Anticipatory Logistics


It is true that in each industry, requirements, needs and demands of the customers are different, specifically in the corporate world where one company sells pharmaceutical products while another one sells ready made clothes.

Moreover, in all industries, companies compete for a greater market share and that share is contributed by earning customers, either loyal or not.When there is a question of winning customers, there is also a concern about the cost, pricing of the product or service, speed and ease of delivery, psychological acceptance, and many other elements that makes organizations ponder on efforts that would let them survive in their environment. For that reason, supply chain management is very critical for the companies in global markets to manage their product or service flow in order to provide what their customers demand.

However, the current supply systems can be characterized as reactive processes that are manually intensive and unable to meet the changing requirements of today’s dynamic logistics environment. That is why there is a new supply chain model called “Anticipatory Logistics”, which is an improved method of predicting logistics materiel requirements, has been developed.

Since the industrial revolution, the dominant business model has required anticipation of what customers will demand in the future. Anticipatory Logistics is the intersection that where this idea meets today’s information technologies. It is a modern logistical system that is made of information, which anticipates the requirement of customer’s needs, so suppliers can provide adequate service production to meet them. It is based on data analysis of customer product searches, shopping histories, wish-lists and even cursor movements in order to send a shipment even before the customer places an order.

Even though this system is new to the corporate world, the U.S. Army has already been using Anticipatory Logistics in their supply chain for several years, to manage ammunition, maintenance and fuel needs. They use the term C4I for this model, which stands for computer, command, control, communication and intelligence. Logistics is a big portion of military operation and knowing when soldiers will need new equipment in the field takes planning and coordination through the supply management process.

Logistics experts have suggested that if this concept has worked very well in the Army, then it could work well in the corporate world too. This is because the business world is largely governed by supply chain management. Logisticians explain that this model 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 traditional 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.

By using the information technologies to achieve situational awareness, future logisticians will be able to track the status of supplies for individuals and better predict the needs of customers. Systems that provide logistics leaders’ enhanced situational awareness will provide instantaneous supply status, predict component failures, and even provide two-way messaging. Knowing on-hand supply levels will help logistics leaders to better configure “pulsed” logistics resupplies, typically consisting of 3 to 7 days’ worth of supplies. Leaders will use this new, enhanced level of situational awareness, provided by decision support tools such as embedded diagnostics, automated testing, and data analysis, to better support supply chains with fewer logistics assets.