Do it faster, do it cheaper, do it NOW!

Nancy Anderson
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As difficult as it may be to admit, most Logistics Professionals thrive on change. The challenge of how to make this stream of goods and movement as effective as possible is a key factor in why many of us entered this line of work. The larger challenge becomes that with any change comes higher expectations. Change the routing, change the warehousing locations, minimum inventory, least handling, and all with greater speed, higher accuracy and less cost. Then we get to do it again tomorrow!

George Kuhn of Logistics Quarterly Magazine writes: “Let’s face it - it’s a mess out there! The transportation industry is changing minute by minute. The pressures of competition, escalating fuel prices, shifting consumer behaviors, shortened lead times for manufacturers, changes in sourcing patterns and locations, climate change and, ultimately, increased government regulations, all seem to be designed to keep us on our toes. Trade and global governance have changed. The twenty-first century’s global economy is witnessing the most profound transformation in centuries. New actors, technologies and paradigms require renewed rules and governance for world trade.”

He predicts that the answer to what is going to happen in the next decade is related to when business will “return from lunch” and will address the critical issues to be integrated into business mind sets, education, agendas, strategies and action. Trends to track and leverage in logistics professions include:

1. Information and communication technology (ICT)
Developments in ICT have led to positive social and economic impacts. Who would have imagined back in 2001 that by 2010 some 2.6 billion people would be equipped with a mobile phone? ICT has acted as an dynamic force opening formerly unimaginable opportunities.

2. The rise of the Global South
Growth and development emerging economies provide considerable domestic benefits, especially in poverty reduction, and the increased commercial ties between countries. The hub-and-spokes economy, where the prosperous called the tune and the needy danced, is over. Times have definitely changed.

3. The aspiring classes
Though poverty persists, there has been considerable growth among successful economies of the undeveloped global markets leading to “the rise of the aspiring classes,” as coined by Professor Lehmann of IMD; the Economist has estimated the emergence of “two million more bourgeois.” This phenomenon also gives rise to immense opportunities and remarkable developments.

Where does logistics fit into this macro picture and all of this change? One of the new realities is the tremendous growth in new markets and emerging economies. These regions are gaining - and demand - a more significant role in the global economy. This is expected to result in new business opportunities for the logistics industry. Another new reality results from the wide fluctuations in world trade market and production costs.

These changes will lead to fluctuations in global freight flows and the demand for warehousing services. This will result in diminishing opportunity to PLAN logistics processes. Permanent change is becoming the order of the day in planning and those that miss out by not diversifying broadly enough and not adopting a global stance will be left in the proverbial “dust”.

I believe the message is this: “A changing industry does not require a whole new set of qualities, but a new mix of competencies! Become determined to predict what those competencies will be, and make them part of your personal repertoire . . . NOW!

You can do this!

By K.B. Elliott

K. B. Elliott is a freelance writer for Working various supply positions in the Detroit area for over 30 years gives him a unique perspective on the process. On the chance occurrence of spare time, you will find him building computers and airplanes, or restoring antiques. To read more of his blogs, please go to, and be sure to check out the postings for jobs in nearly any industry at Nexxt


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