If there’s ever been a time of your life when you lived by the clock, waking up, getting dressed, organizing breakfast, dropping kids to school, getting in to work, picking kids from school, dropping them off for baseball practice, catching a hurried sandwich, getting back to work… you already know what logistics management is all about. Logistics management is a crucial function in most companies, and can pose challenges that even Superman would balk at. Think of it as the backbone – central to survival, but rarely seen.
The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, who know a thing or two define logistics management as that part of Supply Chain Management that plans, implements and controls the efficient, effective forward and reverse flow and storage of goods, services and related information between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet customers’ requirements. Simply put, it is all about ensuring that inputs get to the manufacturing site on time so that the output gets to the customers on time. Naturally, in order to do that, the logistics team needs to know where each input or output is at any point in time.
With that oversimplified definition if we’ve given you the impression that logistics management is kid stuff, nothing could be further from the truth. Get a load of this – the scope of logistics management covers inward and outward transportation, storage and material handling, order fulfillment, managing inventory, planning supply and demand and even designing the complete logistics network! If that wasn’t enough, sometimes logistics managers are also involved in production processes, right from sourcing and planning to packaging and customer service. Logistics management is therefore a “synthesizing” function – it cuts across functional boundaries and helps integrate them. No wonder that 95% of CEOs in the United States believe that they need to have a specific strategy for logistics.
Did you know that companies spend over 10% of their revenues on logistics? Yet, logistics management is still manual process in many organizations, dependent upon fax, phone and human intervention. However, it won’t be long before more and more businesses resort to automated solutions for managing their logistics needs. That’s why it’s worth taking a quick look at logistics management software.
The focus of logistics management software is on execution, rather than planning. That’s why they are capable of working with huge amounts of live data and making micro level decisions literally on a minute to minute basis. Typically, these systems have the following components:
o Inventory management system – manages stock of raw material, work in process and final goods. For example, the Affal Inventory System 1.7, is supposed to be ideal for small and medium sized businesses.
o Order management system – provides an in-depth view of the order at various stages of its life cycle
o Warehouse management system – tells you all you need to know about your inventory, stores and stock levels, as it happens
o Transportation management system – looks at the transportation needs in totality – right from choosing routes and carriers to working out a delivery schedule
o Yard management system – helps to make time and space irrelevant! With this system, businesses can extend control to outside locations such as the dockyard
So, maybe you’re still thinking what are the real advantages that a logistics management software solution brings to any business, besides ensuring that various materials are amazingly in the right place at the right time? Take a look.
o Automated processes mean reduced deployment of personnel
o Holistic approach leads to reduced transportation and distribution cost
o Greater visibility of processes means improved customer service
o Efficiencies lead to shortened cycle time
A real Superhero, isn’t it?