A prime reason responsible for the defeat of history’s most notorious dictator, Adolf Hitler; the failure of the Second Lebanon War in 2006; and the winding-down of modern start-ups poor logistics. While some of the worlds greatest failures are attributed to poor supply chain management, so are some of the greatest successes. And the British Military system of logistics management stands out as a widely circulated case study.
Until late 1942, the British Military lacked improved sources of warfare as compared to their counterparts. What they lacked for in poor weapons was compensated in terms of their ability to equip troops with timely supply of food, ammunition, and other basic necessities. This was the instrumental factor that enabled them to perform well during the war.
The military had colossal needs. An army division required nearly 1000 gallons of fuel to travel a single mile and consumed over 1000 tons of food each month. Managing the supply of basic essentials to troops stationed in various divisions and borders was crucial. By 1939, the railways were strategically used to deliver basic utilities across various regions. The British army also improved locomotion by relying on automobiles to transport personnel from the army centers to the railway station. The same applied to the transportation of supplies. Once the inventory arrived at the ports, it was divided and distributed through railroads which were further routed to other locations through motor vehicles. This gave the British an added advantage during the war. They followed a strict policy that focussed on linear systems to sustain military operations. Eventually, during the Cold War, the military units rehearsed a strategy of inflicting maximum damage on the enemy while sustaining themselves, so that they could have a larger window of time to have utilities flown in from the USA and the UK. The scale of logistics management during this time was said to be rather complex.
Although the term logistics was coined not long ago, the practice is one that has endured since ancient times. And despite the improvements made in transportation and technology, logistics is an eminent part of nearly every business unit that exists. And when efficiently applied, supply chain management can have a multiplier effect in terms of reducing overheads by diverting resources in an efficient manner.