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Supply chain refers to the network a business relies upon to get goods or services from the manufacturer to the customer. The supply chain is essentially the collective term for the steps and the contributors involved in taking products from creation to final use. In the instance of a standard consumer product, the supply chain is the set of processes and involved parties that gets the product from the production lines into the hands of the buyer.
Though highly interwoven and interdependent, logistics and supply chain are fundamentally different. Logistics refers to the physical process of obtaining, storing, moving and generally managing products, materials and other resources. Whereas the supply chain bridges the gap between the product/service and the end user, logistics is more about physical transportation, storage and movement. The obvious example of a logistical setting being a warehouse, where goods are stored, received, sent and generally managed.
Businesses invest extensively in efforts to optimise, simplify and ideally shorten the supply chain. The shorter and simpler the supply chain is, the most cost-effective and reliable it becomes. The best possible scenario often being to manufacture, manage and ship products in-house, without involving third-parties. The quality and efficiency of logistics and supply chain management impact every aspect of the company’s operations. From product pricing to output to efficiency to expenditure, it is a specialism that quite literally keeps the business moving.
Without exception, there is always a better way of getting the job done. Not only this, but the complexity of the modern business supply chain demands constant control, analysis and targeted efforts to minimise disruption. When one element in the supply chain breaks down, the whole operation comes to a grinding halt. It is the responsibility of the supply chain manager to ensure this doesn’t happen.
In a warehouse setting, managers and supervisors keep comprehensive control of incoming, outgoing and on-hand stock levels. They effectively take care of the product/material back-catalogue the business relies on.
Though it is technically possible to operate without dedicated logistics and supply chain management, it is generally inadvisable. Without meticulous control and ongoing analysis, it is far too easy for product supply processes to fall into absolute disarray.
The primary benefits of logistics and supply chain management include:
1 –Improved Efficiency
A dedicated logistics and supply chain manager will constantly strive for improved efficiency and performance. They proactively pursue initiatives and alternative approaches for the benefit of the business.
2 – Contingency Planning
Strong supply chain management means having backups and contingency plans in order, should any link in the chain suddenly fail in its obligations. This way, disruption and downtime can be minimised.
3 – Lower Costs
The supply chain manager’s responsibilities also extend to minimising operational costs. Every plausible approach will be considered, analysed and revisited periodically, in order to ensure the utilised system is the most cost-effective.
4 – Effective Stock Control
Having an excess of stock or running out of key items can prove extremely detrimental for the modern business. The logistics and supply chain manager works on ensuring neither scenario manifests.
5 – Performance Analysis
Logistics and supply chain managers work directly with senior management, carrying out comprehensive performance analysis and providing detailed reports and proposals for improvement.
Any business that sells or supplies products or materials of any kind could benefit from high-level logistics and supply chain management. In warehouse settings, logistics management is a fundamental prerequisite. The field is extremely diverse and extends to almost every contemporary industry and sector. Take a start in this exciting new career with our free online courses in supply chain management.
The mechanics of the modern supply chain are extremely complex and require intensive study. Gaining an understanding of logistics and supply chain efficiency means breaking both sub-topics down to their respective core components, in order to investigate each individually. Experience counts for a great deal, but success in the field also depends on strong theoretical knowledge.
Oxford Home Study College works hard to make logistics and supply chain management courses accessible, affordable and enjoyable. We personally select and verify every course we offer, in accordance with both exceptional quality and academic value. There are no deadlines to worry about, we provide all course materials and full tutor support is available throughout your studies.
Explore a world of incredible career options with our Level 4 diploma of logistics online, or improve promotion prospects with our Level 3 supply chain certification online. Study for a an accredited inventory management certification online, or explore the basics of the industry with our Level 2 Supply Chain Management Certificate.