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Logistics: the invisible support structure
Published on May 31, 2020 15 min
Other Talks in the Series: Logistics Management
Logistics and climate change: a case study in adaptation in the logistics industry
- Dr. Darren Prokop
- University of Alaska, USA
"Logistics: The Invisible Support Structure", presented by Dr. Darren Prokop, Professor of Logistics, University of Alaska Anchorage.
What is logistics? It is the art and the science of managing three constraints, time, physical space and location. Every organization relies on logistics to some degree in order to conduct business. Organizations across the world may link up in a supply chain in order to meet some strategic goal. But it is logistics that will make or break that strategy.
Logistics is about getting seven things right. Get the right item, in the right quantity and in the right condition, delivered to the right customer, at the right time, in the right location and do all of this at the right price.
Logistics also makes or breaks any transaction. It facilitates transactions when carriers and third party logistics providers are available to move people and items from one place to another. It also facilitates transactions when the support infrastructure is in working order. But logistics hinders transactions when the infrastructure is subpar, congested or impacted by emergencies. It is also a hindrance if a lack of competition among available carriers keeps freight rates too high.
For most people logistics is an invisible industry. Most people turn on a light switch or a water faucet and not give much thought to how those modern conveniences work so reliably. It is very much the same for the logistics industry. For consumers this is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing comes from the logistics providers being so efficient and reliable that one need not give them much thought. The curse is that if something should go wrong, it can disrupt business and even threaten lives. A good way to appreciate the role of logistics is to consider how it