Exploring new competences in the logistics industry: the intermediation role of 4PL


  • Fulconis François
  • Saglietto Laurence
  • Paché Gilles


  • Fourth-party logistics 4PL
  • Governance
  • Intermediation
  • Interorganizational information systems IOS
  • Logistics service provider LSP
  • Transactional center

document type



Networking strategies continue to develop in most industries. They lead manufacturing and/or retailing firms to specialize in a few core competences and to become “brokers” who entrust external partners with peripheral activity management. This is one of the explanations for the rise of logistics service providers (LSPs), described in all modern textbooks dealing with supply chain management. Very recently, a new trend has emerged in Western countries: Some LSPs are becoming brokers, capable of organizing supply chain networks thanks to their perfect command of information systems. The LSPs called fourth-party logistics (4PL) have taken control of the intermediation function, positioning themselves at the heart of the networked economy. The use of the conceptual framework “transactional center” helps to better understand 4PL governance, and more generally the evolution of the logistics industry.

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