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Moving products and services efficiently from one place to another requires logistics management. The same supply-chain management strategy is used in global logistics-only the number of variables is amplified. One of the best definitions of business logistics is “the process of planning, implementing, and controlling the effective and efficient flow of goods and services from the point of origin to the point of consumption.” The word “logistics” dates back more than 100 years, though we tend to equate the term now to the modern processes and technologies that have expedited materials management and distribution. The advantages to developing effective global logistics are many: new revenue opportunities from new markets is the most obvious, but there may also be increased economies of scale, and lower cost sourcing for everything from components to labor. Centralizing global production is one of the best ways to lower per-unit costs and resource budgets. The challenge comes in establishing relationships with international supply-chain partners, and/or building a global sales organization. It’s not enough to put all the pieces in place; it must be done in a way that maintains quality control across longer transit distances and transit times, and that delivers products to the end user at a reasonable value. The longer the supply chain, the more vulnerable it might be to damage or delivery interruptions caused by weather, equipment failure or other obstructions. While global logistics can be modeled, analyzed, visualized, and optimized with sophisticated simulation software, this is a procedure that will always be more reliant on human resources than machines to get the job done.
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