Negocios / Logistica
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Enviado por: claragupy 21 noviembre 2012
Palabras: 947 | Páginas: 4
Logistics 101: Back to Basics
By Lisa Harrington
Logistics can confound the newly initiated and veterans alike. So take out your notebook,
sharpen your pencil, and take this Inbound Logistics short course on the fundamental
concepts driving logistics theory and practice today.
Until recently, logistics activities had one primary focus -- to minimize unit transportation costs
for shipments to downstream customers.
"This focus worked well until the mid-1900s," explains Theodore Stank, associate professor of
logistics and supply chain management at Michigan State University, "when people started
thinking about logistics in the context of systems theory. Systems theory espouses managing an
enterprise or organization as an integrated whole for total optimal performance -- lowest total
costs and optimum service level, for example -- as opposed to managing discrete functions
individually for lowest costs.
"Say a company decides to sit on inventory in order to build a transportation load and thereby
obtain a lower freight rate," Stank offers by way of example. "This approach is fine if you're not
accounting for the cost of inventory. But if you ask, 'What is it costing us to have the inventory sit
on the warehouse floor for a few more days, you start to see the real cost of that decision."
"Companies began to realize that effective logistics is all about managing tradeoffs," notes Philip
Evers, associate professor of logistics management at the University of Maryland's R.H. Smith
School of Business. "When you minimize cost in one area, they often go up somewhere else. If
you ship by rail, you may reduce your transportation costs, but your inventory carrying and
packaging costs go up."
This kind of sub-optimization is a by-product of a functional orientation, explains Ed Marien,
professor and program director, Executive Education, School of Business, University of
Systems theory began
to appear in logistics practice in the 1970s and 1980s. At the same time,
a major shift in how organizations viewed customer service began to take hold. Companies
started to compete on the basis of customer service, and logistics naturally played a vital role in
making such service both possible and profitable. Businesses learned that by combining the two
approaches effectively, they could offer competitive service at a lower total cost than their
competitors, and thus gain an advantage.
"We still have a way to go in realizing this dream," Stank says. "We still need more integration of
internal functional activities so the purchasing manager who is buying something to support a
downstream sale, for example, knows what needs to happen to that raw material, and is
measured or incented to pursue performance objectives that benefit the total system."
Six Degrees of Preparation
At the heart of this systems theory approach to logistics is a fundamental change i ...
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