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Contents Contents 1 Logistics 2 Visibility into movement 6 Information systems in logistics 6 Literature 12 Logistics After the terrorist attacks on September 11, automotive manufacturing came to a temporary halt at the General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. pickup truck factories in Ontario, Canada. Why? Just-in-time (JIT) deliveries were delayed at the Canadian border. Delays at the Mexican border caused Ford to also shorten production for about two days at two of its Mexican assembly plants. While the Wall Street Journal and Reuters packaged this news in articles about the need to rethink JIT manufacturing, there's another slant to consider: Logistics matters. According to AMR Research (Boston, MA), organizations spend 11% of their revenues on logistics, yet it is one of

the last core business processes to be automated. More often than not, logistics is an in-house, manual process involving phone, paper, email, fax, and home-grown inventory, warehouse, and transportation management systems. Don't make the mistake of thinking logistics is only about accurately storing and moving inventory. It's also knowing where your stuff is throughout the supply chain, and finding alternative shipping modes and routes to quickly get around delayed and irregular shipments. And as with so much else in factory automation, good logistics is a competitive advantage. The definition of “logistics” is complex or simple. According to the Council of Logistics Management (CLM, Oak Brook, IL), logistics is “that part of the supply chain process that plans,

implements, and controls the efficient, effective flow and storage of goods, services, and related information from the point of origin to the point of consumption in order to meet customers' requirements.” AMR Research says logistics is simply “the management of inventory in motion or at rest.” Numerous industry initiatives fall into this field, including quick response, continuous replenishment, efficient consumer response, and, mostly in manufacturing industries, JIT and vendor-managed inventory. The common theme in all of these is to create some sort of smooth and fast pipeline from material source (supplier) to material consumption (customer), while responding to the real-time dynamics that occur from changing customer requirements, routings, transportation modes, and

international trade requirements, to name a few constraints. Two characteristics separate logistics software from many other types of software, particularly enterprise resource planning (ERP). Logistics applications are execution systems, not planning systems. Second, they are real-time systems capable of making sub-second decisions based on a colossal amount of data at a far more granular level than ERP. Modern major logistics execution systems include a broad array of applications and modules. The major ones are as follows: Inventory management systems (IMS) ensure the availability of products by linking customer demands, product reservation, and allocation processes. Order management systems (OMS) provide real-time visibility into the entire order lifecycle, ensuring against

lost, delayed, or corrupted orders. For example, the OMS from Provia Software Inc. (Grand Rapids, MD) manages products, orders, shipments, and delivery information by customer. It also produces the appropriate billing materials, as well as communicates directly with customers and suppliers through electronic data interchange (EDI), Internet/intranet, and other communications modes. It controls billing for all product-handling costs (such as receiving, storage, and labeling), and applies it to the specific customer based on prenegotiated agreements. Plus, it can process complex orders that require future shipment or staggered delivery dates, multiple consignee delivery, or back-ordered product. Warehouse management systems (WMS) tell you in real time what you have and where your