A Valid Question

Recently I was interviewed for a popular supply chain and logistics blog. The interviewer asked this question: Has the name of the magazine been a deterrent because it doesn’t encompass the full breadth of content you provide?

A valid question. My answer: It has not been a deterrent, but sometimes it does need explanation.

So why do we call the magazine Inbound Logistics? When we started publishing 40 years ago, few readers actually had inbound transportation programs or were practicing demand-driven logistics. It was new territory. But we were on a mission to flip the established practice of pushing product at the market. Instead, we encouraged readers to pull materials and product into their facilities based on demand signals. Companies that hoped to be globally competitive didn’t need to sit on piles of inventory and hope that their customers wanted what they were selling.

That business approach, which we called “inbound logistics,” doesn’t sound odd now. But in 1980, it was counterculture.

Today, many call this approach supply chain management or the demand-driven enterprise. No matter what you call it, the benefits and value are clear: It motivates siloed enterprise functions to work together, puts customers at the center of the process and recognizes their value, and reduces resources and dollars tied up in inventory and supporting infrastructure.

Inbound logistics is even more important today, given current business circumstances, market realities, and consumer behavior.

As demand-driven enterprises evolve, the transportation sector has adapted to provide the solutions to support them. While Inbound Logistics’ publisher looks skyward to identify future trends (see Checking In), many of the answers you need are in front of you, right here on the ground. The Logistics Planner profiles leading companies offering the solutions that demand-driven enterprises require.

So is the name Inbound Logistics a deterrent? Quite the opposite. Over the years, many readers told me that the magazine’s mission to encourage and promote flipping from outbound to inbound was the spark that fired them up to change the dynamics of their enterprises.

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