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Image of a logistics provider's warehouse of goods being stacked on pallets with forklift.
Logistics is the management of the flow of goods, information and other resources, including energy and people, between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet the requirements of consumers (frequently, and originally, military organizations). Logistics involves the integration of information, transportation, inventory, warehousing, material-handling, and packaging, and occasionally security. Logistics is a channel of the supply chain which adds the value of time and place utility. Today the complexity of production logistics can be modeled, analyzed, visualized and optimized by plant simulation software.

Origins and definition

The term "logistics" originates from the ancient Greek "λόγος" ("logos"—"ratio, word, calculation, reason, speech, oration").

Logistics is considered to have originated in the military's need to supply themselves with arms, ammunition and rations as they moved from their base to a forward position. In ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine empires, there were military officers with the title ‘Logistikas’ who were responsible for financial and supply distribution matters.

The Oxford English dictionary defines logistics as: “The branch of military science having to do with procuring, maintaining and transporting material, personnel and facilities.” Another dictionary definition is: "The time-related positioning of resources." As such, logistics is commonly seen as a branch of engineering which creates "people systems" rather than"machine systems."

Military logistics

ILS Integrated Logistics Support is a discipline used in military industries to ensure an easy supportable system with a robust customer service (logistic) concept at the lowest cost and in line with (often high) reliability, availability, maintainability and other requirements as defined for the project.

In military logistics, logistics officers manage how and when to move resources to the places they are needed. In military science, maintaining one's supply lines while disrupting those of the enemy is a crucial—some would say the most crucial—element of military strategy, since an armed force without resources and transportation is defenseless.

The defeat of the British in the American War of Independence, and the defeat of the Axis in the African theatre of World War II, have been largely attributed to logistical failure. The historical leaders Hannibal Barca, Alexander the Great, and the Duke of Wellington are considered to have been logistical geniuses.

Another field within logistics is called Medical logistics.

Logistics management

Logistics management is that part of the supply chain which plans, implements and controls the efficient, effective forward and reverse flow and storage of goods, services and related information between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet customer & legal requirements. A professional working in the field of logistics management is called a logistician.

The Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport (CILT) was established in the United Kingdommarker in 1919 and was granted the Royal Charter in 1926. The Chartered Institute is one of professional bodies or institutions for the logistics & transport sectors, that offers such professional qualification or degree in logistics management.

Third-party logistics

Third-party logistics involves the utilization of external organizations to execute logistics activities that have traditionally been performed within an organization itself. According to this definition, third party logistics includes any form of outsourcing of logistics activities previously performed in-house. If, for example, a company with its own transport facilities decides to employ external warehouse specialist, this would be an example of third party logistics.

Warehouse management system and warehouse control system

Although there is some functionality overlap, the differences between warehouse management systems (WMS) and warehouse control systems (WCS) can be significant. To put it simply, the WMS plans a weekly activity forecast, based on such factors as statistics, trends, and so forth, whereas a WCS acts like a floor supervisor, working in real time to get the job done by the most effective means. For instance, a WMS can tell the system it’s going to need five of SKU A and five of SKU B, hours in advance, but by the time it acts, other considerations may have come into play or there could be a potential logjam on a conveyor. A WCS can prevent that problem by working in real time and adapting to the situation by making a ‘last-minute decision’ based on current activity and operational status. Working synergistically, WMS and WCS can resolve these issues and maximize efficiency for companies that rely on the effective operation of their warehouse or distribution center.

Business logistics

Logistics as a business concept evolved only in the 1950s. This was mainly due to the increasing complexity of supplying one's business with materials and shipping out products in an increasingly globalized supply chain, calling for experts in the field who are called Supply Chain Logisticians. This can be defined as having the right item in the right quantity at the right time at the right place for the right price in the right condition to the right customer and is the science of process and incorporates all industry sectors. The goal of logistics work is to manage the fruition of project life cycles, supply chains and resultant efficiencies.

In business, logistics may have either internal focus (inbound logistics), or external focus (outbound logistics) covering the flow and storage of materials from point of origin to point of consumption (see supply chain management). The main functions of a qualified logistician include inventory management, purchasing, transportation, warehousing, consultation and the organizing and planning of these activities. Logisticians combine a professional knowledge of each of these functions so that there is a coordination of resources in an organization. There are two fundamentally different forms of logistics. One optimizes a steady flow of material through a network of transport links and storage nodes. The other coordinates a sequence of resources to carry out some project.

Production logistics



The term is used for describing logistic processes within an industry. The purpose of production logistics is to ensure that each machine and workstation is being fed with the right product in the right quantity and quality at the right point in time.

The issue is not the transportation itself, but to streamline and control the flow through the value adding processes and eliminate non-value adding ones. Production logistics can be applied in existing as well as new plants. Manufacturing in an existing plant is a constantly changing process. Machines are exchanged and new ones added, which gives the opportunity to improve the production logistics system accordingly. Production logistics provides the means to achieve customer response and capital efficiency.

Production logistics is getting more and more important with the decreasing batch sizes. In many industries (e.g. mobile phone) batch size one is the short term aim. This way even a single customer demand can be fulfilled in an efficient way. Track and tracing, which is an essential part of production logistics - due to product safety and product reliability issues - is also gaining importance especially in the automotive and the medical industry.

Professional Logistician

A logistician is a professional logistics practitioner. Professional logisticians are often certified by professional associations. Some universities and academic institutions train students as logisticians, by offering undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

See also



References


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