4PL 101

Posted by: VersaCold on Nov 28, 2019 9:00:00 AM


How 4PL can help improve your supply chain

In the world of supply chain management, fourth-party logistics (4PL) is a term that comes up often—but what does it actually mean for your company? How is it different from third-party logistics (3PL)?

At VersaCold, we define 4PL as contracted, complete management of a customer’s supply chain. This is an advanced form of outsourcing that uses industry expertise, innovative technology and deep analytics to develop customized supply chain solutions for customers. These solutions use existing customer assets, such as warehouses and transportation networks, to effectively manage and optimize the customer’s supply chain. 4PL also can have the added benefit of increasing revenue growth by opening geographic and product markets that might not be readily available to the customer without 4PL services.

While 3PL has roots in the industry tracing as far back as the 1970s, 4PL has really only entered the conversation over the past 20 years. How, exactly, does 4PL differ from 3PL? We sat down with Terry Sheppard, VersaCold’s Director of Transportation Management and 4PL Solutions, to get his perspective on 4PL and how it can add value to many supply chains.

Q: What kinds of 4PL services do you offer?
TS: We can create a custom 4PL or managed solution for anything. Our value-added services include—but aren’t limited to—road, rail, drayage, expedited, LTL, air, ocean, cross-docking, other 3PL work, or a combination of many of these.

Q: What are some benefits of a customized 4PL solution?
TS: 4PL provides customers with peace of mind because they know that their logistics provider can adapt quickly, help achieve business objectives, and make the day-to-day decisions that are right for their unique supply chains.

Some top benefits include:

  • The ease of doing business with a single point of contact
  • Operational and administrative efficiencies
  • Managed and visible communication among customers, carriers and service providers
  • KPIs and cost-saving initiatives
  • Full end-to-end solutions that provide a multitude of services for one-stop shopping

Q: How can 4PL accommodate needs both big and small?
TS: 4PL is a complete solution that allows you to bundle many pieces together. Whether a shipment starts at a VersaCold facility, finishes at a VersaCold facility, or moves directly from customer to customer, we service them all and everything in between.

Q: Can a 4PL solution fit customers with an existing supply chain network?
TS: Yes. In fact, we most often work with customers who have an existing supply chain network. 4PL for these customers often involves managing shipments of product to a new destination, managing product distribution in a new market, or coordinating product movement within an existing market.

Q: How does VersaCold measure up against other logistics companies that play in this space?
TS: One of our biggest assets is our large scale and footprint in Canada. Unlike many of our competitors, VersaCold has brick-and-mortar facilities from coast to coast. We can operate right across the country from any location.

VersaCold also has a number of skilled and dedicated employees who have been in the industry for many years. With this longevity comes a tonne of industry knowledge and skills, with the ability to deliver on a global stage.

Q: How does VersaCold ensure food safety when you’re not necessarily working with your own assets?
TS: We pride ourselves on our long-term partnerships. We continually follow up on and regulate food safety audits with our carriers, and we generate standard operating procedures with both them and our customers. Through regular cold chain assurance, we make sure we always meet—and exceed—the expectations that are required for food safety.

If you have an established supply chain network and require expertise or options in a specific lane, new market or short-term project, VersaCold can deliver a solution just for you. With the ability to leverage years of expertise, access to significant technology, and advanced capabilities, VersaCold’s 4PL solutions allow companies to rely on a strategic partner with an in-depth understanding of their needs. It’s a great fit for both customers seeking a new supply chain solution and those looking for an additional piece to supplement an existing network.

Do you have a lane that needs a better transportation solution? Are you looking for a strategic solution to a supply chain problem? Leave a comment or contact our Business Development team today and let us show you why we are the right choice for your business. Reach us at sales@versacold.com or 1-800-563-COLD.

Tags: VersaCold, 4PL