Efficiency of a logistic process

In my consultancy project I try to drive the logistic activities of a company to a simple and efficient way. But, what means simple and efficient and how do you know that a process or an activity is simple and efficient? In some small or medium organization the way that they doing things right now is, according to their opinion, the most efficient way to do that thing.

Because of this sometime some of their people are too busy with activities that are not necessary to do it, but they do these activities because they think that is the best and simple way to do it. Few times ago a General Manager of a company asks me how he can know if a logistic process is efficient or not. He is not a logistician, but the logistic is important in hid organization and it is the department which have the largest cost in the company. So, he wants to know a simple way to see if a process is efficient or not without having a professional knowledge in that field.

It is a challenge for me to answer on this question, but I find a simple way to explain him how he can see very easy if a process is efficient or not. The simple way to see this is the scalability of a process.  If the process is scalable without modify the process but modify only the resources of the process then you can consider that the process is efficient. For example: if you load 10 cars per day at this moment and the logistic manager use 3 people in this process, and also the procedure said that the car must be loaded only in the presence of the logistic manager, everything seems to be ok. But if you multiply this with 100 you will see that the process is not scalable. Why? Because when you load 100 cars in the same period of time, you must to load multiple cars in the same time. So, in this case the logistic manager can be on every car to load it, or you must to have multiple logistic managers.  Also if you look on the process when you load 100 car instead of 10 you will realize that I is necessary to modify the process and also sometimes it is necessary to modify the process before this process and after this process. For example if for 10 cars per day driver have time to check all the products and see if it is any mistake between documents and what he put it in the car, when you load 100 cars per day the driver do not have the time to made this check all the time, so you must to find other solution to made the same level of controls in this point of transfer. In this case you it can be necessary to modify the consolidation process in the warehouse.

In the case of my example the initial process it is not scalable because when you have more cars to load you must to modify the process. This way is the simple way to see with no effort and less simulation if the process it is efficient or not.

This principle it also can be apply in other area than logistics. The scalability of a process it is also important when you set-up a software solution, because if you do not set-up a scalable process into the software solution from the beginning, after a period of time the software solution become an operational barrier to your company development.

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