Can Anticipatory Logistics Work in the Corporate World Term Paper

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Anticipatory Logistics in the Corporate World

As to whether anticipatory logistics can work in the corporate world, the answer would seem to be 'yes.' However, it is not enough to make this claim; it must be backed up by reasons and information. This paper will look at the reasons that anticipatory logistics can work in the corporate world and provide information indicative of this through the use of references that allude to this idea.

Anticipatory logistics are used to predict what a customer is going to need and help to prioritize these needs so that a certain level of product or other needed item can be maintained (Lenzini, 2002). By doing this, whatever the customer needs will always be available and therefore there will not be any need for rush ordering, any scrambling to find supplies, or any problems from not having things on hand in an emergency. Many different companies and industries are experimenting with the idea of anticipatory logistics. The Army has also become involved with this idea in order to more effectively manage their supply chains when it comes to ammunition, maintenance, and some of their petroleum and oil needs (Lenzini, 2002).

To understand more about anticipatory logistics, it is important to understand supply chain management. The supply chain involves how things get from the manufacturer to the end user, but it also involves how the raw materials that are needed in manufacturing get to the manufacturer (Lenzini, 2002). When looked at this way, whoever creates or collects the raw materials is the manufacturer, and the manufacturing company that makes goods from them is the end user of that particular supply chain (Cast, 2002). What is important, however, is how that supply chain is managed. If it is not managed correctly, there are delays in the production process or there are too many shipments of materials and not enough places to store them (Lenzini, 2002).

Both of these things can be disastrous for any kind of business, because these businesses rely on the idea that they have what is called just-in-time inventory. This greatly reduces their storage costs while at the same time ensuring that they always have what they need on hand to continue their work (Cast, 2002). Both money and time are saved by doing things this way, and therefore there is little to be worried about where the supply of goods is concerned. Managing this supply chain, however, is not always easy, as even small problems can greatly disrupt many different businesses and cost them money and time.

Where the Army and their anticipatory logistics is concerned, they are looking at things in very much the same way that corporations look at just-in-time inventory and supply chain management (Cast, 2002). There are six essential factors of supply chain management and seven components (Lenzini, 2002). The six essential factors are consumer demand, information and communication technologies, globalization, competition, government regulations, and environmental concerns (Lenzini, 2002). As for the seven components, these include suppliers, procurement, manufacturing, order management, transportation, warehousing, and customers (Lenzini, 2002). All of these are significant and important, because they work with one another and tie into each other very strongly. If there is a breakdown in one of these areas, other areas are affected by it.

One of the main reasons that supply chain management is used is that it helps to balance the demands of customers for faster, better and cheaper products, with the necessities of business, such as growing and making a profit (Lenzini, 2002). Customers get the goods that they want, at prices that they can afford, very quickly, and companies save a lot of money by not having large areas devoted to storage of raw materials and finished goods. This balance can be easily upset, but when it works extremely well. This is much of the reason that the Army is considering it for some of what they do (Taylor, 2004). The lower costs are better for them, and it is vital that they have the supplies that they need when they need them, especially in times like these where the threats of terrorism and war seem to remain high.

However, the Army and other military cannot utilize supply chain management in exactly the same way that corporations can, because their goals and objectives are somewhat different (Taylor, 2004). The seven components that were mentioned earlier for supply chain management are the same for the Army, but the six essential factors that are used in supply chain management have become seven essential success factors where the Army is concerned (Lenzini, 2002). This is done because there is no maintenance need in the corporate model, the various external factors that are important are different between the two groups, and warehousing, distribution, and transport, instead of being unidirectional like the corporate supply chain management model, are dual directional with regards to the military (Lenzini, 2002). In other words, things need to be shipped back and forth in the military, instead of only shipped one way.

The seven essential success factors for the Army are customer needs, information and communication technologies, deployment within and outside the continental United States, joint interoperability, Department of Defense regulations, environmental forces (including enemy forces), and mission requirements (Lenzini, 2002). As can be seen, these are similar to what is used in the supply chain management model that most corporations use, but it is not identical, and the military has had to adjust what it has learned from corporate America to fit what it needs. This does not mean, however, that the model for one group would not work for the other - only that there are modifications that must take place.

External factors can affect any supply chain, whether corporate or military, at virtually any time (Taylor, 2004). There are differences in the factors that affect the supply chain, however, when it comes to the military vs. The corporate world. For the military, there are three specific things that affect the supply chain. These are the deployment of forces, the joint interoperability that takes place between the command, computer, intelligence, control, and communications systems, and the mission and soldier requirements that are currently in effect (Lenzini, 2002). All of these can be problematic and must be planned for as best as they can be. It is clear that the supply chain management model that the military uses has been modified to the point that it focuses on the accomplishment of the mission as its ultimate goal, rather than focusing on profit like those in the corporate environment would (Lenzini, 2002).

There are opposing forces in the Army environment, just as there are opposing forces in the corporate world as well. For the Army, there is a need to support the combat maneuvers that it does in a better and more responsible way for a lower cost, but also to reduce the Army's 'logistical footprint' when it comes to future armed forces (Lenzini, 2002). It is very difficult to do both of these things at once and this is why the Army has turned to a modified form of supply chain management that it has termed 'anticipatory logistics.' By using the current technology that they have available and incorporating new technology as well, the Army is able to find ways to accomplish their goals and still lower the costs that they incur, which frees up some of the money that would have been spent and can now be used for other things such as more weapons or deploying more troops to where they are needed (Lenzini, 2002).

Naturally, the Army cannot really use the concept of just-in-time inventory because they are often deployed in hostile areas and cannot expect to see supply trucks every day. However, by keeping close track of the inventory on hand, enough supplies can be brought every three to seven days, and this is still much better than waiting until they run out of something to notify others that they need it (Lenzini, 2002). Sensors and complex communications equipment would keep track of all of this inventory management so that the soldiers would not have to make the effort to take actual inventory at certain times. This could be very important in combat situations where these soldiers may not have time to do this type of thing. There are certainly more important things for them to worry about other than whether their MREs are getting low. Of course this is a concern, but when these things and others can be replenished automatically it is one less worry that these soldiers have. They certainly have enough to worry about as it is.

The Department of Defense is also getting involved in the issue, as it is working toward a way to integrate this kind of idea into all of the branches of the military and to improve joint military logistics in areas such as the deployment of forces (Lenzini, 2002). This will help all of those that serve in the military to achieve… [END OF PREVIEW]

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