One of the interesting definitions describes logistics as “having the right item at the right time at the right place in the right quantity to the right customer” (Susan Mallik, 2010). The all-inclusive definition talks about the holistic nature of the traditional business logistics – right from production, procurement, distribution, inventory management and of course delivery across the entire supply chain. Logistics industry used to rely heavily on individual skill and dexterity of the employees. Efficiency used to be thought as an outcome of practice. However, with advent of technology, especially with information technology, revolution is happening across the business sectors.
Logistics industry also has become equipped with new ways of doing things. In many instances, manual labour has been eliminated or has been reduced significantly. Skill requirement has enhanced as well, in terms of grasp and capability around the new methodology. The new skill set required includes efficiency in using new technologies; the faster one gets hold of the technology and starts using to its full potential, the stronger it makes its presence felt in the industry. IT- Operations integration paved the way for a faster and smoother logistics industry by reducing the frequent errors and glitches.
With the advent of e-commerce, nature of business is undergoing changes. Along with it, the conventional logistics problems are also changing. Earlier the process used to be supplier driven, whereas now the drive comes from the customer. It is more of order fulfillment rather than stocking. The good old logistics is getting changed. Typically, in Indian e-commerce industry, the back-end operation is often outsourced to some logistics firm who would take care of the physical supply-chain process with the e-commerce sites providing the user-interface with the front end operations. However, there are a few players who do manage their own distribution network partially.
In a conventional supply chain, there are two distinct players in between the manufacturers and the customers. In the e-commerce business, the middle two layers are becoming more and more overlapping.