A Look at the Present Future

Many of us are wondering what the new year will bring for us, as well as what it will take to keep our individual organizations on top. If you haven’t thought about it yet, chances are that any amount of time you spend thinking about this topic will produce the same conclusion: your organization needs people with the right skills and leadership qualities to bring you to the next level in project logistics.

Moreover, education on project logistics management is vital to the success of your organization and to the survival and growth of our industry as a whole. There have been dramatic impacts upon and changes within the field of project logistics management. Examples, but not limited to, are:

1) changing nature of customer & supplier relationships;

2) the growth and use of the Internet technology to facilitate project logistics operations;

3) significant reductions in logistics staff and with that expertise and know-how;

4) focus on strategic goals related to cost versus benefits and thus cost management and control;

5) the evolution of project logistics management as an integrated competitive project strategy, and the contribution of logistics to this project strategy;

6) the uncertainty brought about by security when nothing can be taken for granted.

There is also increasing evidence that much of the Project Logistics is being contracted to outside of the companies. These appointments bring with them two strong implications: a) senior management want different things from the logistics management teams than they perceive would be obtained by promoting from within, and b) these companies appear to be appointed with long term contracts and have defined missions for change that are accomplished during the execution of the projects. These conditions comprise the landscape within which project logistics managers are operating in today.

XELLZ is currently in the middle of a major project studying the types of needs that project logistics will require and consist of in the near future. Project Logistics Managers from a number of companies participate in a series of roundtables discussions together with ShippersForum. The discussions should provide valuable insight into the requirements of future EPC, manufacturers and other industry organizations. A summary of the noticeable themes that emerged during these focus groups are as follows:

Project Logistics Trends:

  • Move towards centralized project logistics and tracking of costs
  • Outsourcing the project logistics for non-strategic items
  • Demand on real time response to customer project logistics requirements
  • Greater emphasis on better forecasting, operational planning and information sharing across the project logistics live cycle
  • Increasing pressure to reduce costs and demonstrate sincere cost savings and management
  • Raising the bar in terms of skills and training desired in project logistics management at the customer side as well as internally

Project Logistics challenges include:

  • Ability of project logistics personnel to keep up with the rapid environmental and technological changes.
  • Integrating multiple systems internally and externally
  • Still great emphasis on price rather than total project logistics cost in the wake of the growing pressure to reduce cost

Solid skills required in future project logistics managers include:

  • Project Logistics management
  • Information technological understanding
  • Project cost and best cost management skills
  • Understanding of project logistics systems
  • Problem solving
  • Understanding of cross-cultural / global issues
  • Business ethics
  • Understanding of the legal issues involved in managing contracts

XELLZ project logistics managers can already effectively manage uncertainties and change management is more important than ever. Our Project Logistics Managers are able to lead teams of multi-skilled individuals, make decisions with less information yet are able to have effective contingency planning tools and information in the background. XELLZ Managers are further able to effectively understand the impact of project logistics decisions to positively impact the project bottom line, and are able to apply activity-based cost management decisions to project logistics activities. For more information on this study and services offered in the area of project logistics management, visit (http://XELLZ.com).

The above skills of project logistics management are more important than ever in this time where companies are no longer able to sustain logistics teams.

As Charles Darwin noted when he developed his theory of evolution:

“The species most likely to survive are not the strongest; nor are they the most intelligent; the species that survive are those that are best able to adapt to change.”