The following definition is one of the most simplistic of all we’ve found, from TechTarget:
A 3PL (third-party logistics) is a provider of outsourced logistics services. Logistic services encompass anything that involves management of the way resources are moved to the areas where they are required. The term comes from the military.
But, if you are a shipper, or work in the industry, you understand there are, what we like to call “50 Shades of Third Party Logistics Providers.” What we mean by that is despite the pretty simple and very accurate definition stated above, depending on what day it is, what discipline you’re looking to improve in logistics, or even when you started working in logistics, everyone has a different definition of third party logistics or 3PL.
Further, with as many types of 3PL that are out there you not only have to understand the definition and the various types of 3PL you also have to understand how to position yourself as a shipper in order to consider working with a 3PL.
After you’ve made considerations, you then have to make a selection of working with one or perhaps several 3PLs. It’s not an easy task for any shipper. Our goal is to educate shippers as much as possible when it comes to understanding, considering to hire, and then both selecting and implementing a 3PL to your organization.
You can download this first of two new e-books we will release this month on the essentials all shippers must know in order to understand the landscape, choose a 3PL, manage a 3PL, reap the benefits of working with a 3PL, and then what is the outlook of the 3PL industry.
We introduce our latest educational e-book (we have several more here): The Essential Guide to Third Party Logistics: What is a 3PL, Considerations for Hiring, & How to Select & Implement a 3PL.