The process of ensuring the and orderly flow of goods from point of origin to the point of consumption encapsulates the logistics management. At this juncture of logistics movement from one point to another point comes silent giant, Third Party Logistics Providers. These firms, for example UPS, USPS, Fedex, DHL Express, Blue Water Trucking among others, leverage their expertise in delivering specialized and value-added operations in warehousing, packaging, distribution, transportation, tracking and tracing, cross-docking among others.
Third Party Logistics Providers, also known as 3PL, are an important player in the logistics movement equation and serves as the fulcrum around which the movement of goods and services revolves. These firms provide wide coverage of services ranging from inbound and outbound freight, order fulfillment, freight consolidation and even serving the entire the supply chain. This means the 3PL firms can pick up the package or inventory delivers it to the customer and return the same package or inventory if defect or wrongful delivery is detected. On top of these services, 3PL firms provide more extensive and detailed functions for its clients when it integrates more with customers as part of an expansive supply chain.
Third Party Providers are categorized based upon the types of services they provide their clients and also on the economies of scale involve in their operations. The classification of 3PL firms are; Standard 3PL; Service Developer 3PL; Customer Adapter 3PL and Customer Developer 3PL. Due to technological advancement couple with the need to garner an efficient supply chain process, 3PL firms are gradually shifting their operations to new form of logistics service called "Non-asset based logistics providers". This new form of logistics provision utilizes consulting on freight movement, transportation, warehousing, packaging among others without physically being involved in the movement of the inventory from point to another point.