, warehousing, and fulfillment by experts are something you cannot skimp on. This is what 3PL logistics service provides you while streamlining the whole process. 
  • Shorter Delivery Time - 3PL service providers will surely have specialization in shipping services. Their significant delivery fleets will speed up the entire delivery process and provide same-day delivery to your customers
  • Reverse Logistics - It is very disheartening when the customer returns your product. But, it is a part and parcel of the business. In addition, you do not have to bother to go and collect the returns as 3PL facilitation includes the reverse logistics in the deal

DocShipper info: To provide our customers a complete experience of supply chain, we launched our 3PL department with an Italian warehouse to ensure the world's distribution of your products at unbeatable prices! To have further information about this service, contact us !

What is Fourth Party Logistics Services (4PL)?

4PL fourth-party logistics service is an addition to the existing 3PL logistics services.

In this operational model, not just 3PL services are provided, but another supply chain facilitation is also given.

There is a management of resources, infrastructure, technology, and other concerning aspects of a particular business.

4PL logistics comprises one partner (company) who takes care of all the outsourced logistics along with accessing, building running, and designing the supply chain solutions. 

What Are the Inclusions of 4PL Logistics?

Entire 3PL facilitation

Outsourcing 3pl logistics plays a vital role in supply chain management and contributes to achieving customer satisfaction without compromising the delivery cost and time.

Capacity utilization

A measure of how intensively time and resources like a machine, tool, worker, etc. are used to produce a good service.Inventory management

Carrier performance 

Optimized carrier management is the best solution in order to grow your business and remain competitive.

Network analysis and design

Strategic analysis of logistical networks is designed to minimize costs, maximize client service levels, and increase profits.

To accomplish these goals, strategic decision-making must be balanced between production, transportation, procurement, and inventory management.

Business planning and execution

The basic objective of any logistics strategy is to deliver the right products to the right customers at the right time, at least at a reasonable cost, with accurate planning and effective execution.

Project management assistance

The proper project management assists to plan, implementing, and checking the efficiency, effective flow, and storage of goods, services, and information from the point of origin to the point of consumption.

Reverse logistics

Efficient reverse logistics is prominent in supply chain management that moves goods from customers back to the sellers or manufacturers.

reverse logistics

 Reverse logistics start from the consumer's end, moving backward through the supply chain to the distributor or from the distributor to the manufacturer.

A proper strategy for logistics

According to the logistics, the strategy is to search for an efficient manner of distributing goods and maintaining an efficient and professional level of service.

All these services are possible with the control room and extensive resources as components included in 4PL.

What are the benefits of 4PL?

There are plenty of benefits of the 4PL logistics service, and one of the primary advantages is trusted advocacy.

The 4PL providers get into a long-term commitment to the clients. This association is a valued partnership that is quite effective to achieve the common goal for the business.

The fourth-party logistics are quite responsive in terms of customer connectivity and make use of the online interface to fulfill the modern demands of the customers.

The main idea of this logistics service is to eliminate inefficiency and streamline the work for the business.

In short, corporate expansion is more than possible and feasible while availing the assistance of professional partners under 4PL logistics services. 

DocShipper Advice : A long-term relationship with your 3PL/4PL is a key for a company to thrive. If you're willing to build this kind of relation, contact us!

Understand 4PL Logistics in Detail

it-systemIf you are trying to understand the 4PL service in layman’s language, then consider it as a management layer. This layer addresses the 2PL, 3PL, and other supply chain requirements and takes the business to a new height of success. The idea is to integrate different attributes and distinct resources to put supply chain and IT systems at work for a company. There is a solution-oriented approach as the design is done as per the client’s demand.

Vendor management is another crucial aspect that is well-taken care of by the 4PL logistics service provider. Managing different vendors is a requirement of any business, but it can be really difficult without outsourced assistance.

So, 4PL caters to this need pretty well. The supply chain present in 4PL logistics is IT-enabled. There is a set-up of an end-to-end IT platform for the integration of supply chain clients.

The best part about 4PL for any business is, that there is only one partner to contact for all the management and operation needs.

Distinct industries like – Food and Beverage, Electronics, Oil and Gas, IT, Mining, Textile, and many more can make significant use of 4PL logistics services. Therefore, it is evident that 4PL is surely a great solution for numerous companies out there. 

What Is the Major Difference between 3PL and 4PL Services?


Although both 3PL and 4PL are relevant terms in the world of outsourcing of eCommerce logistics as well as fulfillment, still there are many differences.

So, read further with us to understand the differences in both logistics services that follow separate channels for goal fulfillment.

3PL Services

  1. 3PL is a logistics facilitation with the ownership of transportation and warehouses.
  2. The business owners are directly involved in working in the case of 3PL logistics service.
  3. 3PL logistics service focuses on logistical aspects of the business and also manages daily operations
  4. Third-party logistics are meant to be used by small to medium businesses
  5. Third-party logistics is more inclined towards a specific niche and has a limited perspective

4PL Services

  1. There is no asset ownership in 4PL logistics services. 
  2. The entire supply chain, including the functionality of 3PL, is handled by the 4PL service provider.
  3. 4PL takes care of the logistics and the fulfillment while managing optimization and integrations
  4. Fourth-party logistics are highly beneficial for medium to large businesses.
  5. The fourth-party service provider offers a wide range of solutions and can cover all the aspects of 3PL facilitation as well. 

Docshipper Tip : You need help on your vendors management, or concerns towards your supply chain? Our 3PL experts can help you, write to us !

Author Opinion :

So, despite the differences, both 3PL and 4PL are benefits depending on the requirement of your business.

We would highly recommend you to check out the specializations and expertise of CBD Movers in the world of logistics.

This company can be your best guide to take your logistics and operations to a different level and gain success in your specific business niche. 

Also, if you have any question left, feel free to contact us !

This article helped you ? Share it with your friends and co-workers !

Thanks once again for counting on DocShipper to give you the best tips and tricks to improve your business management ! 

To give it an end, we would recommend you to check on our expertise in 3PLif you had any needs in this domain in which we excel.

Author Bio

Edden Smith has been associated with CBD EX For more than 2 years.

She is a passionate Blogger and had been into the Transportation and logistics Industry for quite a long time.

CBD EX is a leading freight & logistics company in Melbourne that provides all kinds of logistics services, third-party logistics, supply chain, taxi truck, warehousing, delivery services, and freight forwarding services throughout Australia.

DocShipper Advise : We help you with the entire sourcing process so don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!

  • Having trouble finding the appropriate product? Enjoy our sourcing services, we directly find the right suppliers for you!
  • You don't trust your supplier? Ask our experts to do quality control to guarantee the condition of your goods!
  • Do you need help with the logistics? Our international freight department supports you with door to door services!
  • You don't want to handle distribution? Our 3PL department will handle the storage, order fulfillment, and last-mile delivery!

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