From chaos to control: How a 4PL model transforms supply chain management

Hello again everyone. You're joining us for another episode of Executive Platforms Blueprint Podcast series. My name is Geoff Micks and I’m head of content and research. My guest today is Jordan Kass of C.H. Robinson and TMC. We’re going to be having a conversation about 4PL solutions and what it means for supply chain professionals today. I think it’s an incredibly timely topic. Jordan, thank you so much for joining me today.

Thank you for having me here.

I guess I want to start off by saying I understand there's certainly a moment happening right now for supply chain professionals where some of the existing logistics that were decided years gone by are not meeting today's challenges.

A lot of people are reevaluating how they're moving things around and you know 4PL has to be part of that conversation. Walk us through some of the conversations that you're having with senior executives who are making some of those decisions.

Yeah, sure. So, I think firstly that your point about it being timely is absolutely correct. The pandemic and all of these supply chains disruptions that happened with it as you know brought supply chains from the boardroom literally into everybody's living room.

The world started to see that supply chains mattered as we hit the pandemic, and they couldn't get access to the basic goods that they had counted on to live their lives. And so, with that I think our customers and shippers are really looking for solutions that can give them visibility and control so they can navigate these uncharted waters.

I can imagine being able to tap into the talent that is available in a 4PL is a great advantage. Not every organization is going to have in-house expertise on coming up with new options on the fly or benchmarking.

Yeah, and so the marriage of tech plus talent I think is what makes a 4PL model what it is and why it makes such a compelling choice. From a technical standpoint, firstly, table stakes today. To compete in today's modern supply chain with the demands that they have, the technical capability has to be there, and the 4PL offers the ability to plug in. One of the differentiation points is the 4PL is operating the tech and as a result they really have a profound understanding of what it's going to take to maximize the results.

I think one of the keys with it is certainly there's all the technical requirements and understanding from your stakeholders, but what it is you're really trying to solve, what are the use cases, but from there I think it becomes about fit above and beyond tech.

I think it's really important that a shipper who’s in the selection process really looks at is there a cultural fit with this organization and my organization. In this space a good provider really serves as a true extension of your staff and your organization. If those two cultures don't fit, despite the technical capabilities, it's just not going to be as robust and as profound a partnership.

The second thing I think is these deals win and lose on results, so you really want to make sure that you're partnering with somebody that has a real understanding of continuous process improvement. They can drive continuous process improvement again in a way that fits the culture because they have all the technology in the world and again that's an incredibly important piece but if you don't have that cultural fit if you don't have that pursuit of continuous process improvement you're just not going to be able to maximize the benefits of the solution.

Ensuring that the shipper achieves an information advantage is absolutely a key expectation and outcome that one should have when procuring the solution. I think from a use case perspective and to just keep it really simple and straightforward for our audience and this is particularly true if you're a global shipper or have multiple modes of transportation but let's just picture a global supply chain and the way that they work today.

More often than not what's happening is you might have a solution in the U.S. or domestically and maybe that's one provider could be a TMS could be a 3PL maybe a 4PL that's specific to the region. In Europe you may have another provider as well and then on to APAC and on to Latin America.

If you have a different solution like that in each region then all of a sudden, it's a patchwork quilt and it's really hard to get at one unified version of the truth and really streamline core processes.

So, I think one of the things that this solution solves is by bringing forward that one unified platform it ensures one version of the truth, and you don't have that redundancy of cost with all the systems and then of course the complexity of how do I put all of this data together. It’s in different systems and I need it to live in one.

This is a solution that, as I mentioned, can be stood up very quickly and I think can therefore transform a customer's supply chain incredibly quickly, so there should not be any fear of looking into a solution like this. They’re tried, they’re true, they can move quickly, and they deliver results.

The rise of 4PL solutions to navigate supply chain challenges

As the landscape of logistics faces unprecedented challenges, the emergence of fourth party logistics (4PL) solutions takes center stage. In this video excerpt from the full length Executive Platforms Blueprint Podcast, Jordan Kass, President of Managed Services, joined Geoff Micks to delve into this critical topic.

Together, they shed light on the pivotal role that 4PL providers play in offering visibility, control, and strategic insights to businesses navigating the complexities of modern supply chains.

Key takeaways:

  1. How the marriage of tech and talent defines the essence of a 4PL model
  2. What a 4PL model entails and why it’s so successful in mitigating disruptions
  3. What capabilities are important to consider when evaluating a 4PL provider

Whether you’re a supply chain professional or simply curious about the intricacies of logistics, this video provides valuable insights into the evolving world of supply chain solutions.

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Related resources

Global 4PL Solutions from TMC

Managed Services: The Secret to Doing More with Less

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