Our lives seem to revolve around schedules. If we don’t honor them with second-to-second precision, we miss our trains and our workplace rosters fall apart. We’re reliant on one another, and we constantly have to coordinate our schedules with those of others. Planning is crucial to our industry, too. If you unexpectedly run out of nuts and bolts, you can’t make any more cars, and the entire production process grinds to a halt. No manufacturer can afford that, so industrial companies employ large teams of specialists whose job is to ensure there are never any shortages of key parts. A worldwide logistic network has become our industry’s lifeblood. The central issue facing logistics is that of reliability. How do you keep your supply network intact? And how do you limit the consequences if it fails? These are questions that go far beyond the supply of nuts and bolts for new cars. Reliable logistics touches equally on the web of interactions that determine food production and the optimization of the Internet. It also extends to power supply, telecommunications, and workforce. Reliable networks make our society tick. But they face uncertainties of various kinds. That lends a broader significance to insights gained from industrial logistics, which offer us tools we can use to optimize networks and account for uncertainties in other areas as well. The reliability of a supply network is intimately bound up with the inventories you need to maintain. Businesses hold millions of dollars’ worth of supplies in their warehouses to make absolutely certain they never cease production due to a failure in the supply chain. So the key question is how large a stock do you need to hold of each component? Smart planning to hold down inventory levels in your warehouse generates immediate savings. On the other hand, you need enough stock to ensure continuity should anything go wrong. Optimizing storage is a common problem in supply networks. There is always a trade-off between the reliability of the network and the need for it to be profitable in an economic sense.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.