October 6, 2018
The area of transportation and logistics management is one of the most important spheres in today’s society. Succinctly, the activities of this realm immensely contribute to the sustenance of the global economy and to the success of an innumerable sum of businesses all over the globe. While logistics operations remain critical, various developments have had an unwanted impact on the smooth flow of transportation activities in the recent past. In particular, rising costs of transportation, challenges processing vast quantities of information, workforce management concerns, and challenges in complying with regulations have posed significant concerns for logistics managers these days. On a positive note, various measures that transportation companies can put into practice to address such concerns are available. If implemented fully, transportation firms can avoid these challenges, hence enabling their operations to run smoothly.
New Challenges within Transportation and Logistics Management
The realm of transportation and logistics management is perceived to be one of the most critical areas in the contemporary world, and justifiably so. Logistics is a reference to the manner in which the flow of goods from one point to another is managed so that the needs of customers can be lived up to as efficiently as possible (Christopher, 2016). For logistics to be run in an effective and efficient manner, an array of parties involved in any given supply chain has to take part. However, although there is no doubting the fact that logistics plays an essential role in the facilitation of trade and contributing to the realization of successful business undertakings, logistics managers continue to grapple with mounting challenges in their efforts to come up with and maintain efficient and effective approaches to logistics. Thus, this paper seeks to attain an enhanced comprehension of these challenges by seeking cogent responses to this research question: what are the new challenges facing logistics managers and how can they be tackled?
Research indicates that logistics managers have to contend with a wide spectrum of challenges in their efforts to see to it that they attain optimum outcomes these days. Waters and Rinsler (2014) noted in their study that cutting costs of transportations continue to be cited by logistics managers to be one of the greatest challenges in their area of operation, and with good reason. Rising prices of fuel, increased remunerations, as well as climaxing inflation indexes, continue to work with each other to bring about a surge in the costs of transportation. As such, for logistics managers to ensure the effective and efficient running of their operations, the majority of them have been forced to spend increasingly vast sums of money.
Further, another prominent challenge that regularly crops up within transportation and logistics management these days relates to the processing of vast quantities of information. According to the findings of Wang et al. (2016), logistics managers must handle an immense quantity of data and figures every single day, in addition to the coordination of smooth discharge of tasks, these days. Succinctly, logistics managers’ range of work is quite vast today and more often than not entails seeing to it that the fleet and staff are safe, making sure that the fleet is loaded, double-checking route maps, among others. In situations in which these roles are executed manually, such an approach has the potential to result in the consumption of too much time and cause tedium, hence taking the focus of the manager away from the important details to which they are always expected to pay great attention.
Additionally, the management of workforce also represents an immense challenge to logistics managers today. Although challenges in managing workers tend to be evident in virtually every given managerial system, the concerns are often amplified when it comes to logistics management. This is owing to the fact that drivers, as well as other employees, are more often than not placed in diverse geographical places with a view to maintaining rapid supply chain speed. Finally, Speranza (2018) deduced in his study that compliance with regulations is a significant challenge for logistics managers nowadays.
Regulations, security standards, as well as rules, that govern the sphere of transportation tend to vary from one city to another, from one state to another, and, as one may have predicted, from one nation to another. In particular, in case an organization serves different clients all over the globe, staying abreast of the varying rules and regulations, as well as ensuring that one’s pool of workers is familiar with them, can be very challenging. Put together, these challenges represent some of the most disconcerting developments in the realm of transportation and logistics management.
It is clear that numerous new challenges exist within transportation and logistics management. If not addressed the right way, all of the existing challenges have the potential to have far-reaching negative implications for companies that offer transportation services. Due to such unsavory possibilities, it has become increasingly imperative that transportation businesses pay a great deal of attention to such matters lest they risk finding themselves in undesirable positions (Christopher, 2016). Transportation companies provide critical services to clients who need a wide range of products to be moved from one place to another. Usually, these clients expect excellent service from the companies that they work with because they often pay huge sums of money. Consequently, transportation businesses that fail to live up to the frequently evolving demands of customers risk suffering various unwanted outcomes or even fade into operational oblivion.
For businesses involved in the realm of transportation and logistics management to remain a cut above their competitors and to enjoy longevity in this critical societal area, they must prove that they are dynamic enough to evolve and to streamline their operations in line with the transformations in the industry. Of course, not all developments in the industry have a negative aspect to them (Grant, 2012). Nevertheless, in situations in which worrying phenomena crop up as shown through the new challenges facing logistics managers, organizations have to act though the implementation of various measures that have the potential to generate positive outcomes even in the face of mounting problems. In this way, these challenges can be kept in check, hence giving transportation companies the opportunity to prosper.
Solutions to the New Challenges within Transportation and Logistics Management
Although the new challenges facing logistics managers these days are immense, there are a number of solutions that can be put into practice in a bid to deal with them effectively. To begin with, companies need to adopt a strategic approach with a view to eliminating or diminishing bottlenecks (Waters & Rinsler, 2014). Succinctly, this has the potential to prove critical when it comes to the revamping of network designs and, as a result, lead to the reduction of transportation outlays. For companies to put these strategies into practice in the best way possible, logistics managers need to get their hands on consistent information on current and future orders.
Further, logistics managers can tackle the problem of vast quantities of data and figures by investing in various automated solutions or applications. These solutions or applications can be used to fulfill various responsibilities that revolve around bills of fuel, data entries, as well as the loading and unloading of ledgers (Wang et al., 2016). Through the employment of these solutions or applications, transportation companies can streamline their undertakings by giving logistics managers a great deal of time to pay amplified attention to the finer nuances of their respective companies’ operations.
Moreover, transportation companies can deal with the problem of workforce management by decentralizing responsibilities. This can be implemented through the appointment of logistics managers in regions that are of the utmost imperative to the operations and success of the organization (Christopher, 2016). Combined with the employment of relevant work-order management solutions, the move to decentralize responsibilities has the potential to aid in the realization of increasingly efficient workforce management. Work-order management solutions are particularly critical because they have the potential to aid logistics managers in managing team utilization, schedules of the team, showing evidence of work, generating quotes (as well as invoices), among other equally impressive possibilities. Overall, with these solutions in hand, logistics managers can execute a vast array of important workforce management responsibilities with relative ease.
As a final point, transportation companies can deal with the problem of compliance with regulations through the collaboration with effectual audit software (Wang et al., 2016). More precisely, these software are vital because they have the potential to relieve organizations of the pain of having to frequently assess the rules and regulations that govern their activities in a given area and better their compliance. In this way, transportation companies can ensure that they always act in accordance with the law and steer clear of the unsavory implications that typically arise as a result of contraventions.
Judging by the findings of the paper, it is more than apparent that a wide range of new challenges is facing logistics managers these days. These challenges have the potential to have an unsavory impact on the smooth flow of operations within the realm of transportation and logistics management, hence the need for companies partaking in the sphere to put into practice various practices to tackle the concerns and prevent them from cropping up.
Christopher, M. (2016). Logistics & supply chain management. Pearson UK.
Grant, D. B. (2012). Logistics management. Pearson Higher Ed.
Speranza, M. G. (2018). Trends in transportation and logistics. European Journal of Operational Research, 264(3), 830-836.
Wang, G., Gunasekaran, A., Ngai, E. W., & Papadopoulos, T. (2016). Big data analytics in logistics and supply chain management: Certain investigations for research and applications. International Journal of Production Economics, 176, 98-110.
Waters, D., & Rinsler, S. (2014). Global logistics: New directions in supply chain management. Kogan Page Publishers.