In our world, packages arrive at the front door, we wear clothes from one country that were manufactured in another and eat produce from thousands of miles away. It’s easy to take advantage of these things because they have become the norm, but none of it would be possible without logistics services. Logistics is the process of efficiently managing goods (finished products and raw materials) and moving them from one location to another until they reach their final destination.
The logistics industry is a major part of the United States economy worth over $7 billion in 2017 and projected to reach nearly $13 billion by 2027. Logistics is a crucial aspect of almost every business from lumber yards to restaurants. With the rise of global trade and the increase in online shopping, logistic centers are growing, and they are busier and more important than ever.
You’ve likely seen a logistics center, also known as a logistics hub, from the interstate. They look like massive warehouses or a collection of huge buildings. Logistics centers consist of more than warehouses though, they include offices, distribution centers, shipping and transport services. There are several steps and a lot of labor that goes into getting goods from one place to another. A logistics center is the central location that facilitates the reception, organization, storage and distribution of goods. In some cases, logistics hubs also participate in production storage and the processing of returns.
The Flow of Goods
Logistics services are responsible for facilitating the flow of goods along the supply chain from beginning to end. Logistics providers perform the following tasks:
- Coordinate the transportation of goods from one place to another
- Record and analyze information to improve efficiency
- Organize and store goods
- Process and execute orders and returns
Goods pass through various stages within a logistics center. Quality management at each stage of the process successfully moves a good along the supply chain while working to improve efficiency.
Supply and Inventory Management
Goods come into the logistics center from all over the country and the world to be sorted and inventoried. Logistics centers receive all sorts of manufactured goods that will eventually be sent on to a retail business or to a final customer. They also receive raw materials that will be transported to manufacturers and factories to be transformed into a final product.
Logistics centers are massive scale operations, so organization is key to ensure that every good is accounted for, can be quickly found, and is in good shape. Logistics centers use inventory management software to keep track of every item that is comes into the hub, track where it will be stored, and record when an item is transported out. In short, supply and inventory management tracks the flow of goods to ensure that the right goods are in the right place at the right time.
Analyzing Inventory Data
With limited storage space, logistics centers must optimize the space they have and avoid taking on too much of a product that will sit on shelves for an extended period. On the other hand, they need enough of each product to meet demand. Inventory management software enables inventory managers to analyze data and predict future demand which allows them to plan and optimize their use of storage space. Inventory managers must also consider the shelf-life and expiration dates of certain products to avoid waste.
Goods that come into the logistics center are often stored rather than immediately distributed. Storing goods at a logistics center creates a steady stream of readily available goods that can be quickly shipped out when orders come in. Specialized storage facilities can store produce, meat, and fish, keeping them fresh until they are distributed to restaurants, grocery stores, and consumers. At a logistics center, storage is a on a massive scale and the warehouses keep getting larger. Storage management collaborates with inventory management to make sure that space is being used efficiently.
Distribution is the movement of goods to their next destination which is either a retail store or a final consumer. Some online stores ship their own goods directly to consumers, but many companies outsource their distribution to third-party logistics services (3PL) that manage their distribution through a logistics center. With 3PL, the logistics center receives orders and is responsible for the storing, picking, packing, and shipping of goods on behalf of the online retailer.
Production Logistics Management
Production logistics is the planning, management, storage, and transport of materials that are used to produce a good. Raw materials, supplies, and parts are stored in a warehouse at the logistics center and distributed to manufacturers and factories. The goal of production logistics is to utilize space strategically and have the right supply of materials to support production. To attain this goal, production logistics managers must use data to predict the timing of when each material will be needed, estimate how much of the material will be needed, and consider the space that each material takes up.
Reverse Logistics Management
Reverse logistics is the process of moving a good in the opposite direction of the supply chain, from a customer back to the seller or manufacturer. Reverse logistics includes the management of returns as well as items that can be recycled or reused. Returned goods arrive at a processing center where it will be inspected and sorted into a return category. Based on its condition, a good will be resold as new, refurbished, resold as used, scrapped, or recycled. It is the job of reverse logistics management to process returns correctly to limit waste, promote customer satisfaction, and keep the financial loss as low as possible for the manufacturer or seller.
Trust Rowe Transfer with Your Transportation and Storage Needs
After reading this, you probably have a greater appreciation for logistics. Logistics services support our economy, and transporting goods efficiently and safely is essential to the success of a business. Damaged or lost goods are costly, a pain to deal with, and an inconvenience to the intended recipient. The stakes are especially high when it comes to the transport of expensive or oversized items.
Rowe Transfer has been a trusted name in the logistics industry for over 130 years (that is not a typo, they’ve really been doing this for over a century!). We provide expert rigging solutions to securely transport expensive and heavy machinery from medical equipment to construction machinery. We also offer custom crating services to ensure that your goods are safe and secure to endure the shipping process. Unlike other transportation companies that use the same approach for a wide variety of cargo, Rowe Transfer’s team of in-house engineers work closely with customers to formulate a custom plan tailored to their unique needs.
Rowe Transfer is the obvious choice for your transport needs! To learn more or to request a quote visit online rowetransfer.com or call (865)523-0421 to learn more.