Anticipatory logistics is the process of predicting future trends in customer requirements through the use of information systems, technologies and procedures. It also entails sustaining that need. Anticipatory logistics is applied generally in the US Army; however, the concepts are so similar to supply chain management that the former can be applied in the corporate world too.
How to merge supply chain management and anticipatory logistics
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If the latter concept has worked very well in the Army, then it can work well in the corporate world too. This is because the business world is largely governed by supply chain management. Metz (1988) explains that the latter term encompasses the process of procuring, producing and delivering services to consumers. Similarly, the same comparison can be made in the army. The army also needs to deliver logistics to its combat forces.
There are seven common components between supply chain management and anticipatory logistics. This commonality is a basis for merging principles in anticipatory logistics into the corporate world. Both the army and the corporate world consider the following; supplies, manufacture, procurement, consumption, warehousing, order management and transportation. Despite the fact that there may be some inherent differences between the latter, the overall components cannot be ignored. Consequently, what applies in the army can also apply in business.
Both the army and the business world have to meet two diverging needs. Any business would like to expand its operations while on the other hand meet the needs of its clients. These diverging needs require an external principle which is supply chain management. Since consumer needs are always changing by the day, then businesses would be better placed to handle future consumer needs of price and availability. Anticipatory logistics are the face of supply business management’s future because they could be the means with which businesses meet these needs. Additionally, the army has to meet two diverging needs; to reduce logistical footprints and the need to satisfy combat forces. The latter needs are somewhat similar because the military still needs to ensure that their combatant forces receive supplies on time and also to lower costs. Businesses need to do the same for their consumers. These common needs provide a platform for merging anticipatory logistics used in the military into the business / corporate world. Since the army uses transportation, information and communication technologies and order management to cope with these needs, their technique can also be directed to the corporate world. (Lenzini, 2002)
Businesses can apply anticipatory logistics through the use of tactical internet. The army uses this to predict the needs of specific combat units and businesses may use this to predict the needs of their clients in the future. Through the latter method, the army is also empowered to determine future failures in the seven categories or to monitor the status of the supplies. The same can be said of the business environment. Through tactical internet, the corporate world can prepare for any shortages in storage, distribution, transportation or any of the other seven components. On top of this, anticipatory logistics can also assist all the various supply units contact logistical leaders in the supply chain thus equipping them for any future challenges.
Challenges that can arise out of applying anticipatory logistics in the corporate world
The corporate world uses supply chain management in a broader spectrum than the Army. Consequently, it may be very difficult for the latter to translate this application from just one small aspect into the rest of the business. Supply chain management emanates from the supply chain which is made up of all the stakeholders involved in the production process. Consequently, supply chain management ought to incorporate all the needs of the suppliers, consumers, wholesalers, storage dealers, procurers, other retailers and end users. On the other hand, the army only applies anticipatory logistics to its mission requirements.
There are certain differences in the way the military and the corporate world handle their supply chains. Although both groups have seven common components as mentioned above, there is no need for maintenance in the corporate world. Additionally, transportation, distribution and warehousing are only applied from the supplier to the consumer. On the other hand, the military needs to apply this function for the consumer to the army and the other way around. These disparities could affect the manner of implementation in both groups.
Besides this, the corporate world requires six essential success factors in supply chain management. These factors are totally different from those used in the military. Consequently, it is up to the corporate world to figure out a way of satisfying the latter two needs. The six essential components for success in business include environmental concerns, government regulations, competition, globalization, and information and communication technology. (Louis et al, 2006) On the other hand, the army requires the following for success; mission requirements, environmental concerns, rules in the department of defense, whether there can be joint operationability and information communication technologies. As it can be seen, the corporate will have to identify some of the disparities between the army and itself and look for ways of closing the gaps when dealing with anticipatory logistics. This may require a lot of creativity.
It is possible to apply anticipatory logistic in the corporate world, however, care must be taken to note the differences between the two groups. The mot outstanding among these differences is the fact that the military applies anticipatory logistics in a section of it operations while the corporate world applies it in the whole supply chain.
Louis W. S et al, (2006): Marketing Channels', Prentice-Hall, 7th Ed.
Lenzini, J. (2002): Armed forces, Logistics, retrieved from http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=183937041;sid=1;Fmt=4;cli entId=29440;RQT=309;VName=PQD/Sep/Oct 2002. Pgs Vol. 34, Iss. 5; pg. 11, 3 pgs
Peter J. Metz 1(988): Supply Chain Management, Supply Chain Management Review,
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