15 January 2021

The power of independence

One of the major benefits of partnering with a 4PL like efm is that we’re 100% independent. As a 4PL, we are asset-light and tech-heavy, meaning we do not have any of our own equipment on the road.

Benefits of an independent 4PL

We add value through our highly trained people and our sophisticated proprietary technology which delivers powerful insights from customers’ logistics data. As a result, we remain agnostic in the selection of carriers.

While a 3PL has a vested interest in selling solutions that utilise their assets, a neutral 4PL is resolutely focused on meeting the customers’ needs. Their deep knowledge of carrier capabilities and their enduring relationships enables a 4PL to create holistic solutions designed specifically for each customer.The benefits of independence include:

  • Vastly improved efficiencies from pairing the right carrier with the right logistics requirement
  • Trusted advocacy from a 4PL with great reach inside carriers to drive ongoing improvement
  • Optimised end-to-end supply chain management

This is in addition to the other benefits of a 4PL including:

  • Increased visibility across the whole supply chain
  • Data-driven insights that can be used to improve overall efficiency
  • Measurement against strategic KPIs to drive high performance
  • A single point of contact and improved customer service
  • Significant and ongoing reduction in costs
  • Receipt of one thoroughly reconciled and accurate invoice

A 4PL creates a custom solution

The 4PL model recognises that customers’ needs vary greatly. It’s a 4PL’s responsibility to understand the capabilities and nuances of the carriers so we can tailor the optimal solution for them. At efm, we fit square pegs into square holes. Customer requirements could include:


We take very seriously our obligations under the Chain of Responsibility requirements and will not enter a contract with a carrier or a customer that could lead to a breach of the legislation.


For many customers, visibility is of high importance. They may require a carrier with an online GPS tracking system and that provides electronic Proof of Delivery in real time.

Unsortable freight

For freight that exceeds the size compatible with sortation machines, a carrier that specialises in manual handling would be more suitable and more cost effective.


For some customers, visibility isn’t important, as long as the freight gets delivered on time and in full, so we would look at carriers that deliver great service without additional features that would add to cost.

Independence enables agility

Customers’ requirements are always changing and so too are carriers’ capabilities. Therefore, after the agreement is signed, a 4PL will monitor the needs of its customers and continue to identify opportunities to maximise operational fit.

Through sophisticated technology, a 4PL will also identify and respond rapidly to emerging risks. Spikes in demand, shortages in supply, human error and disruptive world events threaten to disrupt a company’s flow of goods, so agility in the supply chain is key.

At efm, for example, if a customer’s incumbent carrier experiences a significant cyber-attack, we will move very quickly to identify, select and seamlessly implement an appropriate replacement carrier in the customer’s portfolio.

Carrier relationships provide an advantage

Carrier relationships are integral to a 4PL’s value proposition. In the event of an issue, for example, a customer engaged with a carrier directly would likely be directed to an offshore call centre.

However, a 4PL maintains multi-tiered relationships within the carrier business, meaning they have greater reach and can facilitate the right conversations in the right areas and ultimately create a better solution for the customer.

The relationship dynamic works for the carriers as well. In a 3PL relationship, a carrier may accept a contract for freight that is not an optimal fit for their network. By partnering with a 4PL, however, they have more opportunities to become involved in a transport solution as a 4PL will create a freight profile to match the carrier’s network.

The best carrier is a suite of carriers

A 4PL’s independence ensures that it will always act in the interests of the customer. With a breadth of knowledge across the carrier landscape, a 4PL will identify the best operational fit for every customer need.

As a customer’s trusted partner, a 4PL will not only deliver vastly improved efficiencies from pairing the right carrier with the right freight but will also deliver the peace of mind as a reliable advocate to drive ongoing improvement.

To speak with one of the team about how our independence can benefit your business, contact us.

efm team walking to meeting

Arrange an audit of your logistics solution

Take the next step in optimising your supply chain. We will meet with you to understand your objectives and challenges, then review your existing solution to identify where we could add value.