There are many views held that the term 'logistics' originated within the military and referred to the science of supplying armies with men and materials in the field. Indeed, the failure of many campaigns has been put down to a breakdown in the supply chain since an army without resources is quickly defenceless.
It was during the mid-eighties that companies really started to adopt logistics as a descriptive term for what they did and many changed their names to include logistics into their company titles. It was initially a fashion accessory since many wore it as a badge without substance. These days, logistics in transport is widely recognised as an immensely important way of adding value to the supply chain and its influence has been extraordinary.
While transport is the simple movement of product between two points, logistics understands the entire process of demand fulfilment. From raw material to final consumer and beyond including the supply of resources to the producer and the disposal of waste for the consumer. Logistics has no defined limits and is ever-evolving.
There are many definitions that describe logistics in a single phrase, from the simple to the very complex. For example, "the management of inventory in motion and at rest" does the job admirably, but other descriptions will add meaningful words like 'complex', 'inbound', 'outbound', 'customer requirements', 'planning and control' and so on. Even then logistics definitions will adopt other descriptive terms like global, integrated, green, distribution, reverse, procurement and construction. All used to amplify their particular area of expertise or relevance.
In the end, logistics is all about determining the most effective and cost-efficient management, movement and control of materials & finished product from point of origin to destination. All of this whilst minimising inventory in the system so as to meet the defined requirements of suppliers and customers alike.
There is a certain predictability when moving goods by road, rail and air, but when moving goods by sea the unpredictability of the weather or vessel capacity constraints may conspire to disrupt the best laid plans. The disciplines dictated by modern logistics do not permit deviation; we are a society that demands punctuality and predictability. Delivery on the exact day, sometimes the next day or to a specific time, with no lead times, means that nothing must interfere with the fulfilment process, not even stormy seas which may lead to vessel cancellations.
Freightlink play a vital role in making sure that inclement weather does not disrupt customer expectations.
"At Freightlink we understand our customers' needs and the logistical pressures they face when making their deliveries"
said Mark Stephens, Director.
"We constantly monitor the sailing schedules of literally hundreds of ferry operators 24/7, helping clients to anticipate and plan around ferry disruptions so that they can avoid costly delays".
The Irish Sea, English Channel and North Sea can be notoriously stormy, especially during the six months from October to March, so having your finger on the pulse is absolutely essential. As is the ability to quickly find workarounds and solutions that help retain service standards for all involved in the supply chain in a cost effective way.
"When we help customers find alternatives we draw on our knowledge and experience as well as our relationships with the ferry operators themselves. In many cases when there has been disruption due to bad weather, customers further down the line are completely oblivious that anything different has been done to get the goods there on time. The lorry turns up as expected. Intelligent logistics strips out cost and waste whilst making the entire process robust. We are an integral part of that process. That's what logistics in action really means".
Are ferry crossings an important part of your logistics company? Speak to our team to see how we can help you with your European ferry bookings.