The Evolution of Logistics Management

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Anyone who is old enough to work has seen some kind of change in the way companies handle logistics management. Whether it is just a new computer system or a change from manual to computerized, each of us has seen some kind of change.

Those who are older will also remember when logistics management was a manual function and required a person to walk through the warehouse and manually load material onto a pallet and then onto the truck for shipment. The managers were hands-on in the early days of logistics management because they had to ascertain everyone was doing the job they were assigned to do.

In the early days of automated logistics management, companies were more apt to also do manual checks to make sure everything was processed correctly. There was not as much reliability on computerized systems as there is today because the programs were new and companies were less likely to trust the data they produced. There was the fear that if something was wrong the customers would receive the wrong order or would receive their order too late for them to be able to take advantage of it. There was less competition yet there was more concern for the needs of the customers.

The further we go into the 21st century, the more companies begin to rely on automated systems for order fulfillment and the entire supply chain management functions. The problem is systems are not and never will be reliable enough for companies to eliminate their backup systems. We still lose electricity and servers go down during critical operations causing us to lose any data we had not saved. Even if you saved five minutes ago, if your system goes down without warning, you will lose anything you have input since the last time you saved your work.

That doesn’t mean you should reverse your role and return to a manual system of logistics management. However, more companies need to take the time to do a period manual check. Quite often this is only performed when they have reason to believe there is an error–this may only happen every couple of years or even less. Taking the time to compile a manual listing of the all the information that goes into the logistics management programs will help keep all of the work organized and easily accessible in case it is needed.

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