Logistics Effectiveness Through Systems Thinking

Logistics Effectiveness Through Systems Thinking

Neeta Baporikar (Namibia University of Science and Technology, Namibia)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/IJSDA.2020040104
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Various emerging concepts influence logistics management as scholars are developing the body of knowledge. So also, the progress and the multidisciplinary aspect of knowledge that has been influencing logistics management has changed the way scholars and researchers think about logistics as an arena of application. This, in turn, influences the logistics practices. There has been an incredible shift in organizations towards an inter-disciplinary approach where all functions of an organization interact towards the achievement of organizational objectives. This shift, therefore, calls for logistics to adapt to the emerging concepts in order to contribute meaningfully to the overall goals of the organizations. Hence, adopting a grounded theory approach with in-depth literature review this article endeavors to discuss the application of systems thinking the approach to logistics management.
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Literature Review

Holman et al (2018) posits that decision-making in logistics practices covers a wide range of spectrum, from decisions of strategic nature that gives direction to the overall logistics function, to making decisions at operational levels. Further, economic decision-making is essential when trying to get the biggest bang for the buck (Galli, 2019) and the process of systems thinking maximizes benefits and, at the same time, minimize costs. In the realm of strategic decisions, an example could be localisation of facilities or alliances with third party service operators. On the other hand, an example of operational nature could be batch sizing as a way of matching inbound inventories with the available storage space in the warehouse. Such decisions are all through the focal lens of the management of logistics practices. The actual actions in logistics management practices are the execution of such decisions, and involves any other physical and non-physical tasks that are necessary for the inbound flow of materials from outside (input), through the organisation (process) to outbound flow of finished or semi-finished products (output) (New & Payne, 1995). All such actions are seen as part of, or at least relevant to, the management of logistics practices. According to Holman et al (2018), advancement of logistics management into new areas and contemporary thinking leads to the identification of solutions to some of the concerns that have been nagging the discipline since its inception in the 1950s (La Londe, 1994). This study will attempt to discuss how systems thinking can be applied to logistics management as a way of seeking appropriate interventions to the recurrent challenges facing the discipline. The argument advanced in this study will be grounded on systems thinking as it is informed by the systems theory hence an in-depth discussion of this theory will be undertaken to unpack it. The area of application of systems thinking to logistics management is still a green area since the body of knowledge developed so far is still scanty hence, it will be the focal point of this study.

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