Define logistic support in the context of the production/construction phase. What are the elements of logistic support?

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There are many facets of logistic support. Based on the inclusion of production and construction in your question, logistic support should include "just-in-time delivery," an old-school theory of logistics very much valid for today's modern manufacturing and delivery climate! Just in time (JIT) is the concept of having the right...

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There are many facets of logistic support. Based on the inclusion of production and construction in your question, logistic support should include "just-in-time delivery," an old-school theory of logistics very much valid for today's modern manufacturing and delivery climate! Just in time (JIT) is the concept of having the right materials available at the exact time it deploys in the process. Before the 1970s, manufacturers contracted with suppliers to provide raw materials or parts in an assembly process. The manufacturer would estimate how much supply they would need to complete production. For a manufacturer to have the correct amount on hand meant they would have to store quantities of inventory. If they overestimated the amount needed, the manufacturer would be stuck with an expensive inventory they would not be able to utilize or return to the vendor. An undersupply resulted in the potential of not being able to have enough material needed to meet the demand or deliver a product on time. In either case, the manufacturer bore the expense of too much or too little material being available when they needed it for production.

Large manufacturers like those in the auto industry came up with a solution. The solution was to integrate the logistic supply chain more closely with vendors of the materials needed in the manufacturing process. To sell their materials to manufacturers, vendors had to develop logistical models that assured delivery of material to their customers without the customer having to store them on their premises for long periods of time. In other words, they would deliver materials just in time to be used, not a day early or a day late!

Supply chains require extraordinarily difficult modeling and close coordination between suppliers and manufacturers. One element of logistic support is technology. From GPS systems on delivery trucks to computers performing complex mathematic algorithms, technology is the single most significant innovation in logistic support. After technology, and closely related, logistic support requires an enhanced skill set in communications. Globalization has resulted in a worldwide logistic chain crossing numerous cultures, languages, and other barriers. The third element of logistic support is not often considered. It is a legal framework that is consistent across borders and allows for smooth transactions to occur.

When shopping at big retail or buying products through the internet, it is easy to forget that the delivery of that item is the result of superior logistical support.

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I think the best definition of logistics that I have ever seen is that it is "having the right thing at the right place at the right time."  So logistics support is the process of making sure that the people who are producing or building a product have the materials they need at the time when they are needed.

Some elements of this process include:

  • Acquisition of materials needed.  This would include obtaining them and making sure that they are stored and inventoried in a convenient way.
  • Figuring out ahead of time what will be needed and when it will be needed.  This can include analysis of when repairs or spare parts will be needed for machinery.
  • Making sure workers are available and are well-trained.
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