We often think of great battles as having been won by superior strategy, bravery, or weaponry. Often, however, the greatest battles are decided by a much more mundane factor: logistics.
In war, logistics is the art of moving supplies and reinforcements along a supply chain in order to support the war effort and keep soldiers well fed and ready to fight. For even the greatest army to achieve victory it must be properly supplied. In business, logistics is the art of moving the product or service to the customer where and when the customer needs it-to be fast enough and flexible enough to win the customer's business. The same fundamental truth that governs war also governs business: without an efficient supply chain, victory is impossible. An army without supplies cannot win wars, just as a business that fails to deliver its product on time cannot win customers. In business, as in war, superior logistics makes all the difference.
Delivering the Goods looks at business logistics through the history of successful military logistical operations undertaken by leaders from Alexander the Great to General Norman Schwarzkopf. After exploring some of the most inventive solutions ever devised for logistical problems, the authors apply the lessons learned to modern business. In the process they include real-world examples of techniques for supply chain optimization used by various organizations-from the modern U.S. Army to the computer company Sun Microsystems.
In the increasingly competitive and cost-conscious corporate environment of the next few decades, the question of delivery-how rapidly, how well, and how cheaply you deliver goods and services to the customer-will be the paramount differentiating factor for companies. In fact, one fifth or more of sales for a typical American company is represented by transportation and distribution costs, or what are essentially supply chain costs. Therefore, even a slightly more efficient delivery system can become a significant competitive advantage for large companies.
Delivering the Goods provides case studies and histories of successful logistical operations throughout history, but it also offers practical guidance on applying proven logistical principles to your business. Manage your supply chain properly, and you just might bring home the ultimate spoils of war-customers.