The Complete Guide to 4PL and How It Is Changing the Supply Chain Industry

What is 4PL?

4PL stands for fourth-party logistics and is the outsourcing logistical operations to a single partner. The single partner manages a combination of warehouses, shipping companies, freight forwarders, and representatives on behalf of the client and regulates and maintains the supply chain.

How Can 4PL Help Companies

A 4PL is a supply chain integrator that assembles and controls the resources, competencies, and technology of its own organisation with those of complementary service providers to create a full supply chain solution.


Customers will receive help from a solution-oriented supply chain design because 4PL providers adopt an end-to-end approach.

This means your supply chain will be completely tailored to your individual demands while still taking into account industry standards. As a result, you’ll be able to streamline vendor administration and improve lead times.


Many 3PLs rely on their own assets, such as transportation and warehousing, to supply their services.

Service is more strategic with 4PLs, which means your partner may focus more on finding the most suitable suppliers and providers for your needs.


Simplicity is one of the key advantages of outsourcing any corporate function. When you work with a 4PL provider, you get a single point of contact for all of your supply chain management needs.

That way, you won’t have to waste time and money trying to keep track of all the vendors in your traditional supply chain.


Partnering with a 4PL provider helps you migrate from distribution to fulfilment supply models. As a result, you can avoid inbound distributors and obtain materials directly from manufacturers.

This allows you to keep control of your supply chain while also lowering prices and lowering costs.


A 4PL provider acts as a control tower, keeping track of all supply chain data. This enables the organization to transform unstructured and raw data into actionable information.

By using analytics, the company can easily monitor specific information, such as employee costs and service levels.

Benefits of using a 4pl provider

The use of fourth-party logistics has been on the rise in recent years. This is because it offers several advantages for companies who use it. Some of these benefits are:


With the expertise and experience of a 4PL logistics provider, you will be able to save time and money. They supply services such as warehousing, inventory management, transportation, distribution, as well as other value-added services.

In addition, majority of 4pl providers have access to a global network of postal and parcel delivery partners around the world, so they can negotiate the most cost-efficient shipping rates.


4PL’s offer the convenience and security of an in-house logistics department with all of the benefits of outsourcing. Having a partner that will vouch and advocate for your company’s bottom line without the costly commitment of equipment and assets needed for effective logistics is just one benefit of a 4PL service. 


They act as a single point of contact for the entire supply chain and acts and support a company to achieve their business goals. For example, when a company’s goal is to expand, 4PL providers can help it in doing so with minimal disruption to normal operations. 4PLs have ties and access to the supply chain industry, allowing them to easily support firms during expansion and growth.


4PL is a single point of contact for the entire supply chain. Fourth-party logistics (4PL) providers deliver a higher level of service to their customers than 3PLs. Rather than focusing solely on logistics, 4PLs partner with industrial clients to oversee the end-to-end supply chain.

4PL services should include procurement, materials planning, inventory management, inventory financing, warehousing, order management, order fulfilment, returns management, supply chain design, and more.


Acting as a single point of contact that oversees the whole supply chain, a 4PL provider can focus on managing a specific scope of service and close the gaps as well as diagnosing areas of risk. A 4PL service provider will consistently look to improve and close gaps while strengthening oversight to prevent future problems. 


Customers and retailers are interacting in new ways due to the growth a ecommerce, and the supply chain management process is evolving as a result. A 4PL service provider empowers a company to maximise operations and to focus on your customers by overseeing all the operations within a supply chain. Even if your business is using multiple logistics services, the 4PL business takes care of all of it to make sure the product gets from A to B.

Why choose 4PL over 3PL

Natural disasters, global conflicts, and resource shortages will continue to put pressure on industrial supply chains for the foreseeable future. While a 3PL may have sufficed in years past, 4PLs offer a more valuable service that includes 3PL capabilities as well as procurement, sourcing, financing, and other value-add services.

4PL acts as a true global supply chain partner. It oversees managing and controlling all activities inside the supply chain network, while 3PL is concerned with logistics operations.

For more information on how to optimise your supply chain, chat with us today


We leverage our People, Processes, and Innovative Technology to transform supply chains and delivery company-wide value.