Logistics by the Book

Lying on the beach, you can get away with reading pretty much any book. But as the hot summer sun starts to fade and fall kicks in, it’s time to toss something a bit more serious into your laptop bag. Put down the John Grisham and pick up one of these books to kickstart a new season of logistics learning.

By Andre Martin, Jeff Harrop, and Mike Doherty

Despite 20 years of supply chain technology advances, store level out-of-stocks are still a persistent problem for retail supply chain managers. That’s because retailers focus too much on forecasting at every level of the supply chain, and don’t pay enough attention to what happens on store shelves, say this book’s authors. They instead propose “flowcasting”—an approach that makes consumer demand at the retail store the focal point for time-phased inventory and replenishment planning.

Key Takeaways: The book outlines new methods to manage the retail supply chain for promotions, seasonal items, and operational and financial planning; and offers step-by-step explanations of the Flowcasting business process, and how to implement it.

For details: www.flowcastingbook.com

Warehouses: Witnesses of Prosperity

By Ann DeKelver

Never thought a book about warehouses could occupy space on your coffee table? Warehouses: Witnesses of Prosperity may change your mind. This glossy tome, filled with photos, examines the warehouse as a force for social change and economic prosperity by dissecting the myriad ways warehouses impact everyday life. The book trades standard warehouse fare such as design/layout and order-picking system analysis for a unique take on the importance of warehousing that should pique the interest of anyone involved in logistics and distribution.

Key Takeaways: Pat yourself on the back for being among the forward-thinking businesspeople who recognize warehousing’s role in connecting global commerce and society.

For details: www.lannoo.com

A Practical Guide to Transportation and Logistics, 3rd Edition

By Michael Stroh

What began as an internal training reference for front-line shipping supervisors is now a reference textbook geared to both students and logistics professionals. The third edition of A Practical Guide to Transportation and Logistics has been expanded to more effectively cover transportation and logistics basics, including outsourcing, warehousing and inventory management, technology evaluation, and negotiation strategies.

Key Takeaways: “Logistics Lore” capsules, which offer real-world stories on relevant logistics issues, as well as ready-to-implement cost-cutting tactics in a variety of areas.

For details: www.logisticsnetwork.net

The Resilient Enterprise

By Yossi Sheffi

Unfortunately, preparing for and managing supply chain disasters—those as benign as a plant fire or as horrific as a terrorist attack or pandemic outbreak—are a corporate reality today. Supply chain vulnerability does not have to be fatal, however. Companies of all sizes can become “resilient enterprises” that quickly bounce back from disruptions by building flexibility and redundancy into their supply chain and corporate culture, says author and MIT professor Sheffi. The book explores whether success in the face of supply chain disasters depends on choices made before the disruption, or actions taken in the midst of it. (See sidebar for Sheffi’s own reading picks.)

Key Takeaways: Case study examples provide tools to help companies reduce supply chain risk and create competitive advantage.

For details: www.mitpress.mit.edu

Streamlined: 14 Principles for Building & Managing the Lean Supply Chain

By Mandyam M. Srinivasan

A leaner supply chain is an important goal for many companies. This book aims to help companies turn that goal into action by presenting 14 principles that streamline the supply chain. Srinivasan, a University of Tennessee professor, combines lean thinking with constraint management theory to show readers how to eliminate wasteful activities and reduce supply chain flow time.

Key Takeaways: The 14 principles help managers identify key actions they can undertake to improve supply chain performance and profitability. Case studies show how these principles have been applied in practice.

For details: www.thomson.com/learning/texere

The Big Squeeze: 10 Ways to Cut Your Spend 10% Right Now

By Patricia E. Moody

Squeezing efficiency out of every dollar is a concept supply chain and procurement managers are all too familiar with. Are there any new ways left to get more bang for the buck? Moody thinks so. Taking a fresh approach to analyzing procurement spend—she uses blog responses from real-life purchasing professionals to gather new ideas—the author presents 10 ways to cut spending without sacrificing quality.

Key Takeaways: In addition to an action plan for curbing supply chain, transportation, and MRO spend, the book offers cost breakdown worksheets for analyzing supplier quotes.

For details: www.leantransformation.com

Future Think: How to Think Clearly in a Time of Change

By Edie Weiner and Arnold Brown

There’s not much room in logistics for soothsayers and crystal balls. But even knowing what the future may bring is not enough to win in business, say futurists Weiner and Brown. The key is anticipating what current waves of change will bring, and knowing how to respond to the earliest signs of shifting trends. The book aims to help businesspeople overcome the tendency to ignore change and instead embrace it for competitive advantage.

Key Takeaways: How-to’s on a variety of topics—revealing the hidden patterns of change, overcoming the traps that stop you from managing change, and deciphering what you can and can’t learn from history, among others.

For details: www.weineredrichbrown.com

Logistics Outsourcing—A Management Guide

By Clifford F. Lynch

Logistics outsourcing has gained significant traction in the supply chain industry over the years, and shows no sign of slowing down. Successful relationships between shippers and their logistics providers can still be challenging, however. The second edition of Logistics Outsourcing offers a framework for evaluating whether or not to outsource logistics functions, and examines strategies for successful logistics partnerships.

Key Takeaways: Avoid signing a flawed contract by studying the book’s in-depth section on warehouse (both public and private), transportation, freight payment, and combination agreements.

For details: www.cflynch.com

What the Writers are Reading: Two of our featured authors share their top picks

What is the last book you read for business?

A Whole New Mind, by Dan Pink.

For pleasure?

I used to be an avid reader, but I’ve been on a bit of a reading hiatus since my third child was born last year. The last one I recall is The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown.

What books are essential reading for any logistics professional?

Out of the Crisis, by W. Edwards Deming; and Re-Engineering the Corporation, by Michael Hammer and James Champy.

Any other recommended reads?

The Southwest Airlines Way, by Jody Hoffer Gittell; and Built to Last, by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras.

What is the last book you read for business?

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, by Michael Lewis.

For pleasure?

I read spy/action novels a la Tom Clancy and Vince Flynn. The last book I read was A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe.

What books are essential reading for any logistics professional?

There are several good textbooks. I recommend: Supply Chain Management: Strategy, Planning, and Operation, by Sunil Chopra and Peter Meindl; Logistics and Supply Chain Management: Strategies for Reducing Cost and Improving Service, by Martin Christopher; and Matching Supply with Demand: An Introduction to Operations Management, by Gerard Cachon.

Any other recommended reads?

Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat. Not necessarily for logistics professionals, who know the material and live it, but for logistics professionals to explain the importance of what they do.

Tao & Zen—The Supply Chain Goes Eastern

Supply chain and distribution center management have certainly moved up the corporate ladder in terms of their importance to business. Have they also moved East?

Two new books—The TAO of Supply Chain Management by Clifford F. Lynch, and The Zen of Warehouse Management by Pat Kelley and Ron Hounsell—imbue Eastern principles into Western business practices as a way of achieving supply chain enlightenment.

Lynch’s lighthearted book imitates the ancient Chinese Tao Che Ching treatise on life, offering “160 serious and not-so-serious random rules and tips for the supply chain manager.”

Standouts include “Core competency is what you do best. It is not meant to describe your proficiency with a Granny Smith apple,” and “Collaboration is the glue that holds the supply chain together. Sometimes glue is scarce; in some firms, it doesn’t exist.”

The Zen of Warehouse Management tackles the more serious topic of how to prevent warehouse meltdown. Kelley, True Value Hardware’s director of logistics, and Hounsell, director of logistics services for Cadre Technologies, provide 20 Zen principles to drive creativity and improve performance throughout warehouse operations.

Equal parts management guide, facility manual, and motivational tome, the book encourages warehouse managers to break away from numbers-only thinking and embrace creative solutions. Meditation is optional.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *