The best way to describe what the logistics industry might be is to ask a question: Have you ever wondered why you received delivery on a rainy day– and then found the delivery was soaked the second it came off the truck?
How could it be; after all, the box wasn’t sitting outside in the rain! Or was it?
People tend to equate “freight and logistics industry” with “transport industry.” But, that’s not quite correct because, while transport is part of the process, “logistics industry” means the entire process. Logistics isn’t supplying chain, either–those are two highly unique functions.
The point is, they all work together to track the goods from the minute it leaves the origination point to the final destination. In between, there might even be storage and warehousing.
That is why you can order something from San Francisco and see a Connecticut mailing address.
It’s also why it’s so crucial for you to work with someone that not only has years of experience but also uses a process that’s in alignment with the 21st century, although the logistics industry is still somewhat behind-the-times. But that is slowly changing.
CAF Worldwide, a leader in freight forwarding, explains, “Consumer habits and expectations are always changing, which keeps the pressure on supply chain managers to revitalize operations for faster door-to-door delivery. Trends consistently come and go, ever-threatening product inventories with obsolescence.
To combat these forces, companies must be both forward-thinking regarding the latest tech applications and efficiencies, yet also grounded and confident in their respective areas of expertise. There is a delicate balance to be struck between expending energies for new product innovation and continuing mastery of delivering the products already brought to market. Companies who can execute this balancing act are those best-equipped to handle changing market tides swiftly, and are poised to turn a profit from progressive market developments.”
Let’s break it down into terms:
- Logistics Manager
Before you can understand the roles and responsibilities of a logistics manager, one must understand the basics of the planning process. It is about fulfilling and delivering the right products to the right place at the right time with the right quantities.
The professionals often work with inbound and outbound transportation, materials handling, inventory management, fleet management, warehousing, inventory management, importing and exporting documentation, demand planning, order fulfillment and much more all within the company’s production and distribution processes.
The role of a logistics manager entails working with nearly every department in the company to complete shipments successfully. He or she must work with both internal and external customer service. They must analyze all transactions and movements to be able to improve efficiency and generate savings. And these positions often require working with people in multiple time zones and multiple countries at the same time.
- Supply Chain Manager
The supply chain is often used interchangeably with logistics; however, these processes have highly unique functions.
A supply chain incorporates both internal and external networks to acquire, produce and distribute various products. This might include vendors, retailers, suppliers and manufacturers. The role of the supply chain is to provide customers with the items they want, where they want it when they want it and at the price they want.
A supply chain manager must cultivate relationships with individuals in each step of the supply chain. Part of their overall goals might be to find ways to create efficiency and cost savings throughout the manufacturing process. This includes labor and materials and will monitor the entire production process, including the purchasing of raw materials and determining the suppliers from whom they are purchased.
- Customs Broker
If a business is involved in international trade through importing, exporting or both, they may use a customs broker.
With help of technology and the digital age, this customs business has been able to establish independent entities rather than for companies to host their own customs brokers in-house. These positions are typically employed by freight forwarders, customs brokerage firms, importers, exporters and shipping lines. All individuals who wish to work in this profession will require a broker license and always act on behalf of their clients.
These highly trained professionals will provide a wide range of services. Such services might include preparing documentation and filing documents on behalf of the client to be able to import or export their goods. They may pay the taxes and duties required for goods to enter or leave the country. They will also constantly remain up-to-date on the most current rules, regulations and compliance requirements in the ever-changing industry that is international trade.
While all of these roles often cross paths in today’s digital age with the help of technology, they are distinct in their daily tasks and end goals. Each is required for the successful delivery of goods to end users. And each is required for the success of a business.