In order to help you get an understanding of just how big of a role logistics plays in modern-day business, I have prepared this Q & A. Hopefully, after reading this you will be better prepared to take my supply chain management business logistics quiz for me. If you’re not familiar with logistics, then let me start by saying that it is simply the science of delivering goods and materials from point A to point B. The key word in the last sentence is “from.” Logistics never stops moving forward, therefore the question you should be asking yourself is how you, as a business owner, can stay up to speed with this ever-changing landscape.
One approach that many businesses take to try to stay up-to-date is to hire an outside consultant. Unfortunately, consultants (unless they are well-educated in your niche) can cost thousands of dollars, so it may not be a viable option for a lot of small businesses. Another approach is to get an informal weekly or bi-weekly meeting at your office to discuss the latest in supply chain management. If you are lucky enough to have a top-notch employee with real world experience, you might be able to build a relationship. On the other hand, this is not a great way to build good relations with your customers or vendors, and the informal nature of such meetings can invite the occasional complaint. Therefore, what if I could tell you exactly what questions to ask?
I did some research and created a list of ten questions to ask any supply chain expert. These questions were designed to give me an initial overview of the key issues that would guide my decision. Since this information is not set in stone, you will not know for sure if the answer to each question is correct until you ask the questions again. However, I’m certain that these questions related to your business will make a big impact on the answers you receive.
I encourage you to use this list as the starting point when you are asking questions. As you go through the list, keep in mind that there are rarely two or three answers to each question. Sometimes, you will need more than one answer to get the whole story. Keep in mind that the key here is asking the right questions. You cannot afford to skip any questions on this list.
Here are the answers to the questions I suggested in my previous article: What are the benefits of using a standardized system? What do you see as the biggest obstacles in implementing a standardized system? How should I hire an experienced consultant? How should I keep track of project development?
I encourage you to ask each question individually. Make sure you prepare a list of questions before you begin. This will help you avoid repeating the same question (if you already answered yes to a question) or giving wrong answers. There are plenty of resources to help you learn how to ask these questions. In fact, some books provide examples of questions to ask management consultants. Other sources of information include case studies and white papers by consultants.
The most important piece of advice I can give to potential consultants is to learn everything you can about supply chain management and business logistics. Get a solid education in the field. Then become an expert in it. That way, if you need to, you’ll be able to answer any question regarding the operations of a logistics or supply chain management operation.