Focused Logistics

Focused Logistics

BackgroundWhat is Focused Logistics?Evolution or Revolution?The Lean Supply ChainFocused Logistics: The AdvantagesFocused Logistics: The DisadvantagesThe Tailored Supply Chain - 'Suits You, Sir?'Flexibility and ResponsivenessConclusionBibliography


With the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and Soviet Union, and hence the disappearance of a monolithic threat to Western Europe, there has been an increasing desire to reduce defence spending and divert scarce resources into other public sector services. This increased pressure on the defence budgets, which has been felt in most countries in Europe and North America, has led to a search for ways of making a shrinking budget stretch further.
In some ways the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is facing the same challenges as many commercial companies did in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the recession, in their bid to reduce costs in order to maintain profitability. While the Strategic Defence Review (SDR) has generated new initiatives such as 'Smart Procurement' and the creation of a Defence Procurement Agency (DPA) and Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO) in order (for some, at the behest of the Treasury) to reduce costs in the procurement and sustainment of the UK Armed Forces. This however, can be seen as important due to the fact that defence inflation has for many years exceeded normal economic inflation (The Economist, 1998), leading to the spiralling cost of new weapon systems.
With logistics having become more important as the 20th Century has progressed, and particularly since the end of the Cold War, the need for more efficient and effective logistics is becoming paramount, as it is seen as both a 'competitive advantage' and a 'force enabler'. 'Focused Logistics' is the latest term to enter usage, and this paper will examine how different it is from what has gone before, and whether it is applicable to some of the operational challenges that the armed forces might face in the near future.

What is Focused Logistics?

As the 21st Century dawns, the rate of change in technological progress is, compared to earlier times, astonishing. With this change, mankind is potentially facing a revolution in information technology, which will be equal to, if not greater than, those of the agrarian and industrial revolutions of previous centuries. With this technological change, allied with the end of the Cold War and the seeming necessity to be able to intervene effectively far away from the home base, attitudes to war are changing along with the approach to business. In many ways, the two are converging, as the military try to take on board some of the 'best' practices of the business and commercial world, as both are faced with significant alterations in political and economic structures, the geopolitical balance, technological progress and perceptions of the 'threat'.
The term 'Focused Logistics' originates with the US Armed Forces and is defined as "the fusion of information, logistics and transportation technologies to provide rapid crisis response, to track and shift assets even while en route, and to deliver tailored logistics packages and sustainment at the strategic, operational and tactical level of operations." (Department of Defense, 1999) The key elements here are the embracing of emerging technologies (particularly information technology), transportation techniques, business methods of asset control and the concept of 'tailoring'. (Gansler, 1998)

Evolution or Revolution?

Is 'Focused Logistics' a new concept or an evolution from present ideas? Is it a military version of 'Lean Logistics'? 'Lean Logistics' has five principles: specify value, identify its stream and make it flow, pull just in time and strive for perfection. (Taylor, 1999) Additionally, the objective of integrating information, logistic and distribution systems is also known as 'supply chain logistics'. This includes "the functions of purchasing, transportation, inventory control, materials handling, manufacturing, distribution and related systems …. Its primary focus is the physical flows and storage of materials and the system flows of related information." (Coyle, Bardi & Langley, 1992) It seems that 'Focused Logistics' is very similar to 'Lean Logistics' in many ways, but it can be argued that it is not exactly the same. Where they differ is the intention to adopt the principles of 'Lean Logistics' to the military environment. The military have a requirement for their supply chain to be as flexible as possible given the uncertain environment they now face. In essence, they are seeking a leaner supply chain, which can support forces anywhere in the world, at short notice.
However, given that the overriding imperative seems to be that of reducing costs, the need to have a more efficient supply chain must be seen in that light. Ultimately, if revisions in the supply chain are going to be costly, then despite the military benefit, governments are unlikely to give the go ahead as the objective for them is the reduction of defence spending. Even if the go ahead is given, is 'Focused Logistics' achievable? Is it possible to utilise a leaner, more responsive supply chain tailored for the operational environment (whatever that may be)?

The Lean Supply Chain

'Focused Logistics' seeks to reduce the logistic footprint, that is, to reduce the amount of equipment and consumables that the MoD needs to store and that commanders need to take on operations. This could be undertaken either by better predicting the rate at which resources are used, which would enable the defence industry to better gear their rate of production within the supply chain to match the usage of the 'customer'. Therefore, the current philosophy of 'just in case' (where equipment and supplies are stockpiled to cover as many eventualities as possible) would have to be replaced by a 'just in time' one'. (Kaminski) However, it may be that commercial JIT is too risky in an operational environment, and that the MoD will move towards a compromise position of 'just enough', which should reduce inventory and make the supply chain more efficient.
The second method would be to build a greater level of reliability into systems in order to reduce the maintenance burden. By reducing the amount of maintenance needed, it logically follows that the amount of spare parts that have to be moved through the supply chain can thus be reduced. Correspondingly, the number of faulty parts moving back up the chain is reduced as well. As an example, during the Gulf War, the Challenger 1 main battle tank was found initially to have a poor Mean Time Before Failure rate, around 723 kilometers, instead of the planning figure of 1,235 kilometres. (Moore, Bradford & Antill, 2000) Thus as the Challenger was substantially less reliable than anticipated, then far more spares had to be moved down the supply chain, more man hours of work had to be put in to fix the problems and more faulty parts had to move back up the supply chain.
In reducing the amount of inventory held in the combat area, reducing the throughput in the supply chain, and having a greater visibility in the supply chain, it would be possible to reduce the logistics infrastructure. Less inventory requires less people to maintain it and less space to store it, as well as fewer troops to guard it in the theatre of operations. Fewer consumables will mean less personnel and transport assets will be needed to move these items (which in turn will mean fewer consumables will be required to keep those assets running) but it is important that the right material be loaded on the correct transport at the correct time and place. The concept of tailoring resources is an important one and will be vital if a leaner supply chain is to be set up.

Focused Logistics: The Advantages

The setting up of a 'Focused Logistics' system could have several advantages:
  • The availability of global real-time logistic information for all those who need it (as in the United States discount chain 'Wal-Mart' model). Automatic Identification Technology (bar codes, optical memory cards, radio frequency tags etc.) will enhance worldwide asset tracking.
  • Electronic commerce systems would allow on-line ordering and payment.
  • Logistics will be centred around speed, instead of mass, relying on rapid transportation systems on both land and sea, as well as in the air.
  • Integrated distribution systems (supply chain integration) should improve response times, accurate delivery scheduling and forward delivery.
  • The enhancement of civil-military integration should mean that the military capitalise on best business practice. Commercial lift can be used and brought onto the battlefield as a part of the force, as happened in the Gulf War. The contracting of civilian firms to provide a broad range of logistic services can be viewed as a potential force multiplier, especially in peacekeeping or humanitarian situations in countries that have little infrastructure.
  • The accurate identification of future logistic requirements should allow industrial base planning, allow the MoD to target investment in critical material which in times of war the supply of which is too uncertain or lead times too great.
  • Logistic supply planning tools would allow real-time awareness of unit and weapon system readiness, enabling the logistician to be 'proactive' and using a 'pull' supply chain. The redesign of unit organisation should allow it to have a smaller logistics 'footprint' and act as a broker of information and integrator of supplies and services.
  • Personnel should receive additional training in the use of IT and acquisition.
  • It would enhance overall acquisition reform, such as the move to the paperless contracting procedure, electronic commerce, the growth of civil-military integration and the use of life-cycle management.
Overall, 'Focused Logistics' is designed to reduce response times and costs, produce a more agile infrastructure, and improve quality and readiness. This 'faster, better and best value' support is arrived at by first identifying and then concentrating on the key elements of the logistic system, and substitutes speed of response for large 'just in case' inventories. The real question is whether 'Focused Logistics' can actually be made to work in an operational environment, or whether it is merely a buzzword for an inappropriate business philosophy shoehorned into a military context? There is a danger of being seduced by the theory of cost saving and efficiency building - implementing 'Focused Logistics' and then cutting overall logistic capability (or in classic British Government parlance, 'improving the tooth-to-tail ratio'). The Falklands Campaign reminded the MoD that the "need to get the logistics right determined the ability of a formation to conduct its operations". (Poffley, 1994) The Gulf War could have been a good opportunity to test many of the concepts now grouped under the banner of 'Focused Logistics' but the Coalition instead chose to build up a logistic 'insurance policy'. Why was this apparent lack of trust exhibited when the crunch came?

Focused Logistics: The Disadvantages

The difficulty for the Armed Forces is knowing what they want and need as well as finding out what is 'just enough' in order to accomplish the goals set them. Allied to this are the possible disadvantages with 'Focused Logistics':
  • A possible over reliance on technology, where "a soldier who is a true information warrior may be so fascinated by what he is seeing … on his laptop, that he fails to notice that his virtual battlespace is about to be violated by a real warrior with a machete who has crept up behind him." (Gray, 1998)
  • The immense power of emerging technology (which continues to advance at a rapid rate) has created its own myths, and produced a myopia in which technology and automation is the panacea for all situations. As the US Deputy Undersecretary of Defense (Logistics) has said, "information and technological advances will revolutionise warfare." (Kallock, 1999) There is very little in the concept of 'Focused Logistics' that does make imaginary use of such advances.
  • While many factors in the post Cold War world have created a drive for new ideas (low threat perception and financial pressure among them) we should not "make the mistake of equating reception of concept and volume of debating noise with strategic truth." (Gray, 1998) Purely basing a paradigm shift on upcoming technology (and hence changing the fundamental structure of our armed forces) without any true regard or appraisal as to the nature of future opponents has its own dangers. Even if we make our logistics cleverer, we have not altered the conditions in which they will be tested. Technology has many advantages, but in many areas in the world "the ultimate determinant in war is the man on the scene with a gun." (Wylie, Rear Admiral J C in Gray, 1998)
  • Future warfare is increasingly seen as being dominated by coalition or international co-operation. "We take it as a 'given' that the future battlespace will be joint … and … multinational." (Applegate, 1998) True integration between nations will be very difficult given the disparity between budgets and the size of armed forces.
  • Not only is there disparity between frontline forces, but also in strategic lift. The UK has just over sixty Hercules transports and a few surface ships. The USA used some 350 transport aircraft in the Gulf War. (Chadwick, 1991; NAO, 1993; DoD, 1992) It is capability differences such as these that raise questions about full integration. Asset tracking depends on an uninterrupted stream and a capability mismatch anywhere along the line, could prove dangerous. (Campbell, 1999)
  • Modern deep battle doctrine stresses the need to strike at the enemy's rear areas, where he is vulnerable and his supply system is located. If we are fighting a reasonable competent and technologically sophisticated opponent (given that we are conducting deep battle) then we can assume that he will be looking to do the same to us, that is, dislocate our fighting forces from our supply line. 'Focused Logistics' has not addressed the issue of its own vulnerability to enemy action. Even an asymmetric opponent will be out to try and make sure that 'just in time' become 'just too late'.
  • Transportation is another central tenet of 'Focused Logistics'. Many of the current transport methods use sophisticated technology and are thus open to exploitation. The balance between 'just in time' and 'just in case' as indicated by Paul Kaminski seems to rely heavily on delivery rather than storage. It requires "the substitution of fast transportation for logistics infrastructure" (Kaminski), which focuses on actual customer requirements when those requirements arise. Transportation assets are vulnerable, not only to a sophisticated opponent employing deep battle, but also to a well-placed insurgent. Ships, planes, trucks and trains however mobile, are soft targets while supplies carried with the forces are protected inside their own battlespace.
  • There are risks in becoming too dependent on corporate outsourcing in that the military may cease to be an 'intelligent customer'. (Evans, 1998)
  • Is one of the true drivers behind 'Focused Logistics' that of cost? While cost and value have a legitimate place in all defence policy calculations, it is dangerous to dress them up as military advantages. "Cost was the ever present limitation. Before Hitler came to power, there seemed very little prospect of the British Army being called upon to fight a (European) land battle. Theorists spoke of the 'expanding torrent' in which armoured forces, with close air support, would make deep penetrations through fortified fronts. Such expensive ideas were far too Napoleonic for an army mainly concerned with putting down riots in the colonies." (Deighton, 1979)
  • If 'tailoring' is a cost cutting exercise then it should be acknowledged as such and adapted to. Cutting the cloth to produce a more elegant fit is valid, stretching it until the seams go, is not. User confidence in 'Focused Logistics' will be essential, and cost-cutting is a great disincentive to the acceptance of innovation, particularly if it is dressed up to be something it is not.

The Tailored Supply Chain - 'Suits You, Sir?'

Whatever happens in the way of moving the supply chain towards a more 'just in time' approach, the MoD must match the logistic capability with its warfighting capability. This is actually pretty diverse with high intensity conventional warfare at one extreme and peacetime training at the other, with many other types of conflict in-between. The logistic requirements of these two scenarios are quite different, and for the UK's Armed Forces to be an effective tool in Foreign and Defence policy, it may seem that the best solution would be to have a system that could cope with the worst case scenario - a conventional war. But that may incur additional costs in peacetime with significant capability going unused.
It would thus appear that the concept of 'Focused Logistics', advocating as it does the tailoring of the supply chain to the operational need, provides the answer. In peacetime, the assets and resources that the military need will be quite small. But as they begin to move along the spectrum of conflict, more assets and resources could be allocated to meet the increasing requirement. This however, may not only have implications for the production capacity within the supply chain, but for the relationships between customers and suppliers.
Firstly, there will be implications for the supply of material to formations on the ground that are at the end of the supply chain. Because of the rising costs of running and maintaining equipment coupled with the high costs of certain consumables (such as ammunition, missiles and torpedoes), there is a move towards a greater reliance on simulation to cover the needs of peacetime training. If this is combined with the concepts of lean supply management, that is, keeping the minimal amount of inventory and producing goods as and when required, it is possible that the production of such goods will be small or even zero in peacetime, with the intention to gear up or even restart production if necessary. The problem however, is that commercial organisations are unlikely to want, or be able to leave production capacity unutilised whilst awaiting MoD requirements. Chances are, they will want to employ these resources satisfying other customers, and are unlikely to divert these resources back to the MoD if it adversely affects other commercial relationships. In order to guarantee supply, it might have to purchase production capacity that lays dormant, and that could be expensive.
Secondly, financial pressure may mean the increased outsourcing of certain services, such as the maintenance of equipment, to a greater extent than happens now. This may also become more commonplace as systems become more complicated and the MoD has to rely on the system's producers to maintain their product in service. While in a peacetime role, this may not present a problem, but the MoD has to prepare to engage in, if need be, other operational deployments, up to, and including, high intensity conventional warfare. How the MoD satisfies this need, either by having civilian contractors or sponsored reserves is not the question. What matters is that the operational commander can be guaranteed their participation, particularly where it is a foreign company, whose government does not support the actions of the UK. Of course, the same problems could reoccur with regard to the tailoring of the transportation needs of the supply chain. Transport assets need to be earmarked and contracts placed, to acquire the necessary resources as the MoD's needs expand and contract according to the situation. This principle isn't new, but SDR identified a number of flaws in the system, as did the National Audit Office report regarding the contractoring of sealift for Operation Granby. (NAO, 1993) These flaws would have an impact on one of the central tenets of 'Focussed Logistics' - that of rapid response.

Flexibility and Responsiveness

In times past, there was an assumption in the MoD that transport assets could be obtained from commercial sources if the need was sufficiently great. In SDR, the MoD announced its intention to purchase four more roll-on/roll-off ships and four large strategic lift aircraft (C-17 or equivalent) (MoD, 1998) in recognition that while resources such as these may be obtainable given sufficient lead time, the time frames that the MoD may sometimes have to deal with makes it unlikely that commercial resources would be available. This is another possible Achilles heel with 'Focussed Logistics'.
Of the few definitions that exist of 'Focused Logistics' none defines rapid response in terms of time frame. The British Army holds combat units at varying states of readiness, some as little as twenty-four hours. As a benchmark, however, it anticipates being able to deploy a fully operational brigade in thirty days. Any logistic support for this formation must therefore be able to respond in the same timescale. It is unlikely then, that in a normal situation, that civilian production facilities, support assets and transport assets will be available at such short notice unless they remain uncommitted to other ventures and earmarked solely for MoD use, which in all probability will command a premium price. It may therefore be more cost effective in certain situations to rely on military assets rather than civilian ones. If the operation then becomes a prolonged one, there is thus no reason why commercial assets could be used in the longer term, thus releasing military assets to once again be held for short notice contingencies.


The United States Armed Forces see 'Focused Logistics' once fully implemented, as a seamless system where there is total asset visibility to enable logistics to be based on velocity of distribution rather than stockholding. Rapid force projection will be possible thanks to an adequate but small logistic footprint and an 'agile supply chain'. (Christopher, 1999) The use of commercial best practice, competitive sourcing and partnering, combined with a decreased in-theatre logistic footprint and infrastructure, reduced inventory and reduced numbers of maintenance personnel are all part of the strategy. It will reduce costs, increase flexibility and provide them with the tailored support to take on an enemy anywhere in the world at short notice. It thus seems an answer to budgetary prayers. For those who resent paying for warfighting assets that remain under utilised in peacetime, 'Focused Logistics' advocates lean supply and a flexible supply chain that should enable the 'tailoring' of logistic requirements on a case by case basis. Not only would it remove the financial drain of under utilised assets, but a properly constructed and tested 'Focused' supply chain should ensure the right warfighting assets are in the right place at the right time and in the right amount.
The MoD has not stated that they will adopt 'Focussed Logistics' as such, and will have to implement a number of changes before they will have the capability to support such a system. The United States has the advantages of having the required funding, economies of scale and readiness to innovate that means that they have every chance of pulling this off.
While some operations (such as in the former Yugoslavia) have shown 'Focused Logistics' to work, it would be inappropriate to draw the conclusion that it can therefore work in all scenarios. In large scale conventional operations, the dependence on technology and logistics based on velocity of distribution, may leave the forces involved vulnerable to whether there is enough transport assets available to accomplish the mission, unanticipated weather, capability mismatches with other allies, maintenance problems, enemy interdiction and the 'fog' or 'friction' of war. 'Tailoring' needs to provide the best, and not just the cheapest, if the troops on the ground are going to have confidence in the system. The final shape of the supply chain, whether it is closer to 'just in case' or 'just in time', must be constructed and tested under the concept of kaizen or the eternal drive for perfection. The system must be constantly tested under conditions as close as possible to what will be found under operational deployment. As such, logistics planning must take into account the huge variety of scenarios that are possible in the post-Cold War world. In the commercial world, the supply chain that works for cars may not work for computers or fresh food, just as high intensity conventional conflict is far removed from many of the operations other than war that we have seen in the past few years. While the exploitation of technology for military advantage has always been an important part of the race to win wars, it should not be sought in isolation. Just as important is an understanding of its best use, the risks, how it can change or not change the operational environment, and how an enemy might respond to its use.



Department of Defense. US Army Home Page, Army Vision 2010 and related documents

Other Reading

'Platform Envy' in The Economist, 12 December 1998, p. 25.
J S Gansler, US Undersecretary of Defense (Acquisition and Technology) in FY 98 DoD Strategic Plan.
Taylor, David. 'Supply Chain Improvement: The Lean Approach'. Logistics Focus, Corby, January 1999.
Coyle, J J. Bardi, E J. Langley, C J. The Management of Business Logistics. West Publishing Company, 1992, p. 9.
Kaminski, P G. 'Lean Logistics: Better, Faster, Cheaper'. Defense Issues. Volume 11, Number 99.
Moore, David M. Bradford, Jeffrey P. Antill, Peter D. Learning from Past Defence Logistics Experience: Is What is Past Prologue?, Whitehall Paper No. 52, Royal United Services Institute, 2000, p. 57.
Poffley, Maj M W. 'The Logistic Lessons from the Falklands Campaign and their Relevance to future British Army Operations within Defence Role 3'. MA (Mil Studies) DissertationSeptember 1994, p. 16.
Gray, Colin S. 'The Revolution in Military Affairs' in The Nature of Future Conflict: Implications for Force Development. SCSI Occasional Paper 36, September 1998.
Kallock, R. A Glimpse of the Future: Joint Vision 2010. At the RUSI Focused Logistics Conference, London, 18 - 19 January 1999.
Applegate, Col Dick. 'Towards the Future Army' in The Nature of Future Conflict: Implications for Force Development. SCSI Occasional Paper 36, September 1998.
Department of Defense. Final Report to Congress on the on the Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, GPO, Washington DC, 1992.
Campbell, John. IS / IT and Organisations. Lecture to MDA 13, RMCS, 22 March 1999.
Evans, Brigadier P A D OBE. Contractors on the Battlefield. Discussion Paper D/ACDS(L)/520/1/1. 25 October 1998.
National Audit Office, Ministry of Defence: Movements of Personnel, Equipment and Stores to and from the Gulf. HC693, HMSO, London, June 1993, pp. 5 - 10.
Ministry of Defence. Strategic Defence Review, CM3999, The Stationary Office, London, July 1998, pp. 24 and 39.
Christopher, Professor Martin. 'Creating the Agile Supply Chain'. Logistics Supplement, Haymarket Publications, March 1999.

Agility Logistics

Agility Public Warehousing Company K.S.C.P. is a publicly traded global logistics company headquartered in Kuwait, providing freight forwarding, transportation, warehousing and supply chain management services to businesses, governments, international institutions and relief agencies worldwide. Agility has more than 22,000 employees and 500 offices in 100 countries.

Agility shares have traded on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE: AGLTY) since 1984 and the Dubai Financial Market (DFM: AGLTY) since 2006.

Historical development

In ancient history the combination of local supply for food and forage and self-containment in hardware and services appears often as the logistic basis for operations by forces of moderate size. Some of these operations are familiar to many a schoolchild—the long campaign of Alexander the Great from Macedonia to the Indus, the saga of Xenophon’s Ten Thousand, Hannibal’s campaigns in Italy. The larger armies of ancient times—like the Persian invaders of Greece in 480 bce —seem to have been supplied by depots and magazines along the route of march. The Roman legion combined all three methods of supply in a marvelously flexible system. The legion’s ability to march fast and far owed much to superb roads and an efficiently organized supply train, which included mobile repair shops and a service corps of engineers, artificers, armourers, and other technicians. Supplies were requisitioned from local authorities and stored in fortified depots labour and animals were drafted as required. When necessary, the legion could carry in its train and on the backs of its soldiers up to 30 days’ supply of provisions. In the First Punic War against Carthage (264–241 bce ), a Roman army marched an average of 16 miles (26 kilometres) a day for four weeks.

One of the most efficient logistic systems ever known was that of the Mongol cavalry armies of the 13th century. Its basis was austerity, discipline, careful planning, and organization. In normal movements the Mongol armies divided into several corps and spread widely over the country, accompanied by trains of baggage carts, pack animals, and herds of cattle. Routes and campsites were selected for accessibility to good grazing and food crops food and forage were stored in advance along the routes of march. On entering enemy country, the army abandoned its baggage and herds, divided into widely separated columns, and converged upon the unprepared foe at great speed from several directions. In one such approach march a Mongol army covered 180 miles (290 kilometres) in three days. Commissariat, remount, and transport services were carefully organized. The tough and seasoned Mongol warrior could subsist almost indefinitely on dried meat and curds, supplemented by occasional game when in straits, he might drain a little blood from a vein in his mount’s neck. Every man had a string of ponies baggage was held to a minimum, and equipment was standardized and light.

In the early 17th century, King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden and Prince Maurice of Nassau, the military hero of the Netherlands, briefly restored to European warfare a measure of mobility not seen since the days of the Roman legion. This period saw a marked increase in the size of armies Gustav and his adversaries mustered forces as large as 100,000, Louis XIV of France late in the century even more. Armies of this size had to keep on the move to avoid starving as long as they did so, in fertile country they could usually support themselves without bases, even with their customary huge noncombatant “tail.” Logistic organization improved, and Gustav also reduced his artillery train and the size of guns. In the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48) strategy tended to become an appendage of logistics as armies, wherever possible, moved and supplied themselves along rivers exploiting the economies of water transportation, and operated in rich food-producing regions.

After the Thirty Years’ War, European warfare became more sluggish and formalized, with limited objectives and an elaborate logistics that sacrificed both range and mobility. The new science of fortification made towns almost impregnable while enhancing their strategic value, making 18th-century warfare more an affair of sieges than of battles. Two logistic innovations were notable: the magazine, a strategically located prestocked depot, usually established to support an army conducting a siege and its smaller, mobile version, the rolling magazine, which carried a few days’ supply for an army on the march. Secure lines of communication became vital, and whole armies were deployed to protect them. The increasing size of armies and of artillery and baggage trains placed heavier burdens on transport. Also, a revulsion against the depredations and inhumanity of the 17th-century religious wars resulted in curbs on looting and burning and in regulated requisitioning or purchase of provisions from local authorities. Because of the high cost of mercenary soldiery, commanders tended to avoid battles, and campaigns tended to become sluggish maneuvers aimed at threatening or defending bases and lines of communication. “The masterpiece of a successful general,” Frederick the Great remarked, “is to starve his enemy.”

The era of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic domination of Europe (1789–1815) brought back both mobility and range of movement to European warfare, along with an immense further increase in the size of armies. Abandoning the siege warfare of the 18th century, Napoleonic strategy stressed swift offensives aimed at smashing the enemy’s main force in a few decisive battles. The logistic system inherited from the Old Regime proved surprisingly adaptable to the new scale and pace of operations. Organization was made more efficient, baggage trains were pared down and some of their load shifted to the soldier’s back, and much of the noncombatant tail was eliminated. The artillery train was increased, and the rolling magazine was used as the occasion demanded. The heavily burdened citizen-soldier marched faster and farther than his mercenary predecessor. In densely populated and fertile regions, moving armies continued to subsist, by purchase and requisition, on the countryside through which they marched, spreading out over parallel roads, each corps foraging to one side only. Even so, the numbers involved dictated greater dependence on magazines.

Napoleon made relatively few logistic innovations. He militarized some services formerly performed by contractors and civilian personnel, but the supply service (intendance) remained civilian though under military control. A significant change was the establishment in 1807 of a fully militarized train service to operate over part of the line of communication this was divided into sections that were each serviced by a complement of shuttling wagons—foreshadowing the staged resupply system of the 20th century. The 600-mile advance of Napoleon’s Grande Armée of 600,000 men into Russia in 1812 involved logistic preparations on an unprecedented scale. Despite extensive sabotage by the Russian peasantry, the system brought the army victorious to Moscow.


Logistics follows the same pattern of other plural nouns—such as ballistics, linguistics, statistics, or physics—that represent fields of study and take either a singular or plural verb.

Logic, used strictly in the singular, is a science that deals with the formal principles of reason. If a visitor walks in the house with wet hair, it is logical for one to assume that it is raining outside. Logistics, which involves such concerns as the delivery of personnel or supplies in an efficient manner, can often employ logic, such as by reasoning out the path least likely to interrupt the flow of a delivery:

As with many other areas of the economy, the digital revolution is having a profound effect on delivery logistics. The combination of mobile computing, analytics, and cloud services, all of which are fueled by the Internet of Things (IoT), is changing how delivery and fulfillment companies are conducting their operations.
—Andrew Meola, Business Insider, 14 Oct. 2016

Both logic and logistics ultimately derive from the Greek logos, meaning "reason." But while logic derives directly from Greek, logistics took a longer route, first passing into French as logistique, meaning "art of calculating," and then into English from there.


NYK acquires stock which Osaka Shosen Kaisha (O.S.K. Line) owned, creating subsidiary company called Yusen Air Service Co., Ltd.

Changes English name to Yusen Air & Sea Service Co., Ltd.

Acquisition of domestic air freight forwarder license in Japan

Acquisition of international air freight forwarder license

Setting up Logistics Department in Harbor Division of NYK Head Quarter Establishment of "Japan Intermodal Transport (later, JIT Co., Ltd.) in Japan, mainly handling ocean freight forwarding.

First half of 1980

Establishment of subsidiaries in Asia countries, following precedent once in Thailand

Second half of 1980

Expansion of network in Europe and Americas through buyouts or establishment of subsidiaries

Transfer of the sales section of the travel department to Yusen Travel Co., Ltd.

Registers over-the-counter stock with the Japan Securities Dealers Association

Listing on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange

2000 and after

Building up global network and organization by expanding its business to Eastern Europe and BRICs

Integration of brand name to NYK Logistics internationally

Merger of "NYK Logistics (Japan) Co.,Ltd" with "JIT Co., Ltd." in Japan

2010 February

Basic letter of agreement concerning integration of businesses of Yusen Air & Sea Service and NYK Logistics Japan

2010 May

Transfer of business agreement between Yusen Air & Sea Service and NYK Logistics Japan

Yusen Logistics Co., Ltd.

2010 October

Inauguration of Yusen Logistics Co., Ltd.

2018 January

Becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha and the Company Shares is delisted from the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange Inc.


Founded with vision. After a successful beginning of a career in the same industry, Minh Phuong Dang, chairwoman and chief executive officer, made her entrepreneurial debut and founded MP Logistics on July 4, 1995. With the vision of trusted, quality and solution focused forwarding and logistics, growth spurred throughout the early beginnings through determination, quality service and a dedicated staff of just eighteen employees. Many of the company’s first customers in 1995 are still customers of MP Logistics today.

Starting any business is a challenge. MP Logistics faced many obstacles of its own as the company drove for growth year after year. Recognizing a growing customer base in the north, 1999 was the first year for market expansion of the company’s operations. In January 1999, the Ha Noi representative office of MP Logistics was established to provide a local presence for facilitating northern operations.

Market expansion continued nearly one year later in the central coastal city of Da Nang, an industrial center of the Central Region. Recognizing the market as a growth spot for the future, MP Logistics established its Da Nang representative office in January of 2000. As an important sea, air and rail hub, Da Nang is well on its way to becoming a leading center for industry, tourism and trade.

Having the ability to extend service quality further into the logistical chain is a benefit shared by both the provider and customers. MP Logistics was able to do just that when it joined hands with Baek-Shim-Ra Corporation in 2002 to establish the Nice Vina Container Transportation J/V Co., Ltd.

In late 2004, construction plans were unveiled for a new 5-story corporate office building that boasted a modern design and State-of-the-Art IT infrastructure. Construction would take place on the existing site of the current headquarters. Operations were relocated around the block where the employees of MP Logistics setup for the duration of the demolition and construction period.

A milestone. MP Logistics celebrated its 10-year history in 2005. A 10-year anniversary celebration for employees, customers and family was held in July at New World Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City. It was a night full of thanks, recollection and vision for the next decade.

In August 2005, MP Logistics transitioned from its temporary office location around the block and moved operations into the new corporate headquarters building. The building provides four floors of comfortable office space, two meeting rooms large, spacious reception area and on-site dining facilities. As northern operations continued to develop, MP Logistics established its third representative office in Hai Phong, Vietnam, the countries third largest city. Situated on the northeastern coast, Hai Phong is 102km from Ha Noi and possesses Vietnam’s largest northern seaport.

Ms. Dang was awarded Vietnam’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year by Vietnam Prime Minister. The Saigon Airport Corporation was also aquired by MP Logistics.

Added Binh Duong truck fleet and maintenance facility.

Added Tan Van truck fleet and maintenance facility.

Opened low-temperature warehouse system facility in Hung Yen following requests from customer requirements.

Minh Phuong Dang, chairwoman and chief executive officer, was featured in an exclusive interview on CNBC in a segment on Managing Asia that highlighted the success and growth of MP Logistics in Vietnam. The summary and video footage of the interview from the show can be accessed in the link below:

MP Logistics established a joint venture with Samsung SDS, the information technology and logistics services company of Samsung Group to optimize Samsung’s logistics operation in Vietnam. It was also during this year that MP Logistics established a joint venture as CPMP Logistics to support supply chain operation for C.P. Group Vietnam.

Recognizing a growing request from our corporate customers to offer more value-added services, MP Logistics established a Mutual Franchise Agreement (MFA) with Enterprise Rent-A-Car brand, the world’s largest car rental provider. Enterprise shares many qualities with MP Logistics, including private ownership and a focus on service, which makes it the right choice of franchise partner.

MP Logistics estimates that international customers who live and work in Ho Chi Minh City will typically rent a vehicle from one to five years. The vehicles will be driven by local drivers, which may be necessary for business customers who do not have experience driving on Vietnamese roads. Other services include short-term, chauffeur-driven options, self-drive rentals and leisure hire at popular tourist destinations, such as Da Nang.

For more information, please visit

Minh Phuong Dang, chairwoman and chief executive officer, was recognized as Forbes Magazine Top 25 Emergent Asia’s Latest Star Businesswomen.

On July 4, 2020, MP Logistics once again reached a significant milestone in posting 25 years of operation in Vietnam.

“Our company was founded on the notion that we provide the best-in class quality service through long-lasting relationships with our customers so they can trust us to deliver their goods on time to serve both their external and internal customers within their supply chain. After 25 years in business, that principle remains a part of our focus.” – Minh-Phuong Dang, Founder and CEO

33A Truong Son
Tan Binh Dist, Ho Chi Minh City
Phone : (84.28) 3811 - 9033
Fax : (84.28) 3811 - 9036

Richard Wilding

Richard Wilding is the Professor of Supply Chain Strategy at Cranfield School of Management. As Chair (Full Professor) in Supply Chain Strategy at the Centre for Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Cranfield School of Management UK, Richard works with European and International companies on Logistics and Supply Chain projects in all sectors including pharmaceutical, retail, automotive, high technology, food, drink and professional services to name a few. He is a highly acclaimed presenter and regularly speaks at Industrial Conferences and has undertaken lecture tours of Europe and Asia at the invitation of local Universities & Confederations of Industry. He has published widely in the area of Supply Chain Management and is Editorial Advisor to a number of top journals in this area.

When it comes to creating an effective logistics management strategy…

The answer to your question is contained in my 60 seconds on Supply Chain Strategy video on YouTube.

Some notes from the 60 second video:
Logistics and supply chain strategy can be summarized as the operational execution of the business mission.
So firstly understand the business mission, reflect on the Corporate strategy of the organization and plan accordingly. Secondly, recognize an “average” supply chain means 50% of customers are sick of your service and 50% you are spending to much money on! A focused competitive strategy is required so liaise and discuss with the marketing and sales functions of your business. So you need to segment your customers and products so that you can develop individual supply chains to create maximum value at the lowest possible cost for each of these groups. Thirdly, now for a supply chain strategy to really work, four areas need to be designed.
Your supply chain processes, the supply chain infrastructure including where you locate facilities and also what equipment is used, your supply chain information systems, and finally the supply chain organization. This is how you organize your people.
So in summary, start with the corporate strategy, identify how you compete in various markets and understand the competitive strategy, develop the supply chain strategy to serve these markets by tailoring your Supply Chain Processes, infrastructure, information systems and organization and people.

Logistics History Before 1850

When you consider the limited forms of transportation, communication and weaponry that armies had access to before 1850, the scale of historical warfare is impressive. Ancient armies seemed to have been supplied by a combination of local supplies and depots located along their march routes.

The 13th century Mongol cavalry was especially well-known for its organized and efficient logistics system. The army was divided into corps and each one traveled with cattle, pack animals and baggage carts. Food was stored along the way, but campsites were also chosen based on accessibility to grazing and forage. Everything was carefully organized, and baggage and equipment were kept light to make transport easier.

A notable development during this period was the growth in the size of armies that were mobilized. The time of Napoleon brought about the development of magazines, or storage depots containing supplies, and rolling magazines, which were mobile versions that carried supplies for a few days.

Overtime, supplies shifted from animals to the soldiers. The growth of civilization and more densely populated areas made resupply easier.

Atlantic Logistics Company History

Atlantic Logistics was founded in 2001 by Evie and Bob Hooper and remains a family-owned, family-run business today.

Since then, we've delivered over 200,000 shipments through more 16,000 qualified carriers. In 2020, we moved over 24,000 shipments with a value of $24 Million.

Bob and Evie Hooper founded Atlantic Logistics in Jacksonville, Fla. At the time, Bob was an executive with Core Carriers. They thought it was time to create their own enterprise rather than continue creating business for others. They moved their first load of freight on March 1. By the end of its first year in business, the company moved more than 2,100 loads, generated $1.6M in sales revenue and hired 2.5 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs).

Rob Hooper joined the company to assist in running its daily operations. By the end of the third year, the company moved nearly 3,700 loads, generated $2.6M in sales revenue and employed 4 FTEs.

Atlantics Logistics moved into its first double suite in response to its need for space for more personnel. Lynn Talmadge was hired as director of government freight to develop freight hauling for the government and Department of Defense.

The company hired its first off-site agent in Birmingham, Ala.

Founder Bob Hooper fell ill and Rob Hooper took over as CEO of the company. Johnnie Greene was hired at VP of Sales and Operations. By the end of that year, the company moved 7,200 loads, generated $8.6M in sales revenue and employed 11 FTEs.

Atlantic Logistics was recognized by the Business Journal of Jacksonville as one of North Florida’s 50 Fastest Growing Private Companies.

The company began deploying McLeod Powerbroker Software as its TMS. This was a significant step in enabling Atlantic Logistics to expand to the next level by adding more security and automation. Even though the economy was in recession, Atlantic Logistics moved 6,800 loads that year, generating $7.6M in sales revenue and continuing to employ 11 FTEs.

Atlantic Logistics was recognized as “One of the Fastest Growing UF Gator-owned or Run Companies” by the University of Florida. The company also received an award from the Business Journal of Jacksonville as one of the area’s Best Places to Work. By year-end, the company moved 14,500 loads, generated $15.4M in sales revenues and employed 18 FTEs.

The company undertook an extensive rebranding campaign, adopting the new slogan “Ready. Set. Delivered” as its mantra for employees, carrier partners and customers. It hired Ben Walters, a decorated, retired officer in the U.S. Army to further develop its business with government agencies.

​The Keystone Heights operation expanded facilities and increased staff. Also because of her hard work and dedication, Amanda Thacker took the helm as Branch Manager.

2018 was the best to date, with Top line revenue growing by 12.5%.

Jacksonville strengthened the staff with the additions of Director of Operations Rex Oliver, Director of Automation & I.T. Services Alex Rodriguez, Pricing Analyst Brad Watson, and Director of Van Services Brandon Poling. Logistics Assistants and positions in the Billing department were added as well. Relationships were strengthened with Partners McLeod and McLeod IQ. The Addition of the Load Pay Software was instituted in order to better serve our Carriers.

Despite all the professional gains, we suffered our greatest loss with the passing of our Founder Robert Hooper, Sr.​. We will honor his memory. Always.

Atlantic Logistics was recognized as one of the area’s ​Top Women Owned Businesses​ and ​Top Logistics Companies​ by the Jacksonville Business Journal. Also, as well as adding a Marketing Manager and a Logistics Assistant for Van Services, the company hired retired decorated Naval Officer Vanessa Campbell ​as Logistics Assistant supporting Drayage and Construction Materials. ​By the year’s end the company generated nearly $19 Million in revenue, relocated the headquarters into a larger office space, and expanded their online presence.

The company launches a new website and introduces new branding and marketing materials.

Focused on providing unparalleled expertise in key logistics services that is guaranteed to take your business to soaring heights.

Roman Logistics

I am curious to know a little bit more about the use and types of logistic strategies used by the Romans. I know the simple stuff the use of their roads to carry wagons of supplies, the need for men to guard supplies lines in certain areas, the occasional stop made at fortifications along said supply line- but I'm curious to know if there are any other details about how exactly these supply lines were run. Who ran them- the governor of the province, the general running the field? How many tons of food, water, and materials might be moved at one time? Who sent in. orders. for what exactly was needed- the quartermasters? How many men might be needed to protect the supply lines?

Thank you in advance for any help offered, and I hope everyone is staying healthy and well!



Draft animals are expensive to feed when they're not doing anything to earn their keep. Between wars the Roman Army generally did not keep large numbers of draft animals on hand. When a war began the Roman Army would seize whatever transport was available from the local economy. They preferred pack mules, but if they were not available in sufficient quantities they would use ox carts or other local resources, for instance, camels in North Africa or the Near East. Pack mules can carry similar loads to ox carts and are faster, can march off road, and can climb steeper hills. Some Roman roads had six or seven percent grades which is very steep for a wheeled vehicle. Modern highways post warning signs at five percent grades. A long five percent upgrade will reduce a heavy truck to almost walking speed. Trucks on a long five percent down grade must use low gear to save wear on their brakes. Anyway, Roman roads through mountains could be steep, and mules could better handle the climbs and descents.

Oxen have a max speed of two and half miles per hour on a good road, slower on a bad road or off road. They also max out at about fifteen miles per day under optimal conditions. Ten miles per day was more typical for ox carts. Infantry can sustain up to twenty miles per day for several days before exhaustion sets in, so you can see that an army supplied by ox carts can't move at top speed or they will outrun their supplies. Pack mules can carry heavy loads for twenty miles per day and can keep up with marching infantry. Mules are better pack animals than horses. Mules have a tougher hide that won't chaff under a heavy load, they are less excitable than horses, and have a more efficient digestive system that lets them travel farther on less food.



Draft animals are expensive to feed when they're not doing anything to earn their keep. Between wars the Roman Army generally did not keep large numbers of draft animals on hand. When a war began the Roman Army would seize whatever transport was available from the local economy. They preferred pack mules, but if they were not available in sufficient quantities they would use ox carts or other local resources, for instance, camels in North Africa or the Near East. Pack mules can carry similar loads to ox carts and are faster, can march off road, and can climb steeper hills. Some Roman roads had six or seven percent grades which is very steep for a wheeled vehicle. Modern highways post warning signs at five percent grades. A long five percent upgrade will reduce a heavy truck to almost walking speed. Trucks on a long five percent down grade must use low gear to save wear on their brakes. Anyway, Roman roads through mountains could be steep, and mules could better handle the climbs and descents.

Oxen have a max speed of two and half miles per hour on a good road, slower on a bad road or off road. They also max out at about fifteen miles per day under optimal conditions. Ten miles per day was more typical for ox carts. Infantry can sustain up to twenty miles per day for several days before exhaustion sets in, so you can see that an army supplied by ox carts can't move at top speed or they will outrun their supplies. Pack mules can carry heavy loads for twenty miles per day and can keep up with marching infantry. Mules are better pack animals than horses. Mules have a tougher hide that won't chaff under a heavy load, they are less excitable than horses, and have a more efficient digestive system that lets them travel farther on less food.


Our roots are in Medov Shipping Agency. MEDOV’s history begins almost 70 years ago. It was 1947 when the shipping agency started the activity in Genova with basic interest in the cruise business.

Thanks to the long tradition and experience, but above all thanks to take over from the Genova based Schenone family, in 2004, two generations in shipping, Medov has widened its range of services coming to cover practically all different fields in the shipping world, either directly or through controlled companies.

All Medov’s activities related to freight forwarding, have been concentrated in Medov Logistics. This dedicated arm has its headquarters in Genova and local own offices in Civitavecchia, Livorno and Venezia (Italy). Medov Logistics operates wholly owned subsidiaries with offices and infrastructure in Miami (Florida), Singapore and Germany (Hamburg) and via local offices in New York and Santo Domingo.

We can offer services within the below countries through ML Singapore’s partner network:

Our clients include leading cruise lines, marine vendors and industry to whom we provide specialized logistics services.

Watch the video: Why making chips is so hard (January 2022).