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Companies today are finding it extremely difficult to maintain their competitive advantage over others purely on the basis of innovative strategies pertaining to the product, price, place, or promotion. Since competitors can easily imitate each of these competitive advantages, the emphasis on building a sustainable competitive advantage has made companies focus their attention on logistics, which provides such a means for companies to successfully differentiate themselves from competing firms. Logistics is a complex process by which companies transport products, parts, and materials from the place where they are manufactured to the place where they are required.
Logistics is a complex process and involves several functions such as procurement or purchasing, inward transport, receiving, warehousing, stock control, order picking, materials handling, outward transport, physical distribution management, recycling, and returns & waste disposal functions.
Effective logistics management requires that the actual status of goods and services be communicated in real-time to the various groups of people involved in the logistics process. This helps logistics service providers to improve their service by keeping a closer watch on inventory and taking the steps necessary to avoid losing customers. Communication using satellite technology and sophisticated devices makes it possible for the various players involved in the logistics chain of processes to remain in constant communication with one another and with the end customer. Technology is playing a key role in communication as well as in other processes in the logistics function and helping logistics firms to attain a competitive advantage. The various types of technology being implemented in logistics activities include Electronic Data Interchange, artificial intelligence, expert systems, communication technology in the form of satellite and wireless communication, and bar coding and scanning.
It is necessary to streamline the logistics process to maintain the efficiency of the logistics network. In addition to integrating information technology and advanced logistical approaches into their business operations, businesses are beginning to realize the need to focus on their logistics strategy in order to efficiently maintain their supply chain capabilities. A logistics strategy examines logistical operations and activities and provides logistical firms with a sense of unity, direction, and purpose. It helps firms involved in the business to attain a competitive advantage over others by allowing them to promptly respond to the opportunities and threats in the business environment.
In their efforts at logistical management, firms face several challenges, which may be local or global in their scope. While the need for integration of logistics activities and lack of qualified personnel are the primary challenges faced in logistics management at the local level, the global challenges include challenges arising due to greater distance, modes of transport, documentation, coordination of intermediaries, cultural and political differences, globalization, need for flexibility and speed, need to integrate supply chain activities, and challenges due to emphasis of companies on green logistics.
Logistics and its importance
Functions in Logistics Management
Physical Distribution Management
Recycling, Returns, and Waste Disposal
Importance of Communication in Logistics
Technology in Logistics
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
Bar Coding and Scanning
Streamlining the Logistics Process
Strategic Issues in Logistics Management
Local and Global Challenges in Logistical Management Local Challenges