Logistics has been redefined in last few years, bringing it to the forefront within the broader Supply Chain umbrella and resulting in a new interpretation of how it influences Marketing and other functions, being influenced by them at the same time. Its role has evolved from a “function that manages flow of goods” to a more strategic, customer facing representation of the organization’s brand itself.
In this article, I will explore few developments that, in my opinion, have catapulted Logistics to the forefront.
- Globalization: Globalization translated into extended Geographical footprints and hence more complexities associated with managing flow of goods from Geographies across the world. Since Logistics is the function that manages these flows, other partner functions like procurement and manufacturing increasingly look upto Logisticians.
- Lean Manufacturing: Since Toyota brought in the Lean Hype, some organizations overdid the “Lean thing” so much that there is no room for any failures in logistics flows due to minimal inventories. Logistics now plays a focal role in supporting the more tightly coordinated Supply Chain and has become the focal point to ensure there are no Supply Chain failures.
- Omni Channels: More and more organizations operate multiple Supply Chains within Supply Chains. The concept of a single Supply Chain is being replaced by the idea of an integrated multi-channel approach, the concept of Omni channel. Omni channel dictates that for customers to enjoy a seamless experience, irrespective of how they interrelate with their supplying enterprise, a joined up strategy needs to be operationalized across all channels: logistics thus plays a more critical role in coordinating this approach.
- Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSRs): As organizations begin to accept the wider obligations they have to the society, to environment and to fellow beings on earth, businesses are requiring a mature reflection on what trade-offs around striving to optimize end-customer value need to be considered and acted upon. Logistics interfaces with customers, environment (in terms of carbon emission) and is hence critical to fulfill CSRs.
- Data Science and Analytics explosion: With rapid evolution of technology and availability of tools and algorithms that can be leveraged to run efficient and visible Logistics operations, more opportunities are available to highlight the importance of Logistics and opportunities available therein. And Logisticians are leveraging these tools to do exactly that. Among all the Supply Chain functions, Logistics is the one that leverages Advanced analytics the most.
Views my own.
Image credit: DC Comics