January 2013 | Commentary | Checking In

The Great Equalizer

Tags: Supply Chain Management

Felecia Stratton is the editor of Inbound Logistics magazine.

Tension and drama always permeate the conference room when the Inbound Logistics team gathers to decide the theme of the Logistics Planner issue. This year was no different. While we did agree to focus on how demand-driven logistics, or supply chain management, drives competitive advantage, we couldn't agree on how best to present that idea. Tempers flared and blood pressure rose as the editorial team argued to focus on supply chain management as a great equalizer, while the publisher held fast to his position: demand-driven logistics should be featured as a force multiplier.

If you look at the cover, you'll know who won the argument.

But really, we were both right. However you want to define it, supply chain management makes a difference by empowering companies to do more with less (equalizer), and/or to project a stronger competitive force (multiplier). As the articles in this issue demonstrate, the returns are considerable.

Our cover article, Supply Chain Management: The Great Equalizer, features six different examples of how business logistics managers are leveraging transportation and supply chain management as force multipliers within their respective organizations. Collectively, these examples reveal how the supply chain becomes a platform for tactical and even strategic change as companies look to equalize marketplace imbalances.

Many practitioners also struggle to find balance between customer service, cost, and capacity when managing transportation. As you'll read in Lisa Terry's article, Trimming Your Transportation Spend shippers, carriers, and their partners are turning to technology and network optimization to tease out hidden costs.

Honing your logistics leadership skills is an important asset not only in terms of career enrichment, but also organizational growth and strength. In Secrets to Success, Justine Brown outlines the steps logisticians can take to become a logistics workforce multiplier.

Finally, the leading companies featured in the Logistics Planner are the epitome of force multipliers. Partnering with these leaders can help multiply the power of your supply chain to serve customers better.

It would be impossible to publish this 500-page issue without the dedicated Inbound Logistics team: Michael Murphy, Catherine Harden, Joseph O'Reilly, Shawn Kelloway, Mary Brennan, Sonia Casiano, and Jason McDowell, who each did the work of five to provide you with the content you need to help you become a business logistics force to reckon with in 2013.