I was once asked by my CEO—literally in an elevator—“Jay, what is logistics?”

My answer was, “Sir, you put lots of dots on the map. Suppliers, dealers, customers. Our job is to connect those dots in the most efficient, effective manner.”

Logistics connects a preceding process with the following process: It is the marriage of the physical movement of material with the flow of cash and information. The process starts with a trigger to move goods and ends with their final delivery. It includes the flow of raw materials for production, work-in progress (WIP), and the deliveries of finished goods to customers.

There is seldom any room for error and is always remembered for its last delivery. Logisticians are expected to make it ...

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