The Differences Between 3PL and 4PL Supply Chains


An efficient supply chain strategy can help your business’s bottom line, but how can you work out if your supply chain is as efficient as it could be? The first step is to understand the differences between third-party logistics (3PL) and fourth-party logistics (4PL) supply chains so you can decide which option is the most efficient for your particular business.

3PL vs 4PL Logistics

3PL stands for third-party logistics. In a 3PL supply chain model, a business outsources the operation of logistics to a third-party logistics company. However, the business continues to oversee and manage the logistics strategy.

By contrast, in a 4PL supply chain model, a business outsources both the operation and the management of logistics to a third-party provider. Fourth-party logistic providers focus on helping businesses to optimize their supply chains. A 4PL provider acts as your single point of contact for the full supply chain, which can result in massive simplification and time savings for your business.

What is an Efficient Supply Chain?

Both 3PL and 4PL supply chain models can be a lot more efficient than managing and operating all logistics in-house. When you outsource your packaging and transportation operations to a third-party provider, you benefit from the expertise of companies that have devoted themselves to optimizing logistics and transport.

When a third-party logistics provider manages transportation on behalf of your business, your warehouse storage and trailer storage needs dramatically decrease. As a result, you can reduce upfront costs for your business, and the increased efficiency may even allow you to save money – and grow profits – over the long run.

How Can You Make Your Supply Chain More Efficient?

If you want to make your business’s supply chain more efficient, it is a good idea to consider switching to a 3PL or 4PL supply chain model. A 3PL supply chain model allows you to maintain control over your supply chain strategy while outsourcing day to day operations to a third party. Meanwhile, a 4PL supply chain model can deliver huge benefits in terms of supply chain optimization, therefore helping your business to operate as efficiently as possible.

At MTS Logistics, we stand ready to help you evaluate your options for your business and help you save money over the long-term by working with a trusted logistics partner.