Every logistics professional has their own “special” administrative customer. The one that personifies that blend of commanding just-make-it-happen senior executive and a “professional whiner”! They seem to surface in every organization. All of us at one time have blurted out “OK, I can get that for you” under their demanding pressure, before checking whether we really could. At the time, it worked to get the exec out of your office back to theirs, but now how are you going to pull THIS one off?
Internet savvy folks find that anyone can get any product, overnight if we’re willing to pay for shipping. That is usually true for large retail sites, but in the business and commercial world things get a little more complicated. How do you get Dr. Whiner’s order out of Sweden, on a boat, across the Atlantic, through US Customs in NYC, and on a truck to Toledo . . . right now? Hey, as a professional, you get to take over with your own special hybrid network of logistics and procurement skills. You have this, but maybe it isn’t formalized by name and your strategy needs a little help. You entered this business for the challenge, right? Just use your Logistics Strategy Plan!
If you just said “My what?, you have a lot of company. Despite huge benefits to the entire organization, surveys report that only 40% of senior logistics professionals have a formal strategy in place. Faced with resource and cost reduction plans in every area, Logistics Pros have no time left for the critical strategic thinking process. In addition, your senior staff may lack the formal training to generate a formalized logistics strategy process.
The proactive process of developing a flexible logistics strategy does more than just create the strategy itself. The discovery and design processes involved can:
- Enhance intra-company communications; train yourself, then the organization to monitor and predict the trending of hard goods needs. Budget the time and dollars to be ready to procure sooner than the 11th hour. This also avails time in-between for those urgent orders.
- Identify potential areas of weakness. Schedules and sourcing backlogs can unhinge at any time. What will you do when this occurs? How can you plan the flexibility of procurement and delivery methods into your strategy? Line up multiple sources for your most common, high volume, and JIT items.
- Identify untapped sources of competitive advantage such as cooperative supply initiatives, full truck non-cross docked shipments, seasonal surplus opportunities, etc., that could all help maintain future cost competitiveness and solid client relationships and delivery options.
- Use the changing technologies and distribution channels to take the critical step to foresee the impact of these coming changes and position your company’s operations proactively.
Developing a logistics strategy can be critical to any supply dependent organization’s mid and long term success. Oh, and don’t forget to follow up on Dr. Whiner’s special order!
You can do this!
By K.B. Elliott
K. B. Elliott is a freelance writer for LogisticsJobSite.com. Working various supply positions in the Detroit area for over 30 years gives him a unique perspective on the process. On the chance occurrence of spare time, you will find him building computers and airplanes, or restoring antiques. To read more of his blogs, please go to LogisticsJobSiteblog.com, and be sure to check out the postings for jobs in nearly any industry at Nexxt