For a moment, consider your favorite store or restaurant. Does the concept of logistics come to mind? Perhaps not at first, but now contemplate how that particular establishment obtains the products and materials needed to conduct business each day. From this broader view, the importance of logistics to our consumer lifestyle and the benefits it provides are undeniable.
This then begs the question, what is logistics? The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) explains that logistics is a broad term encompassing the processes of planning and executing the efficient flow of products and services from the source to the point of consumption. Essentially, these systems support the transportation of goods worldwide.
Logistics can also be applied to business activities other than transportation, such as warehousing and material handling. Management is a critical element in successful logistics due to the high degree of coordination and collaboration required among supply chain members. That said, the process would fail if a company neglected to communicate with suppliers, intermediaries, and service providers.
Variety and Specialization
From silverware and fresh ingredients to dresses and hangers, almost anything that can be found in a given establishment was once loaded onto a truck and transported from one location to another. If not for a vast and intricate logistics network, it would not be possible to purchase items across the nation from their location of origin. Thanks to our interstate system, our country has become interconnected and consumers are accustomed to having hundreds of diverse products at their disposal. Each state is able to specialize in certain products and services from which all citizens can benefit.
Efficiency and Speed
Certain products and services are more time sensitive than others, like fresh produce and frozen foods. Still, consumers are able to acquire these items promptly and far before their expiration date. Each day, millions of goods travel billions of miles through precise transportation networks in order to reach their final consumers in a timely manner. If not for the rapid and efficient nature of logistics, customers might have to settle for purchasing goods past their prime.
Benefit of Freight Brokers
If something goes awry in the system, freight brokers are the best source for a solution. Utilizing their connections with various carriers and suppliers, brokers can develop solutions to avoid disaster.