Fourth Party Logistics in a Digital Future

Hans-Joachim Schramm, Carolin Nicole Czaja, Michael Dittrich, Matthias Mentschel

Publication: Chapter in book/Conference proceedingContribution to conference proceedings


This paper aims at analysing the potential future of the 4PL concept based on expert opinions with special regard to the influence of digitalization. Service arrangements, provider capabilities and benefits resulting from a 4PL partnership are compared in current and future configurations.The research follows a mixed methods approach with semi-structured interviews followed by an expert panel. This builds the basis for an online questionnaire to inquire on important future aspects for the 4PL concept by a sample of respondents from multinational companies. Our results show a clear trend away from simply organising transportation and logistics activities towards the provision of an IT platform as well as further service activities such as planning, analytics and monitoring. Along with this, IT capabilities appear to be an important differentiator for 4PL providers in the future. Moreover, relationships between 4PL providers and their clients become closer and more strategic, which leads to a customer valuing not only direct cost reductions but rather improvements resulting from optimized operations through superior analysis and planning functions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNOFOMA 2017 - The 29th NOFOMA Conference "Taking on Grand Challenges"
Editors Daniel Hellström, Joakim Kembro and Hajnalka Bodnar
Place of PublicationLund
PublisherLund University
Pages626 - 641
ISBN (Print)978-91-7753-337-5
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502017 Logistics
  • 502
  • 502003 Foreign trade

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