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4PLs emerge

Traditional 3PL services like transportation and logistics don’t cut it when a company wants to enlarge its global footprint. That’s when value added, strategic advice of a 4PL may be needed. But who gets the call?
By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
August 13, 2010

What does a well-established multinational truck manufacturer have in common with a relatively new telecommunications equipment provider? Quite a bit if you are examining their respective global distribution strategies.

Navistar Inc. and Vology Data Systems are both undergoing transformational changes as each builds upon existing relationships with time-tested logistics partners. In fact, the following two case studies demonstrate that working to transform your existing 3PL into your 4PL makes sense if it’s done with “cultural integration” as a primary goal.

Navistar’s global challenge When Ed Melching, Navistar’s director of global logistics, began searching for a partner capable of supporting the company’s five-year plan to re-engineer and improve performance in its supply chain, he didn’t have to look far. His existing two-year contract with a 3PL as a starting point for global expansion.

“There are normal growing pains in any partnership,” he says. “But at the beginning, we spent a lot of time on alignment of vision, mission and strategy, governance, ensuring executive support for the steering teams, and taking an ‘open book’ approach to the relationship where both of us would be rewarded when we were successful.”

About the Author

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Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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