There is hardly any manufacturing or marketing activity that can be achieved without the support of an effective logistics department. Logistics is considered to be the complete process involving planning, managing and controlling the flow of goods and services, information, real-time data and human resources from the point of origin to the point of destination.
The logistics process consists of the process of integration of several aspects such as material handling, warehousing, information, transportation, packaging and inventory. The primary duty of an effective logistics department is to ensure geographical repositioning of unfinished goods, and it is also concerned with the finished inventories of the organization being at the required place at the lowest possible cost.
The logistics department is entrusted with the responsibilities of ensuring that the entire process of logistics is maintained and developed in accordance with the goals of the business at an economical cost. This includes storage, distribution, warehousing, movement of goods from one place to another (internally or externally), tracking and delivery of goods. It includes a complete process of planning, managing, controlling and coordination to make sure that the goods reach the right place, at the right time, for the right cost and in a right condition. The various tasks performed by the department may be summarized as follows:
1. Ensuring all the requirements of the customers are met on time in an efficient and safe manner. 2. To coordinate with third party logistics (3PLs). 3. To ensure that there is a safe and timely dispatch of goods. 4. To draft plans, policies and procedures for successful implementation of logistics system. 5. To ensure that the business goals of the organization are in synchronization with the logistics system. 6. To create and maintain customer support. 7. To maintain coordination with vendors, service providers and transport carriers. 8. To ensure that no fraud is committed. 9. To ensure timely supply and payment for goods and reduce inventories.
Besides the performance of the above tasks, the logistics department also performs numerous other duties, namely:
Customer service management process – The department ensures that the goods are reached on time, in a safe condition and in the correct location. It also serves as a middleman between the company, vendors, and carriers for tracking down the geographical location of the goods and thereby providing customer support.
Procurement process – Strategic plans are developed by the department to support development of fresh product and manufacturing flow management. This helps in bringing raw materials or semi-finished goods to the premises of the organization in a safe and proper condition at an economical cost. This also involves interactions with 3PLs. The department is also responsible for coordination with suppliers with regard to scheduling, hedging and timely delivery.
Physical distribution – This process is concerned with the movement of finished goods to reach the point of destination. The department is responsible for the selection of the best mode of transportation while delivering the goods to the place of destination.
So it becomes obvious that the logistics department plays an important role in ensuring the delivery of goods and is therefore rightly considered as an integral part of a modern-day organization.