Logistics is generally the detailed organization and implementation of a complex operation. In a general business sense, logistics is the managementof the flow of things between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet requirements of customers or corporations
Following are some of the forms of Logistics which are practiced worldwide:
1. Supply Chain Management
Supply Chain Management (SCM) is the concept for handling the production procedures in broad sense. An effective SCM application could promote the industry to satisfy the demand of new business environment. Ross (1998) defined SCM as ‘a continuously evolving management philosophy that seeks to unify the collective productive competencies and resources of the business functions found both within the enterprise and outside in the firm’s allied business partners located along intersecting supply channels into a highly competitive, customer-enriching supply system focused on developing innovative solutions and synchronizing the flow of marketplace products, services, and information to create unique, individualized sources of customer value.’
2. Reverse Logistics
The concept of reverse logistics has been applied in promoting costumer service and resources recycling. Concerning quality control, the defective components and finished products will be returned to their producers through reverse logistics systems. Nowadays, reverse logistics has been developed rapidly for increasing industries’ competitiveness, promoting customer service level, and recycling the reusable material. Meanwhile, the demand of reverse logistics brings out a new market for the third-party logistics industries.
3. Maritime Logistics
Maritime industry plays an important role in international freight. It can provide a cheap and high carrying capacity conveyance for consumers. Therefore, it has a vital position in the transportation of particular goods, such as crude oil and grains. Its disadvantage is that it needs longer transport time and its schedule is strongly affected by the weather factors. To save costs and enhance competitiveness, current maritime logistics firms tend to use large- scaled ships and cooperative operation techniques. Moreover, current maritime customers care about service quality more than the delivery price. Thus, it is necessary to build new logistics concepts in order to increase service satisfaction, e.g. real-time information, accurate time windows and goods tracking systems.
4. Air Freight Logistics
Air freight logistics is necessary for many industries and services to complete their supply chain and functions. It provides the delivery with speed, lower risk of damage, security, flexibility, accessibility and good frequency for regular destinations, yet the disadvantage is high delivery fee. Reynolds-Feighan (2001) said air freight logistics is selected ‘when the value per unit weight of shipments is relatively high and the speed of delivery is an important factor’. The characteristics of air freight logistics are that: (1) airplanes and airports are separated. Therefore, the industries only need to prepare planes for operation; (2) it allows to speed delivery at far destinations; (3) air freight transport is not affected by landforms.
5. Land Logistics
Land logistics is a very important link in logistics activities. It extends the delivery services for air and maritime transport from airports and seaports. The most positive characteristic of land logistics is the high accessibility level in land areas. The main transport modes of land logistics are railway transport, road freight transport and pipeline transport.
6. Express Delivery
As the increasing demand of time accuracy and decentralization of production, the need to reduce stock costs has led to the Just-In-Time (JIT) delivery principle, which involves more frequent delivery of materials at the right time and at the right place in the production process. The characteristics of express delivery are: (1) door-to-door service; (2) efficiency; (3) traceability; (4) Just-In-Time (JIT); (5) growing various delivery demands.
E-commerce is the future trend of business style. It brings many benefits for both companies and consumers: (1) E-commerce expands the market area from regional to global; (2) E- commerce uses electronic techniques instead of traditional paper works, which promotes the industries’ efficiency and competitiveness; (3) The number of trips is increased. On the other hand the average load of single trip is reduced, which means it needs higher carriage if using the same means of transportation; (4) E-commerce will impact on transport system due to the increased trips; (5) E-commerce might reduce the number of warehouses and the stock cost. Therefore the prices could be lowered.