Looking ahead to a new millennium, business logistics and supply chain
managers will be faced with an accelerating demand to deliver better products
faster and cheaper on a global basis. There will be opportunities as well as
challenges. Logistics managers will be called on to maintain supply and keep up
with deliveries in an electronically linked international business community.
And they will be performing in a rapidly changing business environment as the
pace of business change accelerates over the next decade. Meeting the demands
for faster cycle times will require close cooperation throughout each business's
supply chain, as companies come to rely on more partners to achieve their
Globalization of business will be enhanced by regional trade agreements and the reduction of trade barriers as well as through international electronic networks such as the Internet. Such globalization will result in new consumer demographics as densely populated nations such as China and India become part of the global marketplace. As companies are faced with consumer demands from around the globe, speed and simplicity of delivery become ever more important.
New technologies will play an increasingly important role in business logistics, if they aren't already. New software tools will provide managers with better ways to analyze the performance of logistics networks. Internet applications will open up internal information to all participants in the supply chain. The demand for speed will result in companies taking inventory out of their systems, with technology providing much of the ability to meet the demands for speed and simplicity. The ultimate, though perhaps unattainable, goal of logistics will be zero inventory and immediate availability.
Outsourcing of logistics will likely increase as the growth of third-party logistics firms continues. For those companies that handle their own logistics, the challenge for managers will be to communicate to their company's senior management the advantages that logistics can provide.