It was a few years ago now that an Operations Manager at a significant Civil Engineering Company said to me “When a land slide hits the gorge road I need to know what effect it has re-allocating trucks from contracts to the maintenance work”. I’ve always remembered this conversation as it points out that Logistics is far more than moving a carton of freight from point A to point B, and illustrates the complexity of the problems that the industry must address.
Logistics does in fact encompass a number of elements. The management of the transport fleet in terms of allocating jobs and billing these activities is widely accepted as being a dominant function of a typical Logistics Company. For many however their activities will spread into areas such as Third Party Warehousing, managing the storage and handling of goods as well as their distribution. The management of these goods is also being extended into simple manufacturing tasks, blending raw materials to make finished products with such work often requiring specialist equipment.
In rural areas the Logistics Company can offer a comprehensive range of services to clients, from carting freight of various types, to spreading fertiliser and providing rural contracting services such as hay making and contracting work involving non transport plant such as diggers and graders. These services can move the Logistics Company into areas such as Civil Engineering with the complex operations and accounting demands of such activities. Teams of workers are required, not just the driver, suppliers are not all transport related, plant items do not necessarily run on the roads.
And then you get those Logistics Companies that fill a demand by sourcing products which they on sell to clients or members of the public. Commonly such products are landscaping focussed with Transport Companies in many areas selling product as well as carting it.
Then if you cast your attention to aspects of the Logistics business that are not related to customers but to resources then further complex requirements arise. These are in areas focussed on the management and utilisation of resources, ensuring you have enough resources, but not too much, and that they are able to perform productively for you.
It is enough to make your head spin but is not an exaggeration. I know of many Logistics companies that carry out all such activities described here, some with more. The challenge is to develop the systems and processes that allow you to manage such complexity without resorting to an ever increasing level of staff and without accepting a lowly level of management information.
That is why it is pleasing to note that the people at TLP Software acknowledge the complexity that is involved and are showing signs of doing something about it. Very pleasing in fact, when you consider that many software vendors are “dumbing down” their software as they seek to proliferate using the software as a service model. Odd term that, I often think some vendors think that software is the service so they don’t need to offer any, but I digress.
The TLP Software provides functionality never seen before in a Logistics System, tying all of these loose ends together in a nice simple to manage system. If you want to cart product into stock, it does this from a consignment note as part of the transport process. If you want to cart bulk material to a civil engineering contract, having Operations managed by Transport people and the Contract side by Contract people, then no sweat. The array of such integrated functions is vast and well worth looking at.
I suggest you send an email and arrange a free session with Rob (firstname.lastname@example.org) to catch up on what this type of system can do for you, the benefits it may bring and the headaches it may cure.
Thanks for reading,