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Looking(a) logistics. (MANAGE).

TODaY'S LOGISTICS InVOLVeS SOPHISTICaTeD SuppLY CHaIn managemenT appLICATIOnS InFuSeD WITH COLLaBOraTIVe capaBILITIes, aLL running on TOp oF an InTerneT-BaseD e-commerce InFrasTrucTure--anD FULLY InTegraTeD WITH BaCK-OFFICe InFormaTIOn SYSTemS TO creaTe a SeamLeSS SYSTem FrOm proDuCT DeveLOpmenT TO DeLIVerY.

After the terrorist attacks on September 11, automotive manufacturing came to a temporary halt at the General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. pickup-truck factories in Ontario, Canada. Why? Just-in-time (JIT) deliveries were delayed at the Canadian border. Delays at the Mexican border caused Ford to also shorten production for about two days at two of its Mexican assembly plants.

While the Wall Street Journal and Reuters packaged this news in articles about the need to rethink JIT manufacturing, there's another slant to consider: Logistics matters. According to AMR Research (Boston, MA), organizations spend 11% of their revenues on logistics, yet it is one of the last core business processes to be automated. More often than not, logistics is an in-house, manual process involving phone, paper, email, fax, and home-grown inventory, warehouse, and transportation management systems.

Don't make the mistake of thinking logistics is only about accurately storing and moving inventory. It's also knowing where your stuff is throughout the supply chain, and finding alternative shipping modes and routes to quickly get around delayed and irregular shipments. And as with so much else in factory automation, good logistics is a competitive advantage.


The definition of "logistics" is complex or simple. According to the Council of Logistics Management (CLM, Oak Brook, IL), logistics is "that part of the supply chain process that plans, implements, and controls the efficient, effective flow and storage of goods, services, and related information from the point of origin to the point of consumption in order to meet customers' requirements." AMR Research says logistics is simply "the management of inventory in motion or at rest."

Numerous industry initiatives fall into this field, including quick response, continuous replenishment, efficient consumer response, and, mostly in manufacturing industries, JIT and vendor-managed inventory. The common theme in all of these is to create some sort of smooth and fast pipeline from material source (supplier) to material consumption (customer), while responding to the real-time dynamics that occur from changing customer requirements, routings, transportation modes, and international trade requirements, to name a few constraints.

BeYonD conveYorS anD TraCTOr TraILerS

Two characteristics separate logistics software from many other types of software, particularly enterprise resource planning (ERP). Logistics applications are execution systems, not planning systems. Second, they are real-time systems capable of making sub-second decisions based on a colossal amount of data at a far more granular level than ERP.

Modern major logistics execution systems include a broad array of applications and modules. The major ones are as follows:

Inventory management systems (IMS) ensure the availability of products by linking customer demands, product reservation, and allocation processes.

Order management systems [OMS] provide real-time visibility into the entire order lifecycle, ensuring against lost, delayed, or corrupted orders. For example, the OMS from Provia Software Inc. (Grand Rapids, MD) manages products, orders, shipments, and delivery information by customer. It also produces the appropriate billing materials, as well as communicates directly with customers and suppliers through electronic data interchange (EDI), Internet/internet, and other communications modes. It controls billing for all product-handling costs (such as receiving, storage, and labeling), and applies it to the specific customer based on prenegotiated agreements. Plus, it can process complex orders that require future shipment or staggered delivery dates, multiple consignee delivery, or backordered product.

Warehouse management systems (WMS) tell you in real time what you have and where your inventory is within whatever it is you're calling a warehouse. At the very least, the software system manages receiving, storing, picking, and shipping product. It is usually integrated into a plethora of automation, including bar code and radio frequency (RF) technology, pick-to-lite systems, ERP, and EDI. Typical WMS verify barcoded or radio-tagged incoming inventory against purchase orders downloaded from ERR EDI, or OMS. The system will also tell people what warehouse location to store that material, often through printed storage/put-away lists or through RF terminals on forklifts. Likewise, it will prioritize picking operations and direct operators when and where to pick. In both the putaway and pick, the WMS will update its inventory database as required. Additionally, leading WMS might perform other functions, including order management, work-load management and labor planning, cross docking, replenish primary pick lo cations, cycle counting, supplier return/stock rotation, performance reporting, proof of delivery, compliance labeling, and manage productivity-based employee payments.

Transportation management systems (TMS) focus on freight movements and physical distribution. The Web- and workflow-based transportation application from Arzoon, Inc. (San Carlos, CA), for example, helps companies determine the best routing and transportation mode for their products, helps select carriers based on service levels and rates, creates a delivery schedule, determines rates, and optimizes the total shipping costs against service and delivery constraints, and international trade requirements. A separate Arzoon application for global trade contains a centralized rules database with trade regulations, tariffs, and duties for nearly two dozen countries. The application automates the proper handling of the proper trade documents by emailing them to the proper officials.

TMS will automatically send shipping notices, manifests, carrier information, and other updates to all interested parties in the supply chain as required, as well as receive requests for updates about the status of shipments. TMS also often monitor and initiate freight payments, as well as monitor reverse logistics, and domestic and international shipping.

Yard management systems (YMS), such as from Provia, extend the warehouse beyond the physical four walls of the plant by controlling the activities of trailers on the dock and in the yard to the point of scheduling both inbound and outbound trucks, In so doing, it effectively expands the amount of storage locations and lets you cross dock using partial or entire trucks.

THIRD-party logistics (SPL) providers are not a technology, per se, but they are a major element in logistics. According to a recent 3PL survey by Cap Gemini Ernst Young (Detroit, Ml), the primary services contracted from 3PL providers include inbound and outbound transportation, cross-docking, warehousing, freight bill auditing/ payment, and freight consolidation and distribution. But this set of services is changing. "3PL providers should now focus on capable information technology, effective management and relationship processes, global responsiveness, and delivering comprehensive, integrated solutions that create real supply chain savings," writes John Langley, Jr., survey author and The Logistics Institute professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Saving Through Logistics

Implementing logistics applications are quick--less than six months is typical. Also quick is their return on investment (ROI), which is often well within 18 months. ROI is based on several measures. According to SupplySolutions, Inc. (Southfield, MI), a supply chain management systems provider, these measures include 30%-70% inventory reductions (work-in-progress and in-transit), slashed administrative costs, improved manufacturing efficiency, the elimination of premium shipping and part shortages, predictable production requirements, precise production scheduling, accurate production orders, significantly reduced "just-in-case" and excess inventory, improved use of limited resources, lower labor requirements, reduced overtime costs, reduced premium freight charges, and peace of mind. Add to that such items as faster order velocity and order fulfillment response times, more inventory turns, and less expediting in manufacturing, warehousing, and shipping, to name a few areas.

According to Deby Veneziale, Chief Product Officer for Arzoon, the company's logistics resource management software can deliver "hard-dollar savings of 5% to 15% of logistics costs by minimizing maverick transportation spending by suppliers and employees, optimizing carriers and transportation modes, reducing exposure to customs compliance liability, and eliminating many manual processes."


The goal, of course, is visibility in all areas of logistics. "Customers are demanding visibility into the status of their orders--when it's going to ship and when it leaves the door--they want a copy of the bill of lading and the packing list, and they want to go onto the Internet and click on a parcel number to know immediately what the status of the shipment is. This is all standard in a visibility solution," says Ken Lewis, President and CEO of Provia. The warehouse manager wants to know if a problem is beginning to brew before being blind sided. (Thus the importance of workflow-based alerts that can cross the Internet. Imagine the WMS telling your supplier, "Houston, we've got a problem.")

Interestingly, logistics is probably one problem where throwing technology at it/s good. "Just outsourcing the physical processes of logistics is not going to give you the huge hits in logistics savings," says Veneziale. "To move shipments and do it right, you've got to share [huge amounts of logistics information with the right players at the right time, let certain players execute on that information, allow other players just to view that information, and let other players set up the business rules.

"Till now, what was always lacking was the technology and automated workflows to bring that information to the players so they could all do the right thing--and the same thing. Companies did it with people in the past because they didn't have the technology to do it. Today the technology exists."
(e Logistics Categories)


THIRD-PARETY LOGISTICS (3PL) An organization that manages and
PROVIDER executes a particular logistics
 function, using its own assets and
 resources, on behalf of another

FULFILLMENT SERVICE PROVIDER (FSP) An organization that manages and
 executes part or all of s company's
 fulfillment process, using its own
 assets and resources.

LEAD LOGISTICS PROVIDER (LLP) An organization that manages a full
 scope of logistics services for a
 company by aggregating and
 coordinating the servces of
 multiple logistics service

LOGISTICS SOFTWARE VENDOR A company that develops, markets,
 and sells logistics software.

LOGISTICS EXCHANGE (LX) An Internet-based marketplace for
 buying and selling logistics
 services, managing logistics
 content, ad optimizing logistics

LOGISTICS VISIBILITY PROVIDER (LVP) An Internet-based service that
 provides the integration to and
 captures the data from logistics
 service providers; cleanses,
 verifies, and analyzes the data;
 and reports on logistics activities
 to facilitate supply chain


THIRD-PARETY LOGISTICS (3PL) Provides physical assets and
PROVIDER technology to execute the logistics
 for companies without that
 capability or tat have decided
 logistics is not a core competency.
 These activities include
 warehousing, transportation, and

FULFILLMENT SERVICE PROVIDER (FSP) Manages fulfillment processes on an
 outsourced basis. Services include
 order management, call center
 operation, sales and marketing
 support, warehousing, inventory
 management, transportation, and
 financial settlement.

LEAD LOGISTICS PROVIDER (LLP) Serves as the single point of
 contact betwen its client and the
 array of logistics and information
 service providers executing the
 client's supply chain. The LLP has
 full responsibility for the
 performance of service providers
 under contract.

LOGISTICS SOFTWARE VENDOR Provides logistics software either
 through license or ASP model to
 companies that manage logistics

LOGISTICS EXCHANGE (LX) Consolidates the procurement of
 logistics services enforce workflow
 processes, execute service
 agreements with logistics partners,
 and share resources among those
 partners. LXs usually assume little
 or no responsibility for the
 actions of the parties involved.

LOGISTICS VISIBILITY PROVIDER (LVP) Serves as a clearinghouse of
 logistics data to provide shippers
 with a global view of logistics
 activities, regardless of mode of
 transportation or service provider

(Source: AMR Research)
(Enterprise-Wide Benefits (Examples))


IN-TRANSIT INVENTORY VISIBILITY Lower safety stocks, avoid
 materials shortages and stockouts

REDUCE ORDER CYCLE TIMES Improve outbound and inbound

INTEGRATED TRADE COMPLIANCE Reduce border delays, avoid execess
 payments and fines

TOTAL LANDED COST Accurately predict inbound/outbound

SUPPLIER COMPLIANCE Reduce inbound freight cost


AUTOMATE TENDERING, TRACKING, Reduce errors, increase efficiency,
RFP, TRADE COMPLIANCE, ETC. lower labour costs


IN-TRANSIT INVENTORY VISIBILITY Customer Service, Manufacturing,

REDUCE ORDER CYCLE TIMES Customer Service, Manufacturing,

INTEGRATED TRADE COMPLIANCE Customer Service, Procurement

TOTAL LANDED COST Customer Service, Sourcing/




(Source: Airzoon, Inc)
ROI Opportunity: save 5-15% of your LOGISTICS COSTS

Optimized Transportation Sourcing: 10%
Eliminate Maverick Spending: 10%
Reduce Inventory Holding Costs: 15%
Reduce Administrative Overhead: 20%
Enforce Regulatory Compliance: 20%
Enforce Inbound Compliance: 20%
Consolidate Freight: 5%

Note: Table made from pie chart
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Article Details
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Author:Gould, Lawrence S.
Publication:Automotive Design & Production
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2001
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