Piecing things together in logistics

Piecing things together in logistics

‘Logistics is generally the detailed organization and implementation of a complex operation. In a general business sense, logistics is the management of the flow of things between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet requirements of customers or corporations.’ – Wikipedia

Well, that is a very diplomatic and juiceless way of describing logistics, it almost hurts. It requires a bit more effort and imagination to put that vibrant picture into words. Hundreds of busy people who can gain or lose in seconds, making thousands of phone calls, writing millions of emails and using uncountable numbers of resources to get things done. And all that, usually repeated several times during one shipment. As circumstances seem to change before you finish the last call, Murphy’s law should be actually called ‘the law of freight’.

Taking all that into consideration, the above description given by Wikipedia needs some updating. And although Wikipedia itself doesn’t really match with our perception of a relevant and trustful information source, it’s understanding of logistics, unfortunately, matches perfectly with what some tech-focused entrepreneurs seem to think.

 

As we can imagine some smart AI technology ‘managing the flow of things between the point of origin and the point of consumption’, we need to stop ourselves laughing at how it would soothe a docker’s upset stomach, or rescue important documents deluged with coffee from a broken paper cup in the warehouse, or any other ‘sophisticated’ issues that can happen in any part of the chain.

And the chain of shipping logistics is not a short one, nor an easy one. And most definitely, it is less binary. Here not only can you experience numbers other than 1 and 0, but you can also expect digits that have not yet been created, and yes, you better have some backup plan for it.

In shipping, digital schedule and excel charts matter, but other things matter more. Information is the very base of the process – it is what you begin with. And at this point, we appreciate all the helpful tools that tech-savvy influencers propose. But the deeper you get to logistics, the more you appreciate your human senses; ability to react spontaneously, experience enriched by many successes, and more importantly failures, your common sense, that helps you to make the right decisions under pressure. But the most important human factor is your relationships. Machines will not be able to possess it any soon, if ever. Because when your own perspective fails and your own knowledge is not enough, there are people around you. People who will support you with their creative ideas, with their various viewpoints, and with their simple preference based on your friendship.

This is what logistics is, in the end. It is piecing things together. Experiences, ideas, piecing people together to find the best possible solutions, that ‘meet requirements of customers or corporations’.

 

Not only do we believe, we are sure, that these complex tasks, that we face every day, are not able to be managed by a machine. And in the end, when we all succeed, when your cargo gets to that remote destination – it is a great feeling to call and say: Thank, you. You’ve done great job guys, we can always count on you.

 

Instead of just clicking OK after the ‘Process completed’ prompt appears, and turning the computer off.
Is it future, or is it present?

Is it future, or is it present?

Automation, advanced technology, artificial intelligence – recently all the smart new inventions seem to be promising hope and provoking fear at the same time. Some people immediately associate new technological improvements with humans being replaced with robots. Well, I don’t want to alarm you, my friends, but we have already been replaced.

 

Just not in the way you might think of.

Let’s talk about humanity. As you might already know, walking on two feet and having an opposable thumb do not necessarily make us human. In fact, if we consider only these kinds of features, we may as well high five the monkeys. Going deeper, neither is it about the ability to empathize or build relationships, because recent studies have shown that animals might be able to do this as well.

Perhaps it is about self-reflection, the ability to study ourselves, and see ourselves from another perspective. Let’s use this amazing skill now to do a little mental leap and analyze what I just told you. Can you do it? Perfect, congratulations, you are still a human.

Now, what about relationships? How often do you think about other people? How often do you actually listen to them? If this thought gives you the chills, and you feel like changing the subject, then you are surely not a monkey, but you may be a robot. And you don’t want to be one of those, right? We’ve become so automatic. Not necessarily in our private lives, but in business. You can now speak to robots instead of humans in call centres, but sometimes you can’t tell the difference.

Imagine a world in which we care more for the people we work with. In which greetings are not just a part of the routine. In which one asks for the other’s name during a phone conversation because one truly wants to talk with Mark, and not with Maersk. And we hope Mark has a good day at work and will also have a great afternoon. Not because it adds a kind vibe to the professional conversation, but because we wish the same for ourselves, as we do for others. These are simple things that would make a significant difference in the business world.  We are not characters of an American-wall-street-kind-of-tv-series. We can put a bit of humanity in our business personalities and treat each other as humans, not just another professional in a suit.

 

In the end, it’s not the big names, that matter.

 

The only way to establish a valuable business relationship is to care for individuals, before the company itself. To paraphrase Richard Branson, take care of people, and the people will take care of business.
That’s why at Tuscor Lloyds we value relationships. We call ourselves the people’s people because we treat people well, we respect them and care for them.

 

And so we all grow together.