What does fourth-party logistics mean?
You've probably heard of third-party logistics, or 3PL for short, which involves hiring a third party to manage the logistics of a business. In addition, the logistics industry often talks about fourth-party logistics (4PL), which has many similarities with third-party logistics but takes logistics management a step further.
A term often used in the context of fourth-party logistics, and which describes the service well, is 'Supply chain management'. What it's all about is organising and managing the flow of a company's imports and exports. That is, making sure the logistics chain works from start to finish.
Things to consider before hiring a fourth-party
Before hiring a fourth party to manage your company's logistics, it is important that their knowledge of supply chain management is up to date and well grounded. You should also share a view on the meaning of the logistics chain. Consensus is essential, not least to develop clear procedures and effective strategies that make it easier to keep track of the entire supply chain. This can be hampered by a lack of information from other parties involved, such as manufacturers and retailers.
Thus, you should focus on finding a fourth party with good organisational and communication skills. When you've come this far, you'll hopefully find that the advantages of fourth-party logistics outweigh the disadvantages.
Advantages and disadvantages of fourth-party logistics
A company with its own logistics department does not always have the resources to work purely on logistics. If this means that more tasks beyond logistics management are added to that department, it can lead to negative constraints for employees.
An external actor working only with logistics often has more opportunities to work up a really broad network. This can be seen as an advantage, as at best it leads to better developed strategies and higher cost-effectiveness.
Hiring a fourth party can therefore be more profitable both financially and in terms of time - money and time that could be invested in developing other parts of the business.
How can PostNord's services help?
We are constantly working to develop and improve services and tools that can benefit you as a customer. If you are a contract customer, you can easily log in to the PostNord Business Portal to, for example, book shipping and send parcels using our online tools. You can also choose to connect your webshop to our services using our various integration solutions.
We also offer a well-curated and readable collection page with information and articles on logistics. Our articles are available to everyone and do not require a login.