Logistics is everywhere. It touches and influences many different parts of our world. When you work in the logistics industry, you're guaranteed exposure to many different industries as well.
We've come up with a list of of the top five industries and subjects that logistics professionals come to understand. Here's what you're in store for...
Technology is a HUGE part of modern day logistics. Manufacturers and retailers are under immense amounts of pressure to deliver products to end consumers faster and more efficiently. This is largely due to the expectations of the the modern consumer. As consumers, we've grown accustom to nearly instant gratification and order fulfillment due to advances in technology. It's an ironic, yet logical, twist that the way retailers and manufacturers are able to keep up with the rising demands is that same advanced technology.
How is technology used in logistics?
As you know, we use technology everywhere. We use it in warehousing, transportation, manfacturing, and purchasing. What technology allows us to do is provide more visibility to the supply chain. We would not be able to do our jobs efficiently and effectively without it. Due to this dependance, we have to understand how the technology works and how it can be leveraged to make smarter decisions.
Every new advancement in technology typically affects the world of logistics in some form or fashion. We have to stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in technology in order to fulfill the needs, expectations, and desires of the modern consumer.
Manufacturing and logistics go hand and hand. The supply chain is the life blood that keeps the manufacturing process flowing and running. It's about getting the right product to the right place at the right time to achieve the desired outcome.
When supplies to create a product are not delivered on time, it creates a chain-reaction that eventually shuts down or slows down the manufacturing lines. This is incredibly detrimental in the manfacturing world.
Manufacturers are in the business of producing. When the lines aren't running, they aren't producing. In other words, they are losing money, and due the scale at which many large manufacturers produce, they can lose millions of dollars fast if a line shuts down. It creates a bull-whip effect that is felt from that point on in the supply chain.
Here's another scenario. The manufacturer has worked hard to produce an excellent product. They have done some great marketing and sales activities. They have an order. Now, it's time to fulfill that order and get it to the consumer. How do you get it there? This is a question of logistics. In the world of logistics, we are an integral part of the input and output process. We make it happen on both ends. Consequently, we have to understand how a manufactuer works. Our logistical process improves when we're able to understand the entire supply chain.
Economics place a huge part in our industry as well. The basic laws of supply and demand affect us every day in logistics. Commerce drives manufacturing, and manufacturing drives logistics. If the demand for a product is down, production will be down.
It's not just the basic law of supply and demand that is applied to logistics, but other classic principles of economics as well. The classic bell-curve, for example, is used to illustrate concepts about factors that impact the supply chain.
Believe it or not, if you're in the warehousing business, you're in the real estate business. You understand how to assign value to space. The real estate industry, at its core, is about assigning value to space (land).
It's the core principle of renting or selling homes. In traditional real estate, they value by square feet. In warehousing, we value space by square feet or by the pallet.
There are a few similarites between these two industries that allows logistic professionals to understand some parts of the real estate industry.
This subject is a huge influence on our industry. The political activities of countries - like tariffs, embargos, peace treaties, and trade agreements - are all factors in the logistical world.
All of these factors affect the world's economy. We live in a world where the economies of countries are all interconnected and interdependent due to trade. Imports and exports are huge influences on a nation's economy. So even if there is only the threat of some type political change, there is going to an economic impact.
Tariffs affect the cost and the flow of transportation, which creates a chain reaction within the supply chain.
Consequently, logistics professionals have to follow geo-politics and think about the implications for their supply chains. For example, the recent news of Brexit sent shock waves through the logistical world because this decision will affect trade between Great Britain and the European Union. This will have a casacading effect on British companies that probably trade with the companies in the United States.
Is it time to increase your body of knowledge?
Logistical professionals have to know and stay up to date with many different industries in order to do their job effectively. We always need to be asking ourselves these questions: "How will this affect my supply chain?" and "How will this impact the supply and demand that drives our business?"