Archives for June 2019

Your job description has changed.

By Steve Geary | 06/22/2019 | 7:34 AM

Our sister publication, Supply Chain Quarterly (SCQ), published an interesting list in the last issue.  It’s the “’Top 10 Supply Chain Risks of 2019.”  There are serious supply chain risks out there.  Some of them link directly to logistics operations. 

A thread in the SCQ risks involve uncertainties that just a few years ago were not top of mind in distribution centers.  These risks involve government oversight and management of logistics.  Both are pulling distribution managers into new directions.

Logistics managers in the United States are agile at managing international movements.  Unfortunately, the choreography of those moves is shifting.  According to the article in the SCQ, “Companies face the immediate risk of increased cost and customs agents are adapting to new processes.”

We’re talking tariffs.

It’s hard to be agile when shackled by evolving costs outside of the logistician’s control.  Agile distribution means we anticipate as best as we can, but new variables introduced by the federal government without enough runway cause disruption. 

Improvisation – the development and deployment of new processes, no matter how agile you are - implies risk, always. 

We’re in an era of improvisation.

These risks emerging across the international dimension for logistics managers are now driving issues.  Just what are the rules going to be for Mexico?  How will Brexit impact movements to and from Europe?  How and when will the situation stabilize with China?

Risk managers deliver stability.  The government isn’t helping.

All of these “international” issues roll uncertainty into warehouse and distribution operations.  Is there enough space to hold increased buffer inventories?  As inbound and outbound flows evolve – perhaps rapidly – are transportation contracts in place to handle it?  Are customs brokers actively managing the backlogs at the ports as industry – not just your company – scramble to react to moves out of the White House? 

Supply Chain Risk Management is now an issue on the distribution center, not just the corporate offices.   

A sense of mission

By Steve Geary | 06/09/2019 | 1:46 PM

Some people have jobs.  Some have missions.  Sometimes logistics execution is the job at the heart of that mission.

It’s magic when that happens.

It’s around 11 am, and over a dozen people loiter in a church parking lot.  The delivery truck arrives from the central kitchen, and the crew breaks down the load.  The sort happens.  Manifests are checked, and the delivery vehicles are loaded.  The cross-dock operation completes.

Within 15 minutes the parking lot clears.  The delivery vehicles are on their way, fanning out across the county.  By 1 pm around one hundred and fifty deliveries happen, and seniors are sitting down to a hot lunch delivered to their home.  And there is a second cold meal in the bundle, available for dinner later in the day.

Meals on Wheels - a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization - operates in virtually every community in America to address senior hunger and isolation.  All of these logisticians are volunteers, with an unselfish passion to help their neighbors.  Amazing what can happen when you mix mission, passion, and logistics:   innovation and volunteerism to help others. 

Logistics, mission, passion.


What’s your passion?

The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

About Steve Geary

Steve Geary

Steve Geary is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Tennessee's College of Business Administration, and is on the faculty at The Gordon Institute at Tufts University, where he teaches supply chain management. He is the President of the Supply Chain Visions family of companies, and Chief Operating Officer at ROSE Solutions, consultancies that work across the government sector. Steve is a contributing editor at DC Velocity, and editor-at-large for CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly. He is listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in Science and Engineering, and Who's Who in Executives and Professionals. In November of 2007, Steve was recognized for "Selfless Service to Our Nation and the People of Iraq" by the Deputy Secretary of Defense.


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