Book Review: Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Management:  An Introduction To Logistics, by Donald Waters

As a student of logistics, it is perhaps unsurprising that from time to time I would pick up a textbook like this to read for fun for myself.  Admittedly, most people will not read a book like this for fun, but if you are someone who wants a good introduction to logistics, this is the sort of material one could expect as a textbook for an introductory college level course in the subject.  It is a sizable book about 500 pages long, and if the thought of reading 500 pages of material on logistics sounds appealing to you, this book is a large one that will definitely introduce you to the subject of logistics.  It is well structured and organized work that does its task without a lot of frills but with a lot of examples to demonstrate the relevance of the material it covers to those who have to study or deal with logistics for work.  A great many subjects of interest to contemporary business (and politics) are related to the area of supply chain management so this book does a good job at bringing those materials in an accessible way to readers interested in reference material.

This particular book is divided into three parts and fifteen chapters.  After a list of figures and tables as well as a preface and a list of ideas in practice, this book begins with an overview of supply chain management (I), which includes chapters on logistics and supply chains as a whole (1) and the development of logistics throughout history to the present day (2).  After that the author discusses how companies can build effective supply chains (II) by paying attention to logistics strategy, including a lean strategy (3), the implementation of the strategy and the infrastructure needed (4), integrated supply chains and the problems of fragmentation and how one can achieve integration and cooperation (5), global logistics including international trade (6), locating facilities and modeling the best places to put warehouses (7), and dealing with the tasks of capacity management including planning and adjusting capacity (8).  The third and final part of the book then looks at how materials move through supply chains (III), with chapters on how one can control the flow of materials including just-in-time (9), procurement and the activities involved in purchasing (10), inventory management, including the reasons why one holds stock (11), warehousing and material handling (12), including the layout of facilities and the packaging one uses, transport (13), including intermodal transport and the ownership of it, measuring and improving performance (14), and dealing with supply chain risk (15), which is increasing at the present time, after which the book closes with a glossary and index.

Not everyone is going to be interested in a book like this one.  The materials of this book are efficiently handled and laid out in a very excellent manner.  The author demonstrates a sound awareness of the issues of logistics as they relate to a wide variety of fields and has evidently done a lot of reading about his field in its complexity.  Moreover, the author points out that logistics is not merely a task that is vital to accomplish well but is also a strategic element of a firm and needs to be integrated with the firm’s concerns.  All too often, the author notes, companies disperse logistics to different departments that have wildly different and even contradictory logistical strategies that end up creating problems overall, and this book highlights such examples with real-life details.  Te projects and discussion questions and references of this book are useful as well for those readers who want to take this book as a starting off point to a deeper study of the field, and those who work in the field would do well to have this book or one like it as part of their own reading material to keep handy.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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