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3PL: Pros and Cons of Outsourcing

Published: November 18, 2008 (Issue # 1426)



  • 3PL companies offer a whole range of logistics services, from transport and storage to packaging and delivery.
    Photo: For The St. Petersburg Times

In contrast with transportation companies and warehouse operators, Third Party Logistic companies offer a comprehensive range of services. Industry experts, however, note that there are both benefits and risks associated with outsourcing logistics.

Third Party Logistics, or 3PL, is the outsourcing of logistics services. 3PL operators organize the management of the flow of goods and optimize financial and information resources for product shipment and distribution.

A 3PL operator provides a whole range of services necessary to deliver products from producers to retailers. 3PL starts with moving the products from the production line, packaging and storage and delivering product lots to the stores, said Alexei Gorinov, head of the sales department at Nienshants Logistics.

Antonina Amerik, head of the marketing and development department at Maxilog logistics company, added that 3PL operators also offer secondary services such as document clearance, insurance, agent services (including loans and assistance in signing contracts), consulting and outsourcing of other business processes in the clients company.

Gorinov said that about 50 companies in St. Petersburg market themselves as 3PL operators. The market is dominated by large companies (Nienshants Logistics,Interterminal, Mega-Logistics, Relogix and FM-Logistics) and transportation companies that offer logistic services (STS-Logistics and Velts).

In addition, distribution companies use their ties with retail chains and offer logistics services, Gorinov said, as do companies that own former industrial premises in the city and in proximity to the ring road.

The benefits of 3PL are time and cost saving and a higher quality in product shipment and distribution.

The main benefit of logistics outsourcing is the time that you save by delegating the distribution process to a specialized company. Having experience of working with various groups of products, 3PL providers can organize a better and more effective distribution process, Gorinov said.

Logistics outsourcing does not mean that the company loses control over its goods while they are being transported.

High-quality logistics outsourcing always includes distant management of the flow of goods. Using a laptop, the client can order additional product delivery from any place, if he unexpectedly gets an order, Gorinov said.

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Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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