The process of planning, implementing and controlling the efficient, effective flow and storage of goods, services, and related information from point of origin to point of consumption for the purpose of conforming to customer requirements. Its functions include planning, procurement, transportation, supply, and maintenance.
Third-Party Logistics (3PL or forwarding/contract logistics) is the management of logistic services beyond transportation. For example, this might include storage, transshipment, and value-added services as well as the use of subcontractors.
Fourth Party Logistics (4PL) is the integration of all companies involved along the supply chain. 4PL( or SCM) is the planning, steering, and controlling of all logistic procedures (for example flow of information, material, and capital) by one service provider with long-term strategic objectives.
It is basically a five-stage process starting from 1pl to 5pl.
(i.e. producer to e-business)