January 2006 | Commentary | Checking In

Marking Our First Quarter Century

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25 years is a long time to be doing anything. That's why we recognize anniversaries, sometimes with cards like the one marking Inbound Logistics' 25th year.You'll find it in the front of this magazine.

Looking at that card, and reading its sentiments, took me on a trip down memory lane, back to our first issue. Much in our industry has changed since then, but our editorial philosophy has not.

In that first issue, we set forth our editorial mission: to introduce and educate readers about an innovative idea—"reversing" the flow of transportation from outbound to inbound, or, in other words, demand-driven logistics.

"The art of getting the goods from there to here has become more important than getting the goods from here to there." That's what we said 25 years ago, and that's what we say today.

Those of us at Inbound Logistics who have worked this mission for 25 years recall how the components of the logistics discipline were managed separately in functional silos—traffic management, for example, seeking to optimize their task with little regard to how it impacted other supply chain functions.

Without cross-functional collaboration, optimizing transport spend most likely sub-optimized other functions such as warehousing and customer service. Our goal then, as it is today, was to champion the merits of approaching business logistics with a high degree of inter-functional collaboration, even extending outside the enterprise to vendors and customers—all with an eye to matching demand to supply.

Because of this silo approach to transportation management, the word "logistics" was not widely accepted outside the military. But our belief in the need for collaboration was so strong that we became the first industry publication to put the world "logistics" in its title, years before any other publication. And over the last 25 years, that focus on demand-driven logistics evolved into what we call supply chain management today.

We didn't invent these concepts, but we championed and rallied behind readers who were inbound logistics innovators. And that's why we chose innovation as the theme of this 25th anniversary issue. Our cover story (page 104) takes an in-depth look at the strategies, technologies and companies fueling supply chain innovation today.

It was more than innovation that helped produce this 528-page issue (the largest in our history). It was the hard work, dedication, enthusiasm, and creativity of the IL staff—Assistant Managing Editor Amy Roach Partridge, Art Director Michael Murphy, Art/Production Assistant Shawn Kelloway, and Publication Manager Sonia Casiano.

Through the years, readers told us how their struggle to match demand to supply was well worth the effort, despite corporate resistance. That idea, reflected in our editorial mission, is exactly the right way to approach business in this competitive, global world—and is what inspires us to continue as we enter our next 25 years.

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