The production environment has been changing throughout history. We have seen logistics management and the entire supply chain management ladder change from one of manual operations to one that relies on automation to perform the functions necessary.
For instance, there are computer programs that will actually tell warehouse workers where to store incoming products. They no longer have to rely on inventory management or walk around the warehouse to see where there is enough room. While not every company relies so heavily on automated logistics management and inventory control, there are many functions that no longer require manual labor to perform.
Will there come a time when all companies will rely on fully-automated logistics management? Perhaps it will become more automated than it is, but for companies to completely replace their manual logistics management functions with automated logistics management, those systems will need to become more reliable. Currently there are too many things that can go wrong, and this is not just in the logistics management area but in all areas of retail and wholesale merchandising and production. Computer systems can fail, and it is not likely this will ever change; it would require perfecting the electrical and telephone lines that operate those systems first.
The farther we go into the 21st century, the more important effective logistics management will become. With the number of competitors in today’s market, it is essential for companies to build management networks that will be superior to those of their competitors. Competition is part of the business and cannot be avoided; it makes companies more prone to perfecting their logistics management functions. While perfection is not something anyone is likely to achieve in logistics management, the closer a company is to perfection, the higher its profits will be.
While the future is certainly likely to show an increase in the number of companies that use automation for logistics management, there will still be the need for manual systems as well. We may also see the introduction of more reliable systems, but unless we see reliability in the servers and systems that run those automated systems, we will not see the time we can eliminate the manual systems completely. The future will show us better ways to operate fulfillment services and create more effective logistics management teams, but we will still need the manual back up system in case of a failure.