Friday, January 28, 2005

Logistics & Supply Chain 101

In order to stay true to myself I have to give a bit of Logistics 101 here. Most people when they hear the word logistics, if they know it at all, they think of the military. Since time began, warriors have needed weapons, food, clothes, and a host of other things to keep them ready, capable and willing to fight. Thus logistics was born from the ox carts and wagon trains to carry everything from supplies to families in support of armies.

From today’s perspective, everything you buy comes to where you buy it in a truck. And for those of us in the business you should read a good article in the vernacular of our times called, “No Truck Left Behind” by Cliff Lynch, of whom more is noted below
( )

That truck came from some inventory location which was supplied by some production location which was supplied by one or more material locations and this could go on and on and on and actually does in real life supply chain.

If you are not familiar with logistics or supply chain, just take something you recently bought, look at where it was made and spend some time thinking about what it took to make it and get it to you. The right size, the right color, the right store at the right price.

If the product or service was made in your town maybe this process of getting it to you was not so complex. If the origin was across the country or across the world the logistics can be and usually is very complex.

What is Logistics?
Logistics Management as defined by the Council of Logistics Management (CLM): “Definition- Logistics Management is 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.

What is Supply Chain?
Supply Chain Management (SCM) as defined by the Council of Logistics Management
(CLM): “Definition - Supply Chain Management encompasses the planning and management of all activities involved in sourcing and procurement, conversion, and all Logistics Management activities. Importantly, it also includes coordination and collaboration with channel partners, which can be suppliers, intermediaries, third-party service providers, and customers. In essence, Supply Chain Management integrates supply and demand management within and across companies.

And following all of that, Value Chain must be included:
Value Chain: A series of activities, which combined, define a business process; the series of activities from manufacturers to the retail stores that define the industry supply chain.

Once you have gotten through all of the above, or you are in business and have some perspective of what your supply chain or logistics is, but would like to know more, lets talk about some really good resources that can help you develop a further understanding.

Let me also say, with fully disclosed bias, that this is a great industry! For those of you thinking about a career or a career change this is a fundamental business that is nearly 10% of the GNP of this country.

Working in the atmosphere that is created in supply chain and logistics is Living The Dream (for many others like myself). Now, if you are a 9 to 5er and like things the same every day, this is NOT for you. But if you like challenges and things to be different every day. Come on in.

There is nothing more dynamic than the work on a daily basis of trying to match the supply and demand of goods through the capacity and capabilities of the supply chain to get those goods to the right place, at the right time, in the right condition, at the right cost. That is Living The Dream!.

This year the Council of Logistics Management has changed its name to the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals. This has been and continues to be the premier association for anyone related to logistics or supply chain in business of which I am proud to be a member. This organization provides education and learning which is second to none in this industry( ).

For quick reference to almost anything about logistics on the web, I have found a good site to be CLO Express ( ). CLO being Chief Logistics Officer, (a position and title that there are too few of around the world today). Another good location on the internet to find supply chain information is Supply Chain Sites at ( ) and of course the CSCMP noted above will never lead you astray.

For supply chain and logistics magazines my favorite is Supply Chain Management Review which is published bi-monthly ( ). This magazine is not for casual logistics reading, it is full of meat and potatoes on supply chain and logistics. Other good reads are Inbound Logistics at ( ) and Logistics Management at ( ). Global Logistics and Supply Chain Strategies magazine has a nice site called Supply Chain Brain at ( ) which should round out the periodical reading. There are others that I read from time to time, but this list will keep you busy for a while.

Now, for hardcover study of the discipline, I would recommend the following: “The Logistics Handbook” by James F. Robeson and William C. Copacino as an A to Z reference guide. If you come to the conclusion that you need supply chain and logistics but do not think it best to do it yourself then I would read: “Logistics Outsourcing – A Management Guide” by Clifford F. Lynch. (By the way, Cliff Lynch is one of the top practitioners in the field, find him at , he is as close as they come to being “Mr. Logistics”). Links to both of the books are on the left of this site.

Any questions or comments on any of the above or additional supply chain or logistics are welcomed either in the comments or by email. Soon I will go through the other side of my professional life and give Business Process Management 101.



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