Arguably, logistics in the recent year has tremendously changed, with the adoption and growth of transport management systems, GPS, Warehouse management systems, GIS, as well as supply chain management. As a matter of fact, operations are the pillar of any organization, whether non-profit industries, marketing or manufacturing services.
Logistics and operation management is a field that entails multidisciplinary activities, which comprises disciplines like logistics, product development, human resource management, quality management, as well as information systems. In most cases, operations in an organization go beyond design engineering, to developing quality feedback chain that is useful in delivery performance, and prediction of production. In the 21st century, where technology is the backbone of the entire organization, architectures designing information and management of supply chain in the e-business are part of the team making up operations management. The employment of ICT systems such as GIS, GPS, Transport Management Systems, and Warehousing Management Systems has influenced the supply chain and operation management. The aspects of logistics and operation management that has been influences by these changes include transportation, warehousing, as well as packaging (Blecker, Kersten, Kersten, & Flämig 2008).
Conversably, the ultimate objective of logistics management in an organization is to move products and services from the supplier to the marketplace where the consumer is available; the path used to reach the consumer is known as the supply chain. In the supply chain process goods must be on the move so as to satisfy the consumer, this is achieved by delivering goods at the right time, in the right place. Logistics and operation management team endure that all aspects and components of logistic management are attained. As an organization, in order to attain organizational objectives and enjoy absolute advantage in the market, it is crucial to adhere to the logistics and operation management mission. This mission is to always produce services or goods that are of the right quantity and quality, and ensure that its distribution is made at the precise place and time.
Logistics and operation management in a business environment entails implementation, management of systems, and design, which focuses on efficient deployment of raw materials, point consumption, physical facilities, in-process inventory, personnel deployment, as well as finished goods information. Therefore, logistics and operation management requires the three components that are transport, warehousing, and packaging. This is so because it covers entire supply chain from raw material acquisition, production process, to consumption. Perhaps, the employment of ICT systems in this process has made it easy to communicate and coordinate efficiently by using communication, transport, and warehousing systems (Blecker, Kersten, Kersten, & Flämig 2008). Technology has improved the entire process of logistics and operation management.
Fundamentally, supply chain depends with three main components that are warehousing, packaging and transport. In logistics and operation management warehousing and transportation is the main contributor in a successful supply chain in the world. In fact, the essentiality of warehousing comes when it is strategically placed in a consign that is pertinent to the cargo transport systems. This does not only ease the transportation but also reduces the cost incurred by the organization. Advancement in transport, packaging and warehouse systems has made it easy to satisfy the consumer. In fact, the issues of inaccessible consumers have been eliminated by advancement of technology (Croucher, Rushton, & Baker 2010). Packaging is also of considerable importance in logistics and operation management. The consumer is always rational in making decisions, whereby he/she bases its decision on quality, quantity, and price. Hence, the success of an organization depends on the packaging process. Product and services need to be delivered in the right quantities and qualities, especially by adhering to the needs of the consumer. Generally, the employment of ICT systems in the aspects of Logistics and operation management has many effects on warehousing, transport, and packaging process. Apart from bringing a lot of positive changes in the organization, ICT system is not free of challenges.
Transport process in logistics and operation management is decidedly crucial. The transport operations play a tremendous role in determining that products are moved efficiently from to the consumers. The progress in management and techniques principles help in improving delivery speed, moving load, operation costs, energy saving, service quality, as well as usage of facilities. In the manipulation of logistics in organization transport systems, play a crucial part. Organizations need to review conditions in order to develop a proper transport and clear logistics framework, especially in implementing techniques and systems that link transportation to production procedures (Voortman 2004). Logistics in an organization optimizes the distribution and production process through the introduction of ICT systems and management techniques, which promotes competitiveness and efficiency. In logistics and operation management, transport is a link between organizations activities that separate. Undeniably, transportation in an organization has substantial influence in the entire logistics system. The maximization of organizational benefits comes as a result of proper coordination in the transport systems; that is from production, manufacturing, as well as delivery.
An advanced and well equipped transport system will always yield positive logistics in an organization. Perhaps, a well developed transport system in operation logistics has the potential of providing efficient logistics, promote service efficiency, and reduce cost of operation. In dealing with transport systems, both private and public sectors need to come together. Transport system in any business logistics has economic implication. For example, when it comes to expenses incurs in logistics, most of it goes to transportation system. Hence, organization comprehends on how to minimize transport costs and maximize benefits (Blecker, Kersten, Kersten, & Flämig 2008).
The introduction of online transportation has brought a lot of changes in the outcome of logistics. Transport is the affects logistics outcome because it influences forward and backward process, which includes production and sales. Online transport system, which has been made possible by ICT, is a tremendous development in the logistics and operation management. In fact, it has led to simplification of manual order processes and cuts the operation costs, as a result, producing positive logistic outcome (USAID 2010). As a matter of fact, online transportation systems have ensured that the consumer is satisfied, by ensuring that the consumer receives products of the right quality and quantity, at the right place, and time. The ICT has ensured that products transported have the exact code that meets the needs of the consumer. Perhaps, online transport system act as a virtual link in the path of products movement. It is a link between the produces and the consumers; therefore, the consumer will always have confidence on the products been transported. In fact, the consumer can trace and track the products on transit using online technology. On the other hand, the suppliers have a chance to follow up the entire path of supply chain (Srinivas & Screenivas 2007).
Integration of e-business and logistics is the new trend in the global arena. Firms and customers make business efficient through the use of the internet, as well as e-commerce. Despite the ICT systems in transportation, physical delivery is also crucial because it accomplishes the transportation process in the logistics. The cost of transport logistics and operation management can be higher, built still remains the most needed system in the supply chain. Online transportation has converted activities into automated, reducing costs, increasing product specialization, increasing efficiency, as well as increasing organizational differentiations of products (Srinivas & Screenivas 2007). With online transport systems, organizations customers are able to check the product online, compare with similar products and make the best choice. Other organizational logistics depend on transportation; hence it is an integral part on the supply chain activities. The ICT system in transportation has ensured that transportation flows freely from consumers to manufacture and from manufactures to consumers. Logistics and operation management depends on transportation has a link; hence, online and physical transportation systems should be put in a position to make certain the proper flow of information and goods. Generally, the introduction of transport systems has led to cost reduction, significant linkage and consumer satisfaction. Organizations and managers should always be at par with the upcoming ICT technologies, and swiftly incorporate them into the system. Logistics and transport systems are interdependent, whereby logistic management requires transportation to undertake its function, since it will help in developing transportation and reduces environmental traffic. ICT has come up with transportation software systems, which has provided various solutions. These features include booking systems, customization of general features, dispatch, automated systems, as well as fleet management (FPLM 2000).
Warehousing is another vital component of logistics and operations management. The 21st century, improved information and warehousing technology have changed the systems. The improvements and changes that have taken place have given warehousing systems a chance to work smarter. Moreover, warehousing system in the technology era allows extremely and customized demands made by the customers be made. The monograph systems are a powerful aspect that provides insights on labor, transport, and warehousing technologies and its impact on the organizations supply chain. The warehouse systems has improved the synthesis of information and synchronized it towards customers’ satisfaction and cost minimization. Today, organizations work towards the provision of superior products and maximization of efficiency. The ability to manage warehouse systems efficiently ensures that sales is carried out smoothly at a reduced cost. As a matter of fact, order fulfillment and receiving inventory in time has been facilitated by automated ICT systems (USAID 2010). This ensures that inventory control and warehouse activities are at the peak across the organization. Warehouse Management Systems is a feature that is powerful and full of solutions, especially by automating manufacturers, retailers, customers, and distributors’ logistics. In most scenarios, warehouse management systems do not add value to the products, but it focuses on the sensitivity of time. In fact it applies to those goods that are perishable and of immense sensitivity in the transportation process. The supply chain values the importance of warehouse systems. This is because it consolidates products to be transported and cuts the cost of transportation.
Warehouse Management Systems provides an avenue for order management, stockings, picking, replenishment, and receiving. The integration of ICT systems such as bar cording and radio-frequency technology boosts the functions of the warehouse. In the past inventory management was not efficient and accurate, but with the introduction of Warehouse management solutions, inventory handling became accurate and efficient. The implementation off ICT systems in an organization makes sure that the management logistics is achieved; this is because it ensures that the product needed by the customer is at the right place in the appropriate condition. The success of every warehouse depends on the usefulness of ICT systems and how adaptive the organization is to the changes (Rezapour, Farahan, & Kardar 2011)
The ICT systems implementation through Warehouse Management Systems takes complete control of activities. The use of Radio-Frequency terminals, gives the personnel in an organization an explicit direction for allocating every order such as location, quantity, and product specification. Technology also automatically ensures that shipping labels are produced on demand, as well as indicating the correct order boxes (USAID 2010). Regardless of the picking format, ICT systems in warehouse ensure that cost effectiveness and process efficiency is managed well. It eliminates time wastage that is always incurred in looking for missing products that had been ordered by the consumer. A modern ICT system in the warehouse plays tremendous roles such as increasing accuracy, eliminating errors, pack and pick concurrently, filling of multiple orders, real time inventory tracking, and increases customers satisfaction.
Technology and installation of ICT systems in Warehouse ensure real-time visibility. For example, the use of web dispatch screen provides a platform where orders are managed, monitors, and distributed. In fact, it provides a complete view of the warehouse, which goes beyond the warehouse walls. Hence, reports on the inventory level, security, movement and location is generated and shared in real-time. Moreover, real-time Radio Frequency communication is beneficial in ensuring that information is available, manages labor pacing, as well as material tracking. The use of Warehouse Management Systems receipt has improvement the warehousing movement and management. In fact, it leads to errorfree order fulfillment based on automated inventory process. All these aspects of ICT systems in warehouse endures optimal balances of inventory, cost reduction, customers satisfaction, proper monitoring, real-time information, and profit maximization. Warehouse Management Systems, manages warehouse infrastructure, communication and tracking systems between one product stations to another (Button, Brewer, & Hensher 2001).
Warehouse Management systems and adoption of ICT have played a tremendous role in this era, but it has faced numerous challenges. Technology is one of the factors that affect the ICT systems in the globe, due to its swift changes; it becomes difficult for organizations to adopt the technologies as it arises. Some of the ICT system in the warehouse focuses on the quantity of products in the warehouse and foregoes the efficiency and the entire management logistics of a warehouse. Warehouse is one of the important components of logistics and operational management, whereby if it is not functioning well, other components will be affected. For example, the locator system in a warehouse does not optimize labor even if it realizes some time lag in the process. In addition, organizations have failed in most cases in identifying the recommended system it needs; hence, it makes it difficult to operate well. Basically, warehouse system and adapting of ICT system has played an immense role in the supply chain process.
Another important component in logistics and operational management are packaging. Customers are influence by packaging of products; hence, organization must focus on packaging products according to customers’ demands. In the supply chain logistics, packaging of products into appropriate quantities has effects on efficiency and effectiveness. ICT system in the packaging products improves the storage and transportation of products. In most cases, packaging designers overlook distribution, storage, and handling of products in the operational process, yet, these processes are interconnected. A specification in packaging has a direct influence on delivery and produced lead time. For proper functioning of supply chain packaging process need to be properly stated and adhered to within the management logistics (Voortman 2004).
Just like warehousing and transportation, packaging has incorporated the ICT systems. Packaging entails coordinated systems dealing with efficient, safe, secure, and effective condition during storage, distribution, transportation, consumption, recovery, as well as retailing. Its fundamental functions include preserving, protecting and containing products to fit marketing, environmental and logistics aspects. The packaging systems serve logistical functions, which include facilitation of distribution, provision of information product location and condition, and protecting the product. Another function related to packaging is marketing; in this case, it provides required and proper design according to customers’ needs (Saghir 2004).
The most utilize systems within packaging logistics include EPS (Electronic Packaging System). The ICT system ensures that there is a systematic and procedural packaging procedure that maximizes efficiency and minimizes cost. In moist case, packaging attracts customers and tells more on the physical branding of the product. Hence, the system works in ensuring that the product and organizations brand name penetrates the market place (Voortman 2004). In a global arena, EPS becomes part of the supply chain, in that it endures that the products ordered by the customer are delivered within the time stated in the right condition. Perhaps, product differentiation and branding come as a result of the packaging system. The issue of branding and differentiation of product gives an organization a unique identification, and competitive advantage over its competitors. The complexity of packaging depends fully on the management logistics, but it still remains an important component in the logistics and operational management. Organizations need to establish well logistics management, for the ICT systems to operate well.
Conclusively, it is evident that the ICT technologies and systems are very important in an organization. The components of logistics and operational management, such as warehouse, packaging and transportations are critical in the logistical functioning of the organization. In the ICT systems era, organizations need to act swiftly to ensure that they achieve competitive advantage in the marketplace. The supply chain effectiveness and efficiency has been made fast due to adoption of ICT systems such as GIS, GPS, Warehouse Management Systems and Transport Management Systems. Generally, warehouse, transport and packaging logistics need to be implemented to guarantee consumer satisfaction and profitability in an organization.
Blecker, T., Kersten, W., Kersten, W.,& Flämig, H. 2008. Global Logistics Management : Sustainability, Quality, Risks. illustrated ed. London: Erich Schmidt Verlag GmbH &,.
Button, K. Brewer, A., & Hensher, D, 2001. Handbook of Logistics and Supply-Chain Management. illustrated, reprint ed. New York: Emerald Group Publishing.
Croucher, P, Rushton, A.,. & Baker, P., 2010. The Handbook of Logistics and Distribution Management. 4, illustrated ed. New York: Kogan Page Publishers.
Family Planning Logistics Management (FPLM), 2000. The Logistics Management Information System Assessment Guidelines.
Rezapour, S,. Farahan, R.,. & Kardar, L., 2011. Logistics Operations and Management: Concepts and Models. New York: Elsevier.
Saghir, M., 2004. The Concept of Packaging Logistics.
Srinivas, T.,& Screenivas, M, 2007. The Role of Transportation in Logistic Chain.
USAID, 2010. ICT to enhance Warehouse Receipt Systems and Commodity Exchanges in Africa.
Voortman, C., 2004. Global Logistics Management. illustrated ed. Chicago: Juta and Company Ltd.