Beyond 3PL: How the Digital Age Unlocks New Services

Written By Reagan Nyandoro


Busy city streets with streaks of headlights.

‘Digitalisation’ is allowing outsourced logistics providers to offer more than the typical third-party logistics (3PL) model by customising services and adopting cloud logistics platforms, according to a newly published report.

The article, published in a special issue of the journal Logistics, is called Third-Party Logistics Providers in the Digital Age: Towards a New Competitive Arena? and written by lead author Erik Hofmann, chair of logistics management at the University of St Gallen, Switzerland.

It addresses 3PL providers but notes how the Digital Age is allowing outsourced logistics providers to offer more than the standard 3PL services – a customised, technology-based approach that is more akin to that made available by fourth-party logistics providers (4PL).

For example, the paper notes “the opportunities of digitalisation” such as “the customisation of standardised logistics services, the provision of cloud logistics services [and] platform-based asst and logistics infrastructure sharing”.

All of these are the types of bespoke outsourced logistics services you might expect to receive from 4PLs, who already make good use of the full potential of modern digital technology to unlock previously unconsidered gains in efficiency and eliminate obstacles to effective logistics operations.

The article suggests that outsourced logistics providers who focus on ‘standard’ services may be left behind or effectively downgraded to the status of “simple forwarders”.

Into the cloud with 3T DOCK

3T DOCK is 3T Group’s cloud-enabled transport management system, allowing you to share login details with multiple carriers so that suppliers can book in loads and monitor service level performance.

This helps to give carriers more confidence about loading and offloading times, with warnings in advance of any delays at the point of delivery, congestion at the loading point and likelihood of vehicle queues that could worsen your environmental performance.

With the improved operating conditions made available by 3T DOCK, you benefit from increased availability of your preferred carriers and more accurate loading plans.

To book a live demo of 3T DOCK or to ask us anything about the cloud-based transport management system, call us on 0116 2824 111 or email today.

Scroll to Top