3rd Party Warehouse Management

Jan 28 2022

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3rd party logistics (or 3PL) refers to the outsourcing of ecommerce logistical procedures such as inventory management, warehousing, and fulfillment to a third-party company. With the tools and infrastructure to automate retail order fulfillment, 3PL providers enable ecommerce retailers to achieve more.

Third-party logistics, abbreviated as 3PL, is synonymous with fulfillment warehouse or fulfillment center. A 3PL warehouse offers many of the same services as order fulfillment providers.

A third-party logistics provider serves in the capacity of an eCommerce fulfillment provider. It offers all of the services necessary for outsourcing logistics operations.

Different third-party logistics (3PL) service providers specialize in various types of fulfillment and warehousing. 3PL logistics is the most prevalent model in commercial transportation. It entails the transportation and administration of all services performed; however, it also includes additional services. They include inventory management and warehousing, labeling, product packaging, customs brokerage, and information technology services such as tracking items and determining delivery status.

Third-party logistics fulfilment/ 3pl fulfillment refers to contracting out the process of retail order fulfillment to a team of experts. This includes taking orders, choosing and packing them, managing inventory, shipping, and warehousing. By outsourcing fulfillment to a third-party logistics provider, clients can focus less on order fulfillment and more on growing their businesses.

3pl solutions enable organizations to outsource all aspects of operational logistics, from warehousing through delivery. It frees up time for businesses to devote their resources and ingenuity to tasks that are more critical to the brand's growth, such as sales, marketing, and product development.

Although the extent of outsourced operational logistics services varies, comprehensive 3pl solutions often encompasses all aspects of the logistics supply chain: transportation, warehousing, picking and packing, inventory forecasting, order fulfillment, packaging, and freight forwarding.

3pl examples include C.H. Robinson, XPO Logistics, UPS Supply Chain Solutions, J.B. Hunt (JBI, DCS & ICS) and many other organization. Firms operating in 3pl business provide customers with cost-effective, end-to-end supply chain logistics services.


At the most fundamental level, a 3pl company provides logistics support for specific facets—and occasionally all facets—of shipping operations. 3pl firms are typically linked into a business's warehousing and shipping processes. By scalability and customization, third party logistics companies can best fulfill customers' unique requirements.

A 3pl company is a professional organization that provides a range of distribution, storage, transport and fulfillment services to customers. Clients outsource these sorts of activities to the 3PL company and rely on the 3PL company to give end-to-end administration of specialized services. 3PL providers are an important aspect of supply chain management and they serve the great majority of large enterprises throughout the world.

Logistics services offer a variety of services, and many third-party logistics companies specialize in specific segments of the supply chain. The majority of logistical services fall into the following categories:

Procurement: The process of ordering and receiving items from other points in the supply chain.

Order fulfillment: Taking orders from clients, choosing and packaging them, and arranging for their completion and shipment.

Storage: Provision of temporary storage for commodities in warehouses and other comparable facilities

Transportation: Arranging for the consolidation, deconsolidation, management, and transportation of products

Additionally, 3pl services encompass other aspects such as IT system integration, inventory management, data sharing, reporting, and reverse logistics.

A reason for using 3pl services is the flexibility to scale space, manpower, and transportation in response to inventory demands. Businesses that operate on a seasonal basis can benefit from stress-free transitions between industry peaks and valleys, as well as the option to employ additional space and resources as needed. Reducing excess carrying costs is also an exceptional purpose of 3pl.

3pl vs 4pl

Fourth-party logistics (4PL) providers, sometimes referred to as lead logistics providers (LLPs), are a type of logistics firm that performs many of the same functions as third-party logistics (3PL) providers but with more accountability and duty.

This is shown in the management and delegation of supply chain functions, such as freight transportation, order fulfillment, and management of several third-party logistics providers (3PLs).

The 3PLs that comprise a 4PL's network operate independently and have their own operating structure. Each 3PL has its own security and customer service standards and procedures.

3pl vs 4pl difference is that 4pl has control and accountability over the customer's supply chain. Not all 3PLs will convert to 4PL status, and the primary reason is that they may not choose to offer that particular service. Additionally, some organizations may offer only the 4PL service, relying on a network of 3PLs to perform the physical work; the 4PL then offers the whole visibility element necessary to ensure the supply chain's total responsibility to the client. There is such a thing as 5pl, but it is merely a four-tier provider that manages many clients via different solutions and technologies."

Unlike a 3PL, a 4PL creates a layer of separation between the merchant and the 3PL by managing the connection with the 3PL instead of the merchant.

Role of a Third Party Logistics Company

Third party logistics, or 3PL, is a service that enables organizations to outsource or utilize third-party firms to complete supply chain operations- this is the role of 3pl in supply chain. 3PLs can help you discover and close supply chain gaps. Their experience, best practices, and technology may be integrated into your business processes to address the most complex logistics management difficulties and transform your supply chain into a more agile and responsive operation - a must in today's volatile market climate. Collaboration with a third-party logistics provider is a partnership that must be viewed as such, not as a commercial relationship.

Examples of 3pl and 4pl companies include UPS 4PL Services, Get Competitive 4PL Quotes, Accenture 4PL Services, XPO Logistics: 4PL Services, 4PL Insights LLC, Geodis Wilson 4PL Provder, Deloitte: 4PL, C.H. Robinson, UPS Supply Chain Solutions and J.B. Hunt (JBI, DCS & ICS).

The role of third party logistics in supply chain management is to provide all supply chain services necessary to get a product from its raw components to a retail shelf. This includes distribution, warehousing, and fulfillment, among other services.

Not all courier firms have the financial means to establish their logistics. Especially not the huge multinational corporations with a widespread presence in many countries. As a result, courier businesses frequently rely on the assistance of third-party logistics (3PL) organizations. As with any company choice, choosing a third-party logistics provider has a number of advantages and disadvantages. Some of the advantages and disadvantages of third party logistics are listed below:


  • Specialization-3PL firms are extremely specialized since they were founded with a single objective in mind: to provide logistical support to a variety of enterprises.
  • Access to advanced new technology- Due to their high level of expertise, third-party logistics providers typically have access to more advanced technology than in-house logistics teams. The new technology assists in both lowering the amount of time spent on a task and in reducing costs.
  • Access to required facilities- It's difficult for a business to obtain the warehouse space and transportation necessary for the shipment of commodities with a large volume or size. On the other hand, 3PL firms virtually always have such facilities at their disposal.
  • Ability to handle large number of clients at a time-Hiring third-party logistics providers enables courier firms to manage a large number of clients concurrently.


Inconsistencies on the part of a third-party firm may result in complications.

Communication problems

What is 4pl

Fourth party logistics, or 4PL, is a term that refers to the process of outsourcing logistics activities to a single partner. The partner will be responsible for analyzing, planning, implementing, operating, and monitoring the client's integrated supply chain solutions.

The 4PL model shifts logistics procurement away from Third Party Logistics (3PL) and toward 4PL. The single partner supervises and administers the supply chain on behalf of the customer by supervising a network of warehouses, shipping firms, freight forwarders, and agents.

Top 3pl companies 2020

The top 3pl companies 2020 include:

  1. United Parcel Service (UPS)
  2. Deutsche Post: DHL Group
  3. FedEx Corporation
  4. Kuehne + Nagel Inc.
  5. Nippon Express
  6. DB Schenker Logistics
  7. GXO Logistics
  8. DSV Panalpina
  9. Nippon Yusen (NYK)
  10. CJ Logistics

Top 3pl companies 2021 include:

  1. C.H. Robinson Worldwide
  2. XPO Logistics
  3. UPS Supply Chain Solutions
  4. Expeditors International of Washington
  5. J.B. Hunt Transport Services
  6. Kuehne + Nagel Americas
  7. DHL Supply Chain
  8. Transportation Insight Holding Co.
  9. Total Quality Logistics
  10. Burris Logistics

Cimetra warehouse

Cimetra Warehouse is a third-party logistics (3PL) provider based in Nashville, Tennessee. With over 50 years of managerial expertise in the third-party logistics market, Cimetra enables many businesses to run more efficiently by managing their logistics and public warehousing needs in Nashville.

MW is also 3pl logistics provider, it is a non-asset 3PL that works with asset-based partners to acquire shipping capacity and services across numerous modes of transportation, including over-the-road, rail, and bulk/tanker alternatives. Another reputable logistics company is m&w transportation tracking.

Some of the risks involved in using 3pl include:

  • Lack of control over many aspects of the business
  • Increased costs
  • Lowering of standards
  • Breaches of confidentiality
  • Over-reliance on a single 3pl

A reason for using 3pl services quizlet is cost savings and the freedom to focus on core strengths.