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The Complete Guide to Logistics Management

By its very nature, logistics lies at the beating heart of any well-run company.

It is the collective name for all processes relating to organization, movement, and planning. Logistics is key to the success of a business. That’s why logistics management is such an important role when it comes to running a company.

At every point during a company’s production process, from an original idea to serving a customer, a logistic manager oversees the process and ensures that workflow remains smooth. Following a company’s entire process from one task to another means they have a fantastic overview of how things work – and need a focused, organized mindset to achieve in the role.

Understanding logistics management begins with understanding one key thing: without a logistics expert, there’s every chance that a company will fall into mess and chaos.

If you want to learn about the key features of logistics management, you’re in the right place. Read on to find out more.

Logistics Management Is About Workflow

So: what is logistics management? Put simply, it’s all about workflow. Managing the logistics of a company is difficult. It requires meticulous planning and keen attention to detail. 

Fulfilling customer expectations is a priority for businesses, and this is only possible if the business streamlines processes in production and monitors them to ensure high quality, consistently reliable results. There are many facets to logistics management, but some of the usual responsibilities of the role are:

  • Managing equipment, materials, and supplies
  • Organizing important information
  • Combining the information with the physical process effectively
  • Material handling
  • Packaging
  • Overseeing warehousing and transportation
  • Updating inventories
  • Ensuring security is good

Whether they’re using software for planning or liaising with other departments to make sure the company stays in tip-top shape, a logistics manager is always busy. There are plenty of uses for logistics management, and every company can benefit from a dedicated staff member to fill the position.

What Are the Stages Of Production?

From conception to the customer, a company’s product goes through several stages, often moving physically between at least some. Here is a basic outline of that journey:

  • Factories during manufacture
  • Warehouses for storage
  • Distribution centers for shipping
  • Transportation on the way to a client
  • Retail shelves

Though there may be other steps depending upon the product, these are the main steps that involve a logistician’s eye to keep the process running smoothly. Every business that distributes something will have a process that mirrors this one in some way.

Why is Logistics Management Important?

Making a company more effective means big things. At the core of the role of logistics manager lies the highest priority: the customer.

Reaching demand and satisfying customers is a solid short-term aim for any business. But it is what comes next that requires the expertise of a logistics manager. Customer satisfaction will lead to an increase in demand – this new strain on a business requires an acceleration in production. 

It is incredibly difficult to keep up with rapidly increasing demand, whilst retaining shipping speeds and high-quality results. Having someone on your team who can lead the charge when your company faces change can make all the difference in ensuring your success.

Logistics managers can make exponential growth a possibility for a business.

Another key benefit of having a logistics manager on board is that it brings transparency to the supply chain. Having a team member dedicated to examining every point of production means that they can anticipate and avoid any disruptions to the flow of work. Should any issues arise, they can be resolved before their negative impact becomes too significant and begins to harm the customer experience.

The logistics manager, if given the right level of responsibility, can be a lynchpin in the ongoing achievement of a company. Their impact, where positive, is incredibly important.

logistics management

What Types of Logistics Management Exist?

Each facet of the supply process has a dedicated branch of logistics management. The role can be divided in this way in larger businesses where the production process is too extensive to be overseen by one person. The most common types of logistics management are as follows:

1. Supply Management

A supply manager is in charge of making sure that all of the necessary materials and tools are in the right place at the right time for production to go ahead. Not only do they oversee the storage of raw materials, but their transportation to the company’s production site.

They are vital to customer satisfaction, as production cannot begin if their job is not done well. This is particularly true when materials must be transported elsewhere, such as in construction. 

2. Distribution Management

Distribution managers are the big bosses when it comes to the ins and outs of transporting stored materials. They are experts in the sciences of loading, unloading, and moving produce of all shapes and sizes.

Their role is a prominent part of the distribution of products to retailers who will go on to sell them to the public.

Inventory also falls under the jurisdiction of a distribution manager – they can keep a close eye on whether the correct quantities of product are being ordered, and so ensure that no company funds are wasted.

3. Production Management

Closely tied in with product management, the production manager is responsible for bringing necessary components into the production process at the right time. This means knowing exactly what quantities of a product are needed and ensuring that they are ready as soon as the product is about to enter the next stage of production.

This role requires excellent time management and coordination skills. The whole of the production process relies on the manager’s full attention every step of the way, and the benefits of having a good production manager around cannot be overstated.

4. Returns and Reverse Logistics

Once the project is complete, this is the logistician who steps in to tie up those all-important loose ends. Be it spare materials or extra products, they are in charge of returning unused or unwanted material back into stock.

The returns manager also takes care of transactions in which customers are seeking a full or partial refund for whatever reason.

Though easily overlooked among the chaos of production, the job of a returns and reverse logistics manager is just as vital as any other. They are the people who make sure everything is where it should be at the end of the process, ensuring the customer is cared for and the spare stock is back in company hands.

Whilst these are the four types of logistics managers that we are including in our introduction to logistics management, there are many other facets to the role depending upon what the specific needs of a company are. Whatever the specifics, a business will never regret hiring a logistics manager to help smooth their production process out.

Logisticians Would Offer These Tips

When it comes to streamlining your logistical processes, the experts give the best advice. Here’s what they might say.

Plan ahead. It’s the most important part of being in control of your logistics. It also allows you to prepare alternate plans for potential disruptions, so you can avoid being caught by surprise.

Communicate. Every key staff member who is involved in the production process should be in constant communication with the others. Regular updates allow for more exact timings and quicker solutions in the face of a problem. 

Remember past mistakes. Sometimes something comes along and causes a logistical nightmare, and nobody has the power to stop it. Remember your solutions and, once the project is done, reflect on what caused the problem – learn from these things wherever possible.

It is the attention to detail and the consistent watchful eye allowed by having a logistics manager involved in product production that allows them to do their work so effectively. Follow their advice – and, if you can, hire logistics experts. Nothing can replace real expertise in overseeing.

Start Working With Experienced Logistics Managers Today

The honest answer to the question, “Do I need logistics management in my business?” It’s a firm yes.

A discipline that has long ensured success, you cannot stabilize your workflow without it in some form. In its absence, your growth may suffer. There’s no reason to fall behind when the experts are out there, waiting to help your business thrive.

Don’t let your company fall foul of a lack of logistical prowess. Contact the experts today and watch your company flourish.

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Onsite Global Logistics is a third party logistics provider 3PL helping companies with innovative global logistics and supply chain solutions

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