Logistics, Supply ChainKeith Biondo is the publisher of Inbound Logistics magazine.Eagle-eyed readers will notice a slight change to the cover tag line beneath the Inbound Logistics logo. It may be just one word—from The Magazine for Demand-Driven Logistics to The Magazine for Demand-Driven Enterprises—but that slight change acknowledges the massive business shift in the way you drive excellence.We first extolled the benefits of matching demand more closely to supply and aligning your operations to support that shift in thinking in 1981. Our goal was to encourage logistics and purchasing professionals to work together to allow the market to pull the process rather than push product at the market. Most companies were pushing and the result was often excess inventory, too many touches and returns, or out-of-stock events.Today, the concept of supply chain management has moved beyond logistics to a core enterprise activity. The Inbound Logistics audience still includes purchasing and logistics professionals, but an increasingly diverse group of business managers—from CEOs to operations vice presidents, customer service team leaders, and IT professionals—continues to join our readership. Some readers work for the biggest global brands while others are at e-commerce startups seeking to grow and go head to head against larger and more established competitors. Starting as a demand-driven enterprise puts these smaller companies on the same plane as the Amazons of the world, at least in terms of enterprise operations, by letting their customers pull the process.As part of our market research for this edition, we asked some leading carriers if customers have changed their requests and requirements over the past two years. Here are some responses:“We are receiving more requests for complete logistics services offerings: national (not just regional) TL, LTL, and parcel transportation, warehousing, and co-packaging.”“Many more fulfillment requests (B to C).”“Companies are looking for alternatives to either Amazon or doing it themselves. Those requests have tripled in the past 12 months.”“Customers are looking for more detail in the ability to track their products to their end consumer (demand driven). They also want the tracking to be geared toward mobile devices, with more frequent updates.”“It is no longer purely a cost-based relationship. Companies are looking for carriers that have made significant investments in technology as well as human collateral that enables a customer-centric (demand-driven) focus.”It is clear that achieving success in today’s economic environment requires more than demand-driven logistics excellence. We need a commitment to creating the demand-driven enterprise.
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