If anybody has seen a UPS commercial in the last few years, they have heard the word logistics a lot. However, the meaning of this term is not as simple as it seems in the advertisements. The broad definition of this word is–the procurement, maintenance, distribution, and replacement of personnel and materials.
Although, this definition can be broken down even further into different categories, based on what type of business it is. All businesses use logistics in some capacity, however to goods or services being provided affect how logistics are used from company to company.
This broad term can be broken down into three smaller terms that can help explain what logistics actually is. Those three terms are subsistence logistics, operations logistics, and systems logistics. Here is an overview of what they mean, and examples of those specific types of logistics.
This branch of logistics is concerned mainly with fundamental necessities that all humans need. Food, water, shelter, and clothing are all taken into account here; it is also stable and very predictable. Companies that produce these things find it relatively easy to pinpoint what is needed, how much is needed, and where it is needed.
It can be argued that subsistence logistics, is logistics in its most basic form; answering the questions of who needs what, and how much of it do they need? The fundamental nature of this category of logistics ties it closely to how primitive societies act. Although a primitive society wouldn’t necessarily have business or enterprise, they would experience the need to allocate basic resources, which is what subsistence logistics is all about. In addition to early societies, this principle is paramount to an industrial economy. Finally, this provides the basis for a more complicated form of logistics.
This category of logistics takes things one step further. Instead of just being concerned with raw materials, and the supply of or demand of those materials, operations logistics has to do with implementing the systems that take these raw materials to produce the luxuries and necessities that Americans are able to enjoy.
Operations logistics is mostly concerned with the movement and storage of materials in and out of different enterprises. For example, bio banks which provide fundamental services for the progress of medical research. A biobank for secure storage can offer a multitude of operations logistics services including: lab transplant and relocation, chemical transport, lab relocation management, lab animal transport, bio repository management, and cold chain management.
Operations logistics is chiefly important to biological research as well as many other industries including fast food restaurants and automobile manufacturers. However, this form of logistics is relatively easy to predict as well, because of the focus on movement and storage. There are some drawbacks to this category of logistics though, because it cannot predict where an enterprise will experience a setback, the duration of the setback, or what it will take to get back on track. This type of logistics leads into yet another slightly more complicated form.
Subsistence logistics deals with the supply and demand of basic necessities and raw materials. Operations logistics implements the systems of movement and storage that make the inventory of a given business efficiently managed.
System Logistics builds on the idea of implementing systems for the control and distribution of resources and materials, and incorporates the aspects needed in order to keep those systems working properly. This category includes everything that supports the raw materials, storage, and distribution including: spare parts, personnel and training, technical publication, test and support equipment, and facilities.
An example of a company that helps other business accomplish this, as well as does so themselves is UPS. UPS, the national shipping service, aims to provide business with an efficient and effective way to move resources throughout a business. In addition to this, they have added services at their UPS store locations which offer printing and 3D printing, and other services to help small businesses integrate their flow of materials with their flow of information both within and outside of the company.
These services make it possible for smaller businesses to easily control all aspects of the business they conduct, and make it possible for them to focus on the systems that help deliver their products more closely.