What is a 3PL? How can one help you? A Quick Guide to 3PL Models


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Forward thinking companies are increasingly turning to third-party logistics (3PL) providers as transportation management partners to take the pain out of moving goods through their supply chain, from raw material suppliers to end customers.

You may know the term “3PL” but are you aware of the various models that exist? What does a company look for when selecting a partner?

Make sure you know what a 3PL company can do to help your business improve performance and achieve competitive advantage. When gathering information about 3PLs, companies should interview only the most experienced, reputable providers who best complement their business and seek to understand their business goals.

How can you know whether a broker, freight forwarder, warehouse service provider or enterprise 3PL is the best choice as a partner for your company? Does putting products and information into someone else’s hands mean losing control of your business? To help you decide we provide a quick guide to the basic logistics service models in the marketplace.

  • Brokers operate strictly on a transactional model.
  • Freight forwarders consolidate shipments and perform distribution functions.
  • Warehouse 3PLs lease and manage warehouses on a company’s behalf.
  • Enterprise 3PLs provide logistics solutions that impact the entire enterprise.

When you’re matching your logistics needs to a logistics provider, be sure the the partner is a cultural fit and is completely aligned with your company’s definition of success.


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