Logistics is a very different subject, nothing you have studied in the past will be remotely related to this subject yet it draws a lot of similarities from a lot of subjects! While I was studying my BMS Sem 5 I could not relate much to this subject, it was like all those things we study because the University thinks we should but it really isn’t all that important and then post Sem 6 a very close friend of mine went ahead and made a career in the field which completely changed my perspective.
He has an amazing work life and the he loves the work he does, it’s a little hands on and a little of the desk job format, he gets to talk to different people across the globe and deal with different currencies all the time and he is among the few people who I know, who actually loves his job a lot!
The plus side for him of course is that the firm he works with has a brilliant treatment for their employees where they get to play table tennis matches and go to different cities for cricket tournaments plus all of the long weekend trips, treks and vacations they take him on; but well that will depend on your luck!
The message in this little story was that there is a possibility for a good career opportunity hidden within this subject and so while you study it, don’t make it just something you do for the exam, test it to know whether it can be with you for the future or not, who knows just like my bestie you may find one heck of an awesome career opportunity too.
So what is Logistics all about?
Logistics in a very simple explanation is another term for courier services, but not on a small and individual scale but the huge shipment, air cargo or rail freight transport and everything to basically do with the transport and transfer of goods for the manufacturing industry. There is a lot more to the work than simply transport facilities but as far as your syllabus is concerned and the basics of this subject is concerned, this explanation pretty much sums it all up.
Why should I study this Subject?
Because it completes your knowledge of the business industry, it is like the missing link to subjects like Production and material management, EXIM procedures, Research methods in business, marketing, strategic management, etc. All of these subjects talk about some process or the other of conducting a business but do not elaborate on the one most important factor of conducting business the very essential factor of logistics and supply chain management, which this subject covers for us.
Is it Boring?
No it’s a very new and unique aspect to business and eventually you will realize that it is very interesting. Not all of us wish to make a career into something like this but it surely is a fun subject to study as compared to the lengthy HRM, SSM or the heavy practice requiring FM.
Is Logistics difficult?
Nope, this subject had been a BOMB subject in the 2012-13 year exams (don’t know what is a BOMB subject? Read the guide to scoring brilliant marks in FM to know all about this BOMB system) but after that it was pretty calm and of the easiest papers to deal with. Since it is a university exam you can’t possibly take any subject lightly but it is not difficult to study this subject at all.
Do I need to join a Coaching Class for this subject?
No, that will not be required.
What is the Syllabus of the Subject?
2) Operating objectives of logistics
3) Supply chain mgmt
4) Organization structure
5) Customer service
6) Demand forecasting
7) Order processing
3) Material handling system
1) Inventory management
2) Inventory control
1) Performance measurement
2) Logistics costing
3) Logistical network analysis
4) Modern logistics infrastructure
For detailed Syllabus you can click HERE!
Where can I get good Notes for this subject?
How do I study Logistics and Supply Chain Management?
You need good notes that cover the entire syllabus for this subject and most textbooks available in the market are not completely helpful so either you refer notes given by your faculty, if that is not available you will have to use two textbooks preferably from different publishing houses and make your own notes for this subject.
The format you can follow for this subject is:
- Attend lectures and make notes while in the lecture
- Come home and read over once
- Learn your answers once you are done making notes
- Solve past university question papers and other question papers available
As simple as that, but what happened if the faculty isn’t that good? Then you can follow these steps:
- Take up a textbook, read each chapter and make notes for the same.
- Take up another textbook; (different publishing house) make notes of whatever concepts were missed out in the past textbook.
- Study your answers
- Solve past university question papers and other question papers available
You must Not Forget:
1. Diagrams for each answer,
2. Solving case studies, the subject is very simple and you do not need to freak out over it, no complicated jargon and no twisty concepts are there. Just make sure you study the entire syllabus thoroughly and you will benefit a lot.
Now that we have understood Logistics from an exam point of view, let’s understand Logistics properly:
Logistics is a little more than just the people who take care of your transportation at an industrial level, although that is their primary task; logistics is the management of the flow of goods from the point of origin till the time it reaches its final destination. Planning, procurement, safety, security packaging, warehousing and of course transportation all form a part of logistics. Companies usually outsource the functions of logistics which is why specific logistics firms are set up, companies like DHL and Fedex are popular examples of logistics companies that have a global reach.
Interview With Professor Ojas Barve:
We wanted to know the best method to study Logistics and supply chain management so we contacted Prof. Ojas Barve and the kind of detailed guidance we came across was simply mindblowing.
He not only did provide helpful tips and tricks but also explained so much about the subject with such dedication and passion made me curse not having a professor like him to guide me through my T.Y exams.
Well, luckily all of you have that opportunity, here I present an interview with Prof. Barve where he describes in detail the how’s and what’s of logistics.
BMS.co.in: What are the important things to keep in mind while solving a logistics paper?
Professor Barve: For Logistics, a student needs to be thorough with the basics to be able to attempt this paper. This is a technical-based paper and hence concepts like- Military Logistics need to be understood well; even though the chances of this concept being asked in the exam are not that high. So people ignore this, including teachers, but we need to understand that this is the soul of Logistics.
We need to be clear with the terms like- Inbound logistics and outbound logistics and stakeholders involved at each step. Reverse/Return Logistics need to be studied with real world examples.
BMS.co.in: What is supply chain management?
Prof. Barve: Supply Chain Management is a broader concept of which Logistics is a part. Supply Chain Management is a comprehensive process including movement of materials from the Supplier to the Manufacturer to the Wholesaler to the retailer to the end consumer.
For understanding this better, a student needs to go through some concepts from Operations and Production Management area like–
1. Procurement and sourcing
2. Production planning
3. Order processing and
4. Facilities planning
A student needs to understand how good/poor Logistics Management affects the SCM.
Concepts like the bullwhip effect makes the students aware of how minor gaps and lack of coordination affects the entire supply chain upstream and results in a major blow to the system.
Modern logistical concepts like 3PL and 4PL helps to understand how external delegation or transfer of responsibility to an external resource can reduce the internal workload and facilitate specialized functioning.
BMS.co.in: Any specific tips that will help the students in understanding the subject better?
Prof. Barve: I always recommend my students to read an article on:
The Logistics of Distribution, by Magee John F. From the Harvard Business Review after 2 chapters to support their learning this will help them understand the subject better.
BMS.co.in: Organization Structure is a tricky chapter as many faculty members do not give it any importance, why is that so?
Prof Barve: Organisation structure doesn’t carry weightage in the exam. However, since it’s a part of the curriculum, I recommend that the students are thorough with Stages I, II and III organisation structure.
BMS.co.in: What do you recommend for Logistics organization?
Prof. Barve: With respect to Logistics organisation, Stages IV and V need to be known better. Concepts like Responsive Organisation and Matrix Organisation form an important part o this chapter.
BMS.co.in: What about customer service module?
Prof. Barve: Moving to the chapter Customer Service module, one of the very important parts of this subject. Seven Rs of buying, elements of perfect order and lead time need to be understood deeply. Order processing comes in here again!
BMS.co.in: Do you think Demand forecasting is important?
Prof. Barve: Demand Forecasting. Again one of the very important aspects of the subject. This chapter is important from the quantitative aspect of the subject. Students need to understand that logistics, supply chain, customer delivery, everything will come into picture only when there is a driving force known as DEMAND. No business functions without this force!
Whether into manufacturing or services, demand drives supply, and hence studying demand and its behavior is very critical. For this, I recommend one more case here: Cadbury products: Lean Supply Chain through Demand Management, Case by Prof VV Sople, From: Logistics Management – Second Edition (India) , Pearson Education Publishers, PG 386
Students need to understand Approaches to Demand Forecasting, This may include techniques of demand forecasting as well, Students need to be thorough with some major techniques like:
- Judgemental Approach
- Delphi Approach
- Time Series Analysis
- Top down approach
- Bottoms up approach
- Exponential smoothing
- Causal technique
- Moving average method
As for the quantitative part, numericals based on Moving averages and exponential smoothing need to be practiced.
BMS.co.in: Transportation is one of the subjects that the students find very easy, what needs to be kept in mind while studying this subject?
Prof. Barve: Moving towards transportation, Concepts related to transportation need to be clear.
1. Terminal facilities
2. Prime movers
3. Routes and sectional capacity
4. Transit time
5. Weigh bridge
6. Students MUST study the importance of transportation in general along with advantages and disadvantages of each mode of transport.
Students need to understand what ECONOMY OF SCALE and ECONOMY OF DISTANCE mean!
Here, I recommend the students to read a case on: Shree Cements: Freight reduction through Transportation Mix And then understand the concept of Multimodal Transportation may also be known as Intermodal Transportation- This case also by: Prof VV Sople, same publication.
BMS.co.in: What about Warehousing?
Prof. Barve: As a pre-learning to this chapter, I recommend the students to read a case on: MWC LTD. – Looking Beyond the Role of Warehousing. Again by Prof VV Sople, same publication.
To understand warehousing and its role in Supply Chain Management, the students must first understand the function of warehouse. Students need to be thorough with the Economic and Service Benefits of warehousing.
For this, they need to understand concepts like:
2. Break bulk
3. Cross docking
6. And mixing
They need to know how private warehouses are different from the public warehouses and what are the factors which decide the selection of private/public warehouses. Warehouse location planning is one of the most important parts of this chapter and hence needs due attention, it is one of the major drivers of cost.
Students should also study in detail about warehouse operations And warehousing costs the most important concept is Square root law. This concept helps in facilities planning and also numericals, if any, can be expected based on this.
BMS.co.in: What about the next chapter Material handling system?
Prof. Barve: Only types of MHS are important in this one, and unit load principle, from BMS point of view.
BMS.co.in: What about Packaging?
Prof. Barve: Concepts like-
4. Master cartons are important, along with objectives of packaging.
BMS.co.in: Inventory Management, seems huge and scares away a lot of students, is there something we should keep in mind while studying it?
Prof. Barve: Inventory Management is the The big brother! For this chapter, the students need to know what inventory means and why is it important to maintain inventory.
They need to understand that the importance of meeting the demand by supply and hence the role of inventory. They need to know how inventory functions
The details behind:
They need to know the participants who maintain inventory for various respective reasons. This is where types of inventory would come in.
Manufacturers maintain raw material and WIP inventory
Retailers maintain finished goods inventory and so on. So they know that inventory is not ONE and It has got different forms.
They need to know that the order processing learnt in the first chapter will only be complete by optimizing the management of inventory and they also need to understand the concept behind cycle stock and various inventory costs.
The most important part of the inventory management is knowing the Economic Order Quantity and levels of EOQ.
With respect to Inventory Control, I first would recommend a case on Asian Paints.
Inventory Reduction by Supply Chain Reengineering at Asian Paints, which you can get online.
The students need to various selective control techniques like:
1. ABC Analysis
2. HML Analysis
They also need to know:
1. 2 bin techniques
2. 3 bin techniques
3. Fair share allocation
4. Mrp 1 and mrp 2
In addition to this, they need to know the modern technologies like:
4. Kanban signalling system
5. Quick response management
6. Automated replenishment system
Plus, a short note on the P and Q system may be asked in the paper too.
As for the quant part, sums on:
2. Reorder level
3. Maximum level
4. Buffer stock, may be asked.
BMS.co.in: Last 5 chapters?
Prof. Barve: They are all small small kids!!
1. Function of Logistical Information System
2. Electronic data interchange
3. Bar coding
5. Satellite communication
Above concepts are important
Information technology influences on world class logistics capability, By Closs DJ, TJ Goldsby, SR Clinton, International journal of physical distribution and logistics management.
1. Very important to know
2. Activity based measures
3. Process based measures and 4. benchmarking
1. Types of logistics cost
2. Activity based costing
3. Mission based costing
4. Direct costs
5. Indirect costs
Logistic network analysis:
1. Direct shipment network
2. Milk run
3. Crossdocking again comes here
2. LASH..are also important
And the Last one: Modern Logistics Infrastructure.
4. The Golden Quadrilateral Project
5. Logistics park