What’s the difference between a 3PL and a 4PL?
As you explore your options for logistics management, you might also come across the term fourth-party logistics (or 4PL). A 4PL provider has a lot of overlap with a 3PL company, with one notable difference:
- 3PL: Handles the logistics of inventory management and inventory levels, as well as a range of order fulfillment services, including product procurement, warehousing, packing, and transportation.
- 4PL: Handles the entire supply chain for a client and is the single point of contact for all related parties.
These two service providers undoubtedly have a lot in common.
But, the simplest way to think about it is that a 4PL will act as the main point of contact for all parties and aspects of supply chain management, while a 3PL stays focused on the logistics. With a 3PL, the business owner, retailer, or ecommerce company still manages the oversight and control of the whole supply chain.