November 1998 | Commentary | Checking In

Logistics for the Common Man

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Since I started editing Inbound Logistics in 1984, IL's mission has been to help companies of all types and all sizes adopt new logistics ideas; specifically to take a pull approach to logistics.

As I plan our editorial coverage for next year, I'm hearing more and more from readers at small and mid-size companies who say that while they learn much from the best-in-class case histories we publish, they want to read more stories targeted to their logistics needs.

One enthusiastic IL reader, Lee Johnson of MicroWeir, Portland, Ore., says logistics reengineering is not just the province of the big boys - those companies that can afford ERP systems and top consultants, those that have enough logistics expenditures to justify a 3PL taking on their business. Smaller companies like MicroWeir are impatient. They want to participate.

For mid-size and smaller companies, the time is right. Why? Four reasons:

  1. Universal acceptance of the philosophy flip from push to pull.
  2. Large companies are pulling the mid-size and smaller companies into the New Logistics by challenging them to meet stringent supply chain requirements and, more recently, sharing their supply chain knowledge base. They realize that taking inventory out of the process is better than pushing it back to their smaller vendors. Ideas are filtering back through the supply chain - the domino theory of SCM.
  3. Inexpensive software and technology make SCM solutions more available. And, carriers and 3PLs (see Con-Way, Trends, page 10) are just starting to provide solutions to small companies on a broad basis.
  4. The Internet is the great equalizer - giving direct access to markets. In many cases, there's no longer a Wal-Mart or KMart standing between the small company and its direct customers. For a little bit of money, and the acceptance of an idea, small companies can logistically compete with large companies on an equal footing.

We call these developments Logistics for the Common Man. Thanks to your suggestions, we will write more about this phenomenon.

Large or small, we will continue meeting your logistics information needs, so give us your input. Is your small company successfully practicing supply chain integration with larger companies? Do you have a large vendor you're logistically plugged into? Or maybe you're a larger company sharing supply chain expertise with your smaller vendors. IL readers, more than anyone, know that true supply chain integration means all companies in the pipeline, without regard to size or market footprint, should reap the benefits - tapping into the productivity that flows from logistics reengineering.

Keep driving this change. Share your ideas, complaints and successes with me via e-mail: editor@inboundlogistics.com.


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