What is logistics
Logistics is essential in any manufacturing process, in the retail industry and for many other operations. It links all the stages from finding raw materials to delivering the finished product. In our technological society, information is power so logisticians make sure the relevant people are kept informed. With the rapid delivery of information, potential problems can be detected earlier, allowing more time to solve them and to assess the impact further down the chain.
Because logistics is a multi-disciplinary career, it’s important to understand the entire process even if you are only concerned with one aspect, so that you know what impact any changes might make. Logistics managers are increasingly being involved from the start of a new project, helping to design ways to keep it efficient.
Logistics is essential in any manufacturing process, in the retail industry and for many other operations
In terms of manufacture, logistics can be broken into six stages:
1. Sourcing: finding the required items (such as raw materials) and making sure they’re the right quality; getting quotes from suppliers and making deals to keep costs as low as possible.
2. Transportation: using the most efficient means to transport items from the supplier to the site where they’re needed.
3. Storage: keeping items so that they’re accessible when needed. It’s more efficient to supply items ‘just in time’ – storing items for a short time requires less space.
4. Production: creating the end-product as efficiently as possible to meet demand on time and without leftovers. This may involve managing staff and/or equipment.
5. Storage: storing the finished product until it can be distributed – again, it’s more efficient to hold stock for a short time.
6. Distribution: transporting products to customers and clients in the most efficient manner.
Inbound logistics covers steps 1–3; outbound logistics is steps 5–6. Retail logistics tends to involve steps 1, 2 and 3, although some retailers – particularly those involved in e-commerce and catalogue sales – also require distribution management. Logistics plays an increasing role in planning and design, as products and processes will be more efficient if the supply-chain is considered from the start.
In a nutshell, define logistics is getting things to the right place, at the right time, in the right condition and at the right price. It’s a complex job that requires planning, organisation, practicality and technical skill. If you’re a logical kind of person who enjoys keeping things running smoothly, it may be the perfect career for you.
Try some free logistics practice test following: (70 questions for 7 pages)