What is a logistic provider?

A logistic provider is defined by their adaptability and reactivity qualities. They are in charge of optimizing organizational flows for products, and of ensuring relevance for related information. They can be fully involved throughout the entire supply chain, or simply focus on a specific stage - such as delivery or storage management.

The purpose of a logistic provider is to minimize operating costs, whilst ensuring smooth-running internal flows. They are namely involved in outsourcing a company’s services, or resorting to sub-contracting. They are considered as an intermediary between the customer and supplier.

As proof of their professional skills, logistic providers usually have experience in the field or a related one, such as transport, mass retail or trade. This entrepreneurial strategy is aimed at companies working both nationally and internationally.

The 6 main functions and responsibilities of a logistic provider

Logistic providers must be able to complete several tasks, depending on what its customers ask of them. There are six main responsibilities and functions to be considered:

  • Offering their expertise during a specific phase or the entire supply chain;

  • Improving internal organization, in line with expressed needs;

  • Monitoring how relevant the provided solutions are;

  • Coordinating delivery flows on a local, national or global scale;

  • Meeting set deadlines, the initial budget and striving to reduce ancillary costs: fuel, storage fees, etc.;

  • Developing and providing the tools required to oversee one or several supply chain stages.

It is possible to call upon a company more generally specialized in the field of transport, or to request the services of a logistic provider who focuses their activity on that specific task.

Examples and practical applications

A classification was drawn up to better determine the level of responsibility allocated to a logistic provider within a company:

  • 1 PL: transport management;

  • 2 PL: sub-contracting of storage and transport operations;

  • 3 PL: outsourcing the supply chain and providing specific tools aiming to optimize internal flows;

  • 4 PL: full management of the customer’s supply chain, and maintaining business relations with suppliers.

Furthermore, supply chain management implies balancing economic challenges, the company’s applied strategy and available resources. The latter may be human or material. The company’s storage policy is then added to this (just-in-time flows, replenishment, etc.), in line with the size and development of its activity. Other factors are also integrated into the logistic provider’s work:

  • Heavy equipment and material investments;

  • Type of storage space and operating surface area;

  • Inspecting information and management systems.

Once again, these tasks depend on the services and skills put to use. Hence the importance of the PL classification, to better define the services in line with the needs expressed upstream from any optimization project - such as stocking, transport, handling or even support in customs formalities.

Logistic providers in figures

In France, there are about 78 million square meters of warehouses and logistical platforms spread out across the country. This represents over 4,400 active operators. It is in fact the fifth largest economic activity in France.

About 2 million jobs are related to the supply chain. In the short term, over 540,000 jobs will be available, both for qualified and unqualified workers.

(Source: https://www.e-tlf.com/dossiers-tlf/chiffres-cles/



Regulatory cornerstones

  • Law no. 2013-431 dated 28 May 2013

  • Regulatory framework relating to supply chain organization for companies

  • Transport Code