LOGISTICS MANAGER CHALLENGES
Logistics management refers to the availing of goods where there are needed at the right time. It has five components which include storage, transportation, inventory, packaging and communication (Fernie & Mckinnon, 2009). Logistics managers have to consider several factors when they want to move freight from either Asia or Europe into the United States transportation systems. To begin with, route diversification is important so that the disruptions can be at a minimum. The availability of other routes alleviates the disruptions that could be experienced if there were only one route thus natural calamities and other unexpected events will not affect delivery of the goods.
The strikes that were experienced in 2005 in the West Coast ports led many logistics managers to position their warehouses on the American Gulf and East coasts away from the traditional west coast. The Second factor is the costs involved in forwarding the freight to the destination. The forwarders being business people always want to use the routes that make them incur the least cost. In the case of US and Asia, most logistics managers prefer using the water route to reduce the costs for cargo that are destined for the East cost. This is cheaper than when the cargo docks at the West coast then hauled using trucks across the United States (Rodrigue, 2010).
Time is also a factor to be considered for instance if the cargo is perishable. The fastest route is chosen for instance Price Rupert city port in Canada which has an air, land and air transport connections will be the choice. The area of Prince Rupert being large allows a faster intermodal interchanges and also experiences very little congestion. When there is reduced congestion, the holdups will be at a minimal. Finally, logistics managers also consider the reliability of the transportation routes that they use. There are considerations as to the acceptable time within which the cargo should be delivered. The costs should also be consistent without experiencing seasonal changes. The rail services should also be consistent so that the intermodal transfer should be smooth (Rodrigue, 2010).
There are three main characteristics that the distribution of non food items purchased online exhibit. First, there is the physical delivery of the purchased goods to the homes or offices of the people who bought them. The goods can be transported in courier vans mostly form a depot which is maintained by the company that sold the goods. Second characteristic is the failed delivery which can occur when the buyer can not be found at home when the actual delivery is brought to the designated drop off point. This results in extra expenses being incurred by the logistics company as they would continue storing the good even after they had spent more in moving the consumer’s order. Lastly, there are goods which are delivered but are rejected by the consumers. According to Fernie & Mckinnon (2009) there are higher returns of non-food products purchased online as compared to those that are bought using the traditional methods where the buyer physically goes to the seller and only buys the good that will suit the type of work that they intend for it. The returned goods are refurbished rapidly and put back for sale online
The inventories can be better utilized and this will enable the firm achieve a reduction the costs of operation due to fewer losses. The tracking of the products can also be improved by the use of Radio Frequency Identification Card (RFID). This will help track the stock of the firm so that they can know when to reorder, what to reorder and possibly the customers who are interested in the product (Fernie, Sparks & Mckinnon, 2011).
In conclusion, to achieve a higher efficiency in logistics management, the firm must limit the error rate so that the service to the customers can be to precision. Warehouse efficiency and other cost cutting strategies should also be at the core of the company’s operations. A logistic manager can reduce the challenges facing logistics management by better inventory management control and consumer response so that the cases of returns can be limited.
Fernie, J. & A.C. McKinnon, (2009). “The development of Retail logistics”, Chapter 10 in Logistics and Retail Management, J. Fernie & L. Sparks (eds.), Kogan Page Ltd: London.
Rodrigue, J (2010). Factors Impacting North American Freight Distribution in View of the Panama Canal Expansion. Retrieved from http://people.hofstra.edu/jeanpaul_rodrigue/downloads/Panama%20Canal%20Expansion%20Study,%20Final%20Report.pdf on 17/08/2011.
Fernie, J.; Sparks, L & Mckinnon, A. (2011). Retail Logistics in the UK: Past, Present and Future. Retrieved From https://dspace.stir.ac.uk/bitstream/1893/2867/1/Fernie%20et%20al%20probably%20final%20version.pdf