Which 4PL to select for your SC Control Tower?

Selection of a 4PL provider (including 4PL overview)

Shippers are using Supply Chain Control Towers to orchestrate and improve their supply chain. A Control Tower can be insourced and operated by the shipper’s SC organisation or can be outsourced to a logistics service provider. How to select a provider that best fits your objectives and requirements when you decide to outsource your Supply Chain Control Tower?

Providers offering supply chain control tower services, also known as fourth-party logistics service providers (4PLs), have emerged in several ways:

  • Third-party logistics service providers (3PLs) who added 4PL services to their portfolio

  • Consulting firms among others specialised in supply chain management, sometimes also offering business process outsourcing services, adding 4PL services to their scope

  • Providers of IT solutions like Transport Management Systems or AI solutions who decided to also offer control tower services using these systems

  • Dedicated 4PL providers specifically established to offer (independent) 4PL services

Service offering 4PL in general.png

A provider's origin will affect its overall service portfolio, industry and geography focus, which are the first criteria to look into when selecting a 4PL. Subsequently, the supply chain focus and core capabilities are key criteria to take into consideration. Many 4PLs started with and still have transport management as their primary supply chain focus (see overview based on a selection of 4PLs above). Only a few providers added order management, warehouse management and/or supply chain planning to their scope or focus on end-to-end SC orchestration. Another dimension to examine are the capabilities of the providers in these supply chain areas. Almost all 4PLs mention reporting, operational, tactical planning and supply chain transformation services on their website.  In real life, the actual capabilities of providers regarding these services vary widely and should be subject of a more detailed analysis based on the actual requirements of the shipper.

Below you find an overview and the main characteristics of 4PL providers:

- provider: description, HQ, industry and geography focus

- 4PL service: name, provider/service type, supply chain focus and capabilities

For questions or comments on this overview, please contact Rob van Doesburg (rob.van.doesburg@transportimprovement.com). 

4PL Central Station Group

Basel, Switzerland

Partner For 4th Party Logistics Solutions

Chemicals, Construction, Mechanical and Railway Engineering

Europe

4PL business management and operations

Dedicated 4PL offering consulting/coaching and operating services

Transport + Order + Warehouse management

Reporting + Operations + Tactical Planning + SC Transformation

4PL Group

Pretoria, South Africa

Provider end-to-end transport solutions via land, air and sea

FMCG, Mining, Petroleum, Printing, Textile and Wholesale

South Africa and internationally

Logistics Technology

Part of 3PL portfolio (each transport mode + customs)

Transport management

Reporting

4flow

Berlin, Germany

Optimization specialist for logistics networks and global supply chain

Automotive, Machinery, Consumer goods and retail, Hi_tech, Pharma, Energy, LSPs

Europe, North America, South America and Asia.

Supply Chain Services (4PL, integrated TM, SCM)

Dedicated 4PL offering consulting, software and services

Transport management

Reporting + Operations + Tactical Planning + SC Transformation

4vation

Poznań, Poland

Subsidiary of 4PL Central Station Group

Not known

Europe, North America and Asia

4Vation Control Tower

Dedicated 4PL offering software and services

Transport management

Reporting + Operations

Accenture

Dublin, Ireland

Strategy and Consulting, Interactive, Technology and Operations services provider

Aerospace, Automotive, Chemicals, Consumer goods, Energy, Health, High Tech, Life Sciences, Retail, Utilities

Europe, North America, South America, Middle East, Asia and Africa

BPO Supply Chain Services

Consulting, Technology and BPO services provider offering 4PL services as part of BPO services

SC Orchestration end-to-end

Reporting + Operations + Tactical Planning + SC Transformation

Bahwan Exel

Oman

Upstream Oil & Gas supply chain specialist

Oil & Gas

Middle East

Command Centre and LLP

Dedicated 4PL offering consulting, software and services

Transport management

Reporting + Operations + Tactical Planning + SC Transformation

CEVA

Marseille, France

Provides and operates transportation and supply-chain solutions

Automotive, Consumer & Retail, e-Commerce, Energy, Healthcare, Industrial & Aerospace, Technology and Showfreight

Europe and North America (strong) plus Apac, South America and Africa

Lead Logistics

3PL provider also offering 4PL services

Transport management

Reporting + Operations + Tactical Planning + SC Transformation

Caroz

Venlo, Netherlands

Control tower and TMS solutions provider

Retail, Wholesale, Packaging, Chemicals, Food, Manufacturing and Furniture

Europe and China

THE Control Tower

Dedicated 4PL and TMS services

Transport + Order management

Reporting + Operations + Tactical planning

DB Schenker

Essen, ‎Germany

Provider land transport, worldwide air and ocean freight, contract logistics and SCM services

Automotive, Technology, Consumer Goods, Trade Fair Logistics, Special Transports and Special Events Logistics.

Europe, Americas and Asian Pacific (focus)

Lead Logistics

3PL provider also offering 4PL services

Transport management

Reporting + Operations + Tactical Planning + SC Transformation

DHL

Bonn, Germany

Provider parcel delivery, e-commerce, international express, road, air and ocean transport and SCM services

Auto-Mobility, Chemicals, Consumer, Energy, Engineering and Manufacturing, Life Sciences and Healthcare, Public Sector, Retail and Technology

Europe, North America, South America, Middle East, Asia and Africa

Lead Logistics Partner (part of Integrated Solutions)

3PL provider also offering 4PL services

Transport + Order management

Reporting + Operations + Tactical Planning + SC Transformation

DSV

Hedehusene, Denmark

Provider freight forwarding, warehousing, contract logistics, 3PL and 4PL services

Automotive, Technology, Healthcare, Renewable Energy, Industrial and Retail/Fashion

Europe, Americas, Asia, Oceania and Africa

Lead Logistics (part of Logistics Solutions)

3PL provider also offering 4PL services

Transport + Order management

Reporting + Operations + Tactical Planning + SC Transformation

Expeditors

Seattle, USA

Service-based logistics company providing supply chain, transportation and customs services

Automotive, Aviation, Beverages, Fashion, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Oil and Energy, Retail, Start Ups and Technology

North America, South America, Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa

Supply Chain (among others design, order and delivery management)

3PL provider also offering 4PL services

Transport management

Reporting + Operations + Tactical Planning + SC Transformation

GEFCO

Puteaux, France

World expert in supply chain solutions and the European leader in automotive logistics

Aerospacee, Automotive, 2Wheelers, Consumer goods, Body care, Energy, Food, Retail, Fashion, Heavy equipment, High-tech, Industrial manufacturers and Life Sciences and Healthcare

Europe, Russia, North America, Latin America, Middle East, North Africa and APAC

4PL

3PL provider also offering 4PL services

Transport management

Reporting + Operations + Tactical Planning + SC Transformation

Global4PL

Milpitas, California

Helping hi-tech companies penetrate new regional markets and optimize their supply chain delivery models

Hi-tech

North America, Latin America, Europe and APAC

Transportation, brokerage and trade compliance, consulting

Dedicated 4PL offering consulting, software and services

Transport + Order + Warehouse management + SC Planning

Reporting + Operations + Tactical Planning + SC Transformation

Hillebrand

Mainz, Germany

Service provider in forwarding, transport and logistics of wine, spirits, beer and other products that require special care

Beverages, food and bulk liquids

Europe, Americas, Asia, Oceania and Africa

Control Tower

3PL provider also offering 4PL services

Transport management

Reporting + Operations

IDS

Utrecht, Netherlands

Specialised in fourth-party logistics (4PL), including mutimodal freight and carrier management throughout Europe

Manufacturing, Life Sciences, Chemical, Food and Automotive

Europe

4PL Logistics Control Tower

Dedicated 4PL offering services and software

Transport management

Reporting + Operations + Tactical Planning + SC Transformation

Kuehne + Nagel

Schindellegi, Switzerland

Provider of sea logistics, air logistics, road logistics and contract logistics services

Aerospace, Automotive, Consumer Healthcare, Hi-tech, Industials and Perishables

Europe, Middle East and Africa and North America

Supply Chain Management 4PL

3PL provider also offering 4PL services

Transport management

Reporting + Operations + Tactical Planning + SC Transformation

Logistics Plus

Erie, USA

Provider of transportation, warehousing, fulfillment, global logistics, business intelligence, technology, and supply chain solutions

Beverages, Automotive, Chemicals, Consumer Products, Energy, Financial Services, Government, Pharma & Healthcare, Plastics, Retail, Logistics Providers, Manufacturing, Small Businesses and Startups

North America, Latin America, Europe and APAC

Supply Chain Solutions

3PL provider also offering 4PL services

Transport management

Reporting + Operations + Tactical Planning + SC Transformation

Maersk

Copenhagen, Denmark

Providers of transportation, supply chain and logistics, financial and digital solutions services

FMCG, Fashion, Retail, Chemicals, Automotive, Technology, Pharma and Healthcare

Europe, North America, Latin America, Middle East, Africa and APAC

4PL Logistics Solutions (part of Supply Chain and Logistics)

3PL provider also offering 4PL services

Transport + Order management

Reporting + Operations + Tactical Planning + SC Transformation

OneLogistics

Woensdrecht, Netherlands

Control tower specialized in packaging, warehousing and logistics of militairy goods.

Aerospace and Defense

Europe

Regional Control Tower

Dedicated 3PL/4PL services for the F-35 sustainment program

Transport + Order + Warehouse management + Planning

Reporting + Operations + Tactical Planning

Penske

Reading, USA

Provider of supply chain management and logistics services

Automotive, Chemial, Consumer Products, Food and Beverage, Healthcare and Pharma, High-Tech, Manufacturing, Publishing and Retail

US and Canada, Mexico, Asia, Europe and Brazil

Lead Logistics Provider (part of SCM services)

3PL provider also offering 4PL services

Transport management

Reporting + Operations + Tactical Planning + SC Transformation

SCF Supply Chain Factory

Willich, Germany

An owner-managed, neutral and independent “Fourth Party Logistics” service provider without its own assets

Manufacturing

Europe

Transportmanagement / Control-Tower

Dedicated 4PL offering consulting and services

Transport management

Reporting + Operations + Tactical Planning

Share Logistics

Barendrecht, Netherlands

Provider of international sea and air freight services

Perishables, Oil & Gas, Greenhouse building and Pharma

Europe, USA, Caribbean, Latin America and Asia

4th Party Logistics

3PL provider also offering 4PL services

Transport + Order + Warehouse management

Reporting + Operations + Tactical Planning + SC Transformation

TMC (C.H. Robinson)

Chicago, USA

Manage their logistics of customers across all modes of transportation

Manufacturing, Automotive, Food & Beverage, Produce, Paper and Consumer Packaged Goods

North America, South America, Europe and Asia

Logistics Managed Services

Dedicated 4PL offering consulting, software and services

Transport management

Reporting + Operations + Tactical Planning + SC Transformation

XPO

Greenwich, USA

Provider of truck brokerage and less-than-truckload freight transportation services

Manufacturing, Industrial, Retail, Technology, Aerospace, Commercial, Life Sciences and Government

North America, Europe and Asia

Managed Transportation

3PL provider also offering 4PL services

Transport management

Reporting + Operations + Tactical Planning + SC Transformation