Daily Archives: July 18, 2023

A Brief Introduction to the Importance of Logistics Management (LMI Part 1)

Logistics Management is something that many procurement professionals overlook because most larger organizations have a separate logistics department. Logistics should not be separated from the whole of supply chain operations management because not only can you not compute a total cost of acquisition (which is the minimum calculation you should do during sourcing) without a solid understanding of the true logistics cost, but underperforming logistics teams costs an organization much more than Procurement thinks (and way more than the Logistic Division’s estimate of getting a product from point A to point B).

Logistics represents a significant part of Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). It’s more than just the transportation costs quoted by the carriers in each multi-modal leg in the journey. (Truck to the outbound port, ocean freight to the inbound port, rail to the regional distribution center, truck to your warehouse.) For an average shipment, costs also include:

  • (special) packaging (sur)charges
  • fuel surcharges
  • surcharges
  • loading/unloading/cross-docking fees
  • interim storage/inventory fees
  • insurance
  • loss (damage or theft)
  • tariffs (dictated by route)
  • losses from unplanned delays
    (loss of sales due to stock-outs; losses from production downtime due to missing parts)
  • inventory fees due to overstock

And all of these costs are variable depending on:

  • the route
    determines legs, length of legs, costs for the leg, tariffs, etc.
  • the carrier
    determines rates, surcharges, risk/OTD expectation, etc.
  • the transportation timings
    determines intermediate inventory needs, risk of delay, risk of loss, etc.

And that’s just the cost considerations. You also have to consider delivery times, inaccurate estimates, improper performance measurements and lack of end-to-end visibility here can lead to:

  • part shortages
    which can cause production line slowdowns/shutdowns
  • stockouts
    which can lead to lost sales
  • inventory build-up
    if too many shipments come in too fast, and this drives up costs and can cause space constraints for other orders
  • unexpected cost increases
    if you have to expedite

And then there’s the risk factors. Depending on the route, and the carrier, you could have increased risk of:

  • natural disaster
  • geopolitical disruption
  • port slowdown or shutdown
  • provider bankruptcy
  • cost increase due to currency exchange fluctuations, new regulations coming into effect, etc.

In other words, you should not overlook the implications of logistics cost to serve and service levels when sourcing. You don’t necessarily have to lock in the contracts, but if you already have contracts locked in, only have a few options, or need to use certain routes or carriers to keep costs down, you will need to ensure that the suppliers, and locations, you select are congruent with any options you may be restricted to. And if you are unrestricted, then you should know the assumptions you are making when sourcing, capture them, and pass them on to the logistics team at order/fulfillment time to make sure that the logistics team is planning and contracting appropriately.