The current UPS ad campaign - you've certainly seen it by now; it features TV ads that explain to the public that UPS' business is not delivering packages, but logistics, to the tune of "That's Amore" - does a pretty good job of explaining to someone who has never seen the inside of a warehouse or delivery truck just what logistics entails.
The field has come more to resemble choreography in the way it marshals resources in order to deliver goods and supplies from producer to consumer as quickly as possible, or from producer to producer just in time to keep the production line humming.
And in the middle of watching all those boxes flowing along conveyor belts, being pulled from shelves, loaded into trucks and whooshed to their recipients, it hit me: I was for a brief while employed in the logistics business.
Only it was disguised as software. It was really good software
, too. It kept track of inventory, guided employees through the picking and stocking process, sped the fulfillment of orders, generated shipping labels, return merchandise labels and bills, and handled a whole bunch of administrative tasks.
What made this company part of the logistics business is that its software was designed specifically for wholesalers and distributors - the companies that supply builders, manufacturers, retailers, and other businesses with the material they need to do their job. Using this software, companies cut their error rates in filling orders, increased the amount of business their current staff could do, and could get a much better grip on their warehouse and distribution operations.
In short, it managed logistics for key players in the supply chain.
I'm still not completely sure I've gotten a good feel for the logistics business and its needs, or the challenges that face both logistics companies and those seeking jobs with them. But I feel much less uncertain about it now.
By: Sandy Smith
Sandy Smith is an award-winning writer and editor who has spent most of his career in public relations and corporate communications. His work has appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia CityPaper, PGN, and a number of Web sites. Philly-area residents may also recognize him as "MarketStEl" of discussion-board fame. He has been a part of the great reserve army of freelance writers since January 2009 and is actively seeking opportunities wherever they may lie.