What is Logistics?

Logistics has commonly been referred to as “having the right item in the right quantity at the right time at the right place for the right price in the right condition to the right customer.”  It is closely related to a company’s supply chain. Where the supply chain consists of many different companies and several different moving parts, the logistics department is the process of coordinating and moving resources with an emphasis on customer satisfaction. Logistics is the focus of an individual company, and not the coordination between several different companies. As such, the efficiency of an individual company’s logistics chain can vary widely. Some companies may choose to use automation, while others rely on people to perform every step of the process. As a company grows, there is a tendency to adopt more automation for production needs.

What types of logistics are there?

Logistics can be broken down into many different areas. Listed below are a few of the most common areas of logistics that can be found within a given company.

Procurement: Deals with obtaining the contracts and supplies necessary for production. This includes research, negotiation, supply management, and more.

Production: This aspect of logistics deals with everything from receipt of supplies up to distribution. Production is the art of production planning, layouts, and other organizational concepts.

Distribution: One of the largest areas of logistics, with many moving parts. Distribution is the delivery of the final product to the customer. This may include things like storage, order processing, but also takes into consideration transportation, handling and packaging.

Disposal: This area of logistics is dedicated to reducing waste, reducing costs, and reusing materials where they can be reused. This saves the business money as well as protects our natural resources.

How can logistics be optimized?

Businesses of all sizes have to incorporate logistics. Smaller businesses may be able to handle logistics on their own, but larger corporations will likely need logisticians to oversee their logistics. When small companies grow quickly, logistics can become difficult. These growing pains can be alleviated by using 3rd party logistics organizations. The size of the company and the specific needs will determine how much of the logistics handling is turned over to the 3rd party. One example of this is when a company that has its own warehouse decides to outsource delivery.  If this is not an option, then consider using a logistics consulting agency. Instead of turning over logistics operations to a 3rd party, hiring a consultant will provide information about streamlining different areas of production, auditing existing practices to maximize productivity, and learning about different technological measures that can be taken to streamline manufacturing.

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