Supply Chain Logistics: Balance Cost and Customer Experience

Align strategies for transportation, inventory management and production planning

Assess Supply Chain Logistics Maturity

Many supply chain leaders struggle to engage, define and articulate the contribution and true value of logistics to the supply chain and broader organization while developing the logistics function.

Achieve supply chain logistics excellence with the Gartner 5-stage maturity model — establish your logistics capability baseline, close critical gaps and design an effective development strategy.

Download the supply chain logistics maturity research to:

  • Access our proven 5-stage maturity model
  • Understand the 10 capabilities of the supply chain logistics function
  • Detailed gap analysis with the Gartner framework for logistics development

Download Logistics Report

Assess Supply Chain Logistics Maturity

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    Driving Real Impact in Supply Chain Logistics

    For many businesses, the organization design and legacy infrastructures constrain, rather than enable, end-to-end processes, metrics and governance for supply chain logistics. Emerging operating models such as supply chain control towers, along with increasingly popular outsourcing models such as 4PL, are helping to integrate supply chain logistics activities (e.g., shipping and receiving, import and export operations, warehousing, product purchasing, customer service) into a single customer-driven function.

    To remain competitive, extend your networks, scale digitalization and enhance supply chain logistics capabilities. Gartner offers support specifically for the supply chain logistics leader that focuses on the design, execution and continuous improvement supply chain logistics solutions.

    Supply chain logistics insights you can use

    Today’s increasingly customer-centric economy requires integrated, value-added supply chain logistics solutions to achieve competitive advantage. 

    30 Key Activities for Logistics Management

    Don’t waste time on logistics activities that won’t move the needle. Download the logistics activity map to learn what leaders say are the key logistics activities to building a world-class organization.

    Tackle Supply Chain Disruptors by Collaborating Within Your Logistics Ecosystem

    Logistics and supply chain leaders face an unprecedented level of disruptors that significantly impact performance, cost and service to their customers and consumers. This complimentary webinar will help supply chain leaders address these challenges by leveraging better collaboration in their logistics ecosystem. 

    Four Actions to Bridge the Logistics Talent Gap

    Supply chain logistics leaders struggle with talent acquisition and retention. Download the Gartner research to discover 4 actions to bridge the logistics talent gap.

    Reinventing Supply Chain for the Future

    Winning supply chains are disruption-tough. Download our 2022 eBook to discover the 4 priorities of the Future Supply Chain.

    Questions about becoming a Gartner client?

    Gartner Supply Chain Logistics Case Studies

    Gartner has been phenomenal helping us move through logistics strategy and operations challenges over the last 4 years, supporting us in driving efficiencies and generating 10% to 15% ROI.

    VP of Global Supply Chain in the Oil & Energy Industry
    Resulted in savings of $2.1 million.
    Case Study

    Reducing 3PL Contract Renewal Costs

    A large enterprise manufacturing firm’s contract with their third-party logistics (3PL) was coming to term. With Gartner’s support, the client was able to review their existing contract, the proposed renewal contract, and find efficiencies helping the client negotiate their renewal contract, which resulted in cost savings of $2.1 million.

    Experience Supply Chain conferences

    Join your peers for the unveiling of the latest insights at Gartner conferences.

    Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 for 2022

    See the 18th annual ranking to learn the standard for supply chain excellence.

    See the Top 25 List

    Supply Chain Logistics FAQs

    Logistics is the management of a complex set of tasks that encompasses the physical flow of materials and products from source to final destination. This can include processes such as inbound and outbound transport management, warehousing, fulfillment, value-added services and the management of international cross-border logistics — for example, import, export and customs.

    The supply chain of a business encompasses the businesses and manufacturers involved in developing and delivering its product to its retail or business dispatch facility. A key part of managing this process — often through multiple international or nationwide transportation steps — is logistics management. 

    Supply chain logistics management is more than just the management of the supply chain. It aligns the intricate functionality of transportation, shipping and receiving, import and export operations, warehousing, inventory management, product purchasing, production planning and customer service.

    Managing the supply chain is imperative to ensuring that your business operations run smoothly, from manufacturing all the way through to delivery at your retail outlet/business operations facility.

    Gartner defines a third-party logistics (3PL) provider as a commercial firm that provides one or more logistics functions on behalf of its customers on an outsourced basis for a fee. To be a 3PL, the logistics service provider (LSP) must predominantly operate a business that moves, stores or manages products or materials on behalf of its customer, in some manner, without taking ownership of such products or materials. A 3PL offers many traditional services, such as: transportation management and brokerage; warehousing, consolidation, distribution and fulfillment (contract logistics); and international logistics management (such as air and ocean freight forwarding and customs brokerage).

    Outsourcing is the transfer of services that would otherwise be performed internally to a third-party service provider to drive cost optimization and efficiencies.

    Having a world-class supply chain management system is rapidly becoming the key differentiator factor between the success or failure of businesses. With so many variables at any given phase of the supply chain, logistics management must ensure the smooth and successful completion of each phase. 

    Besides the challenge of managing multiple moving parts, logistics management leaders have the challenge of making their processes more customer-centric to ensure the viability of their products. 

    Instability in global trade, trends toward localizing and personalizing logistics, the ongoing challenge of attracting and retaining the best logistics talent, and businesses not committing adequate budgets for expanding supply chain logistics are all contributing factors to the growing challenges being placed on the shoulders of logistics leaders.

    Organizations can optimize their logistics strategy in a number of ways: 

    • Focus on long-term business strategy: This includes campaigning or influencing investment decisions from the organization’s decision makers. 
    • Focus on value: How is your function delivering value to the organization? Communicate this clearly to C-suite executives and deliver demonstrable evidence where possible. 
    • Maintain and drive agility: Ensure your processes are adaptable to changing landscapes at all phases of the supply chain. Have priority lists of projects that need immediate attention and ensure that all functions of the supply chain are able to pivot when necessary. 
    • Hire disruptors: Talent is integral in supply chain management. Hiring out-of-the-box thinkers and those who are constantly looking for a better way of doing things is imperative to success.

    Logistics network planning (LNP) refers to the class of tools required to analyze the trade-offs among inventory quantities, number and location of warehouses, and transportation costs to most profitably support a desired level of customer service. LNP is a proven scientific method for analyzing the required cost and service levels that warehouses need to meet specified customer service objectives.

    The market for in-store logistics systems is emerging and growing. Increasingly, retailers are using store inventory to support online order fulfillment. The key benefits of in-store logistics systems are to manage the fulfillment (picking, packing and dispatch) of online orders at scale within a store environment so that consumers experience an optimal level of on-time and complete fulfillment of their orders, whether being collected in-store or shipped to them from the store. Gartner defines the scope of in-store logistics processes as consisting of seven key functional capabilities which are product receipt, product put-away, inventory management, sales floor replenishment, picking optimization, packing optimization and dispatch process.

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