“Logistics typically refers to activities that occur within the boundaries of a single organization and Supply Chain refers to networks of companies that work together and coordinate their actions to deliver a product to market. Also, traditional logistics focuses its attention on activities such as procurement, distribution, maintenance, and inventory management. Supply Chain Management (SCM) acknowledges all of traditional logistics and also includes activities such as marketing, new product development, finance, and customer service” – Michael Hugos.
“Logistics is about getting the right product, to the right customer, in the right quantity, in the right condition, at the right place, at the right time, and at the right cost (the 7 Rs)” – John J. Coyle et al
3. What is Logistics Management?
“Logistics Management deals with the efficient and effective management of day-to-day activity in producing the company’s finished goods and services” – Paul Schönsleben
4. What is the Difference Between Inbound Logistics and Outbound Logistics?
“Inbound Logistics refers to movement of goods and raw materials from suppliers to your company. In contrast, Outbound Logistics refers to movement of finished goods from your company to customers”.
5. What are Transport and Logistics?
“Transport and Logistics refers to 2 types of activities, namely, traditional services such as air/sea/land transportation, warehousing, customs clearance and value-added services which including information technology and consulting”
6. What is International Logistics?
These are one of the most ambiguous groups of terms out there. They are used interchangeably and often referred to international production and transportation activities. However, most concise definition is as below,
“International Logistics focuses on how to manage and control overseas activities effectively as a single business unit. Therefore, companies should try to harness the value of overseas product, services, marketing, R&D and turn them into competitive advantage”
7. What is Third Party Logistics or 3PL?
“Third Party Logistics or 3PL refers to the outsourcing of activities, ranging from a specific task, such as trucking or marine cargo transport to broader activities serving the whole supply chain such as inventory management, order processing and consulting.”
In the past, many 3PL providers didn’t have adequate expertise to operate in complex supply chain structure and process. The result was the inception of another concept.
The 4PL is the concept proposed by Accenture Ltd in 1996 and it was defined as below,
“Fourth Party Logistics or 4PL refers to a party who works on behalf of the client to do contract negotiations and management of performance of 3PL providers, including the design of the whole supply chain network and control of day-to-day operations”
You may wonder if a 4PL provider is really needed. According to the research by Nezar Al-Mugren from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, top 3 reasons why customers would like to use 4PL providers are as below,
9. What is Supply Chain?
“Supply Chain is the network of organizations that are involved, through upstream and downstream linkages, in the different processes and activities that produce value in the form of products and services in the hands of the ultimate consumer” – Martin Christopher
10. What is Supply Chain Management?
Each researcher defines supply chain management differently. However, we would like to provide the simple definition as below,
“Supply Chain Management (SCM) refers to the coordination of production, inventory, location, and transportation among the participants in a supply chain to achieve the best mix of responsiveness and efficiency for the market being served” -Michael Hugos
11. What is Supply Chain Network?
Many companies have the department that controls various activities within the supply chain. So the people are led to believe that SCM is a “function” which it’s not. It is actually a “network” consists of many players as below,
A generic supply chain structure is as simple as Supplier, Manufacturer, Wholesaler and Retailer (it’s more complex in the real world but a simple illustration serves the purpose).
The word “management” can be explained briefly as “planning, implementing, controlling”. Supply Chain Management is then the planning, implementing and controlling of the networks.
Another important attribute of supply chain management is the flow of material, information, and finance (money). Even though there are 3 types of flow, the most important one is information flow aka information sharing. Let’s see the example of this through the simplified version of bullwhip effect as below,
13. What is Supply Chain Coordination?
Information sharing requires a certain degree of “coordination” (it’s also referred to as collaboration or integration in scholarly articles). Do you wonder when people started working together as a network? In 1984, companies in the apparel business worked together to reduce overall lead-time. In 1995, companies in automotive industry used Electronic Data Interchange to share information. So, working as a “chain” is the real world practice.
14. What is Conflicting Objectives?
Working as a network requires the same objective, but this is often not the case (even with someone in the same company). “Conflicting Objectives” is the term used to describe the situation when each function wants something that won’t go well together. For example, purchasing people always place the orders to the cheapest vendors (with a very long lead-time) but production people need material more quickly.
15. What is Cost/Service Trade-off?
The concept of Cost/Service Trade-off appeared as early as in 1985 but it seems that people really don’t get it.
Real world example is that a “new boss” ask you to cut costs by 10%, improve service level by 15%, double inventory turns and so on. If you really understand cost/service trade-off concept, you will agree that you can’t win them all. The most appropriate way to handle this is to prioritize your KPIs.
16. What is Supply Chain Relationship?
To work as the same team, long-term relationship is a key. Otherwise, you’re just a separate company with a different strategy/agenda. So academia keeps preaching about the importance of relationship building but is not for everyone.
Since there are too many suppliers to deal with, portfolio matrix is often used to prioritize the relationship building. Focus your time and energy to create the long-term relationship with suppliers of key products and items with limited sources of supply because these are people who can make or break your supply chain.