As a new year starts it is a great pleasure, as recently elected ELA president, to write my first column by wishing you all (and all our ELA members – about 60,000 across ELA country organisations in Europe), the best for your families and success for your enterprises.
Over the past few years logistics management – supply chain management in its modern context – has become a required strategic competence in almost every sector of activity. Evolving from the pure necessity to bring goods to the consumer, the tasks of planning, geared to customer service and efficiency, have taken paramount importance and have now evolved further to integrate risk scenario management and strategies to preserve the integrity of extended supply chains.
All that, of course, has been supported by a rapid development of many techniques, such as integrated information technology and expert tools, allowing greater agility.
That is where we are, and some would like to believe we have reached maturity, with no necessity for changes ahead. But no dreams for those who would enjoy a rest! In an accelerating world new challenges have to be addressed. Amongst the many challenges we will have to address, we must mention a few that will require particular attention in our community.
Further IT developments and identification techniques, such as RFID, will continue to support an increased agility with no geographical boundaries – in particular as standards are globalising to support these initiatives.
Equally, social and environmental necessities – energy supplies, alternative energies – will require new approaches in transport. Not only transport modes and organisations are bound to evolve, but by indirect impact, ways of working, the use of well established techniques such as JIT /VMI, warehousing and locations will be affected.
Also data flows for planning , stock management and order fulfilment, as well as in many cases production localisation will have to take these changes into account and adapt.
Likewise as has happen over the years with ‘world class manufacturing’, similar attention, methods, resources, and talents must be deployed to address the massive changes required in transport , warehousing practices and to find new sources of productivity gains.
Above all, people issues, such as education and training, must support and anticipate the challenges ahead, as the required speed of change will have no reference to the speed of changes that occurred in the past.
The ELA is rich with a great diversity in cultures, experiences, projects and ideas. In short, a fantastic adventure fuelled over the years by many talented and enthusiastic people in our national organisations and networks.
Through its management and various committees the ELA has played a key role in pushing forward innovation, underlining best practices, developing standards, encouraging education and also creating the ELA certification programme for logisticians.
The ELA’s programme for 2007 will see major efforts and deployment in: ELA certification with renewed contents; the Bestlog programme; focussed projects for our enterprises community; the Eurolog conference to be held in Germany; and this column in every issue of Supply Chain Standard from an ELA national organisation.
More than ever, there is a need for education, the sharing of best practice, networking and innovative thinking. The ELA is determined, and prepared to adapt its own ways of working, to play a paramount role in fulfilling these needs.
Feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Roland Dachs, ELA President