Image by Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL) via Flickr
Popular Star Trek hero Mr. Spock is fond of letting logic run his life and decision making process. In his world, this has worked to great effect. Back down here on earth, you can think about the same approach to your business when you apply logistics management to everything you do.
It’s not about operating without emotion, but it is about working out the details and fine print of all the aspects of the development, manufacturing, marketing and fulfillment of any product. To do anything less would be illogical.
Take for example the type of logistics management that goes into delivering an ordinary letter. Yes, there can be plenty of jokes made at the expense of the U.S. Postal Service but the bottom line is that when it works you can actually send a letter across the country in a matter of days for mere pennies. That’s a pretty good bargain in anyone’s book.
The first level of logistics management with delivering a letter is to make sure you’ve written out the correct address. Quite often it’s not the fault of the postal service that a letter doesn’t make its final destination but the fault of the person sending it. The key is the zip code. This a compressive listing of geographical zones spread out across the country. Each zip code corresponds to a particular area. When sorted, the letters addressed with those zip codes will be transported to the designated areas. Without the logistics management that went into setting up the zip code system, there would be letters piling up everywhere.
Once that letter reaches the right zone, it has to be sorted down to neighborhoods and then down to blocks and then it can be handed off to the mail carrier. Even loading up a postal carrier’s bag and sending them off to deliver needs logistic management. Imagine if they delivered a letter at one address then went two blocks over to deliver the next one then backtracked to the original street for the next deliver. Illogical, right? Logistics management sets out the best routes for mail carriers so they are delivering mail and not wasting time.
And when something goes wrong like a letter is lost, logistics management has already set up a system whereby that letter can be traced and sourced back to the point of origin. The postal system is working around the clock, even on the day when mail isn’t delivered there are still shipments being made. This all takes a lot of planning, coordination, implementation and, of course, logistics management. In many ways the Post Office operates in the same manner that a fulfillment service does, making sure your mail gets where it needs to go cheaply and efficiently. Part of good management is knowing when to delegate tasks,and delegating order fulfillment can be a key part of good logistics management.