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Business Logistics Assignment: Scenarios Based On Logistical Management


Prepare a well-researched business logistics assignment addressing the following questions:
Question 1: Discuss the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the overall logistical performance cycle of companies. Your answer should include the possible challenges in 3 subcycles (purchasing, manufacturing, and customer cycles) and solutions to overcoming those challenges.

Question 2: Some companies have adopted robotic capabilities to increase their warehousing efficiency. Discuss, using real examples, how this new technology may impact their logistics systems in terms of below parts.

  1. Supply-side logistics
  2. Demand-side logistics


Answer 1
Impact of Covid on the logistical performance of companies
The performance cycle of logistics mentioned herein business logistics assignment is related to customer accommodation, manufacturing, and procurement. Certain activities are required to be completed when a company receives an order. The activities are carried out in recurring forms that represent a cycle known as the performance cycle. The logistical performance cycle of a company is known as the entire process that comprises a series of activities from the start of receiving the orders, the processing, and the final delivery. The logistics performance cycle consists of four elements that are integral to the operations known as nodes, links, and inventory, and input-output requirements. The primary objective of logistics is to improve the uncertainties related to the performance cycle (Accenture, 2020). The variables that are instrumental in conducting the performance cycle are the structure of the performance cycle, the conditions for operating, and the logistical operation quality.

However, the pandemic of Covid 19 created a significant disruption in the logistics and supply chain operations globally and in Australia. Several factors have been influenced by the pandemic that can be attributed to domestic political instability and vulnerability of global business operations. This pandemic affected the seamless flow of goods from one country to another and halted the logistical process due to a shortage of resources and supply means. Air and sea freight was also considerably affected as the cargo ships and flights were also suspended for many days following lockdown restrictions in many parts of the world and Australia. The pandemic has caused reconsiderations regarding implementing new logistics and supply chains (Agility, 2020). However, the pandemic has caused many job losses, reduced income levels, and a sharp decline in business activities. Multinational companies have restructured their control strategies for a seamless flow of necessary inputs to mitigate the risks for disruptions in domestic operations.

Manufacturing cycle challenges
The manufacturers faced substantial operational challenges due to the impact of Covid 19 on the organizations. Most of the companies shut their production operations due to restrictions imposed by the governments. The other companies that shut down the manufacturing operations were primarily due to the falling demands of the goods and services (Bowles, 2020). The requirement criteria of the goods manufacturing companies were not experiencing steady demand for goods that lead to the temporary shutdown of operations. The primary challenge faced by the manufacturing cycle of the companies was the unexpected length of the pandemic. The prolonged period of uncertainty was the most significant challenge for all the manufacturers. For example, the process of manufacturing requires physical interaction of people in terms of ensuring that the process of manufacturing operates smoothly, but the factor of social distancing has create a massive challenge in terms of carrying with the manufacturing operations without human interaction by being physically present.

Solution for the challenges
There are three solutions that can protect the manufacturing cycle of logistics. They are workforce protection, ensuring business continuity to avert risks and drive productivity from a distance. Methods like formalizing and standardizing the operating procedures and tools that can help safeguard the employees should be adopted by the manufacturing companies during the pandemic. The anticipation of the potential uncertainties regarding future manufacturing issues should be dealt with in primary importance (Fingent, 2020). An action management plan and backup options should be implemented by manufacturers to mitigate the risks of future shutdowns and lockdowns. Production and manufacturing operations should be continued in various phases and sub-parts to maintain physical distancing norms. The firms should also apply remote working policies wherever possible because the implementation of these options can effectively manage operations amid a pandemic like Covid 19. One of the best examples of a solution regarding manufacturing challenges is implementing digitalized technologies in the process of manufacturing that can fill in the place for human being to a certain extent. Another example can be making the manufacturing location a secured bubble where the workers will be accommodated there with food and shelter so that the risk of virus spread is negligent.

Purchase cycle challenges
The impact of Covid 19 has significantly affected logistical operations worldwide, and the purchase cycle of the companies has also been affected by lockdown restrictions due to the pandemic (Lawton, 2020). The main challenges of the leaders are maintaining business operations, fulfilment of urgent demands, and mitigate the challenges related to the suppliers. These the main issues that the purchase cycle of companies have faced during the pandemic. An example of purchase cycle challenge is the strict lockdown measures that have been imposed by the governments, which has made the supply of materials difficult as all domestic and international transports were suspended.

Solutions for the challenges
Management of upstream supply disruptions should be prioritized by the procurement and purchase department of companies. They should rebalance the short-term decisions based on sourcing due to constraints in the supply network (Gupta, 2020). Prioritizing and developing a digital procurement operating model and new ways should be adopted regarding working with internal customers and external suppliers and partners. The suppliers of all sizes should be managed by the purchasing department, and supply uncertainty should be managed effectively. Intelligent unlocking of company funds, building resilience for future sustainability, and implementing future innovation strategies are crucial solutions to mitigate the risk of purchase cycle issues in organizations. The best solution to mitigate the purchase cycle challenges during the covid-19npandemic situations is to stock huge quantities of raw materials in the warehouses. Another prime example of solution related to purchase cycle challenge is to indulge in utilization of locally available materials that can satisfy the production needs

Customer cycle challenges
The primary challenges related to the customer cycle of logistics were of the highest significance for manufacturing concerns. The two primary challengers that were integral to the customer cycle were the fluctuating demand and supply constraints due to the geographic risks. The start of the pandemic has created a lot of fluctuations in the consumer market in the global economic scenario. The demands for essential commodities have skyrocketed, whereas the demand for nonessential goods has dived to lows (Hedwall, 2020). The significant fluctuations have created a challenge for the aspects of the customer cycle related to organizational logistics. The demands of essential commodities constantly rose due to the prior stocking nature of consumers. Consumers began to stockpile the essentials as they anticipated the lockdown and shutdown of business operations and activities. There was also a supply constraint risk due to the geographical risks that have considerably affected the consumer cycle. The supplies were stranded for many days due to the shortage of freight and cargo options for companies. Limited resources for the workforce made the risks more prominent, and the supply constraints were noticed in the logistics department of many companies. For example, the consumers were hesitant to shop physically due to the fear of contracting the Covid-19 virus and this lead to the business face uncertainties about the consumer behaviour pattern.

Solution for the challenges
The supply chain of companies should make prior commitments regarding distribution networks that could effectively manage supply constraints in the future. A few strategies that can effectively address the demand and supply ratio need to be developed for future use (McKinsey, 2020). The demand and supply aspects should be projected every year, and stocks should be disbursed per the requirements. Demand and supply forecasting is an effective way of mitigating the risks and the geographical risks; although they are temporary, no significant effective solution can be provided for this particular issue. One of the potentially best solution in terms of mitigating customer cycle challenges is to indulge in delivering the products and services at the customer doorstep by engaging in e-commerce as this will potentially keep the customer demands stagnant.

Answer 2
Supply-side logistics
The physical flow of goods regarding the customer implication can be divided into two components, and they are known as supply-side logistics and demand-side logistics. The supply-side logistics covers the elements of material management and is considered as the system that keeps the production unit of companies in working condition without interruptions (McKenna, 2020). Proper anticipation of required materials, item sourcing, and stock level monitoring is considered the critical element of supply-side logistics. In recent times many companies have resorted to adopting robotic capabilities that can considerably increase warehousing efficiency. The implementation of this new technology has created a positive impact on the logistics systems of many companies. The Chinese Company Alibaba invested an amount of 15 billion dollars for building the infrastructure of robotics. The company can benefit from the warehousing operations supply management by introducing autonomous mobile robots that help in delivering inventory all over the warehouse. They can comprehend and interpret their business surroundings through the use of mechanized digital gadgets.

Aerial drones can optimize warehouse inventory in a vast company like Alibaba, as they can help in scanning locations in the warehouse. They can travel very quickly in areas that are hard to reach, and they do not occupy valuable spaces in the warehouse (Pwc, 2020). Therefore, these two robotic gadgets can be considered as the drivers that can help in creating an efficient warehouse supply process. The use of robotics can also reduce human errors and allow workforce adaptability. They can also considerably improve the safety level of workers by taking charge of the dangerous jobs of employees. Adidas is one of the largest sportswear brands in the world, and it has successfully implement robotics in the supply chain and has extensive plans of converting the plants into digital and automated factories using robotics. Nike also has been following the footsteps of its competitor Adidas in investments related to automating their factories and plants with the implementation of robotic management that can substantially help the company in reducing overall production, operational and miscellaneous costs (Edwards, 2018).

Robotics in supply logistics
Automated logistics involve the processing of many activities related to the operations of the warehouse. The application of robotics in the logistical operations of various companies is known as robotic logistics. The implementation of robotics offers beneficial alternatives for manual labour that significantly help in boosting productivity and expansion of the deployments. It is also instrumental in cutting the average warehouse labour expenses by 70%. It also helps organizations in functioning properly with incurring minimal operational costs and expenses. The supply-side logistical management of companies has become integrated with robotics in warehouse management (McKinsey, 2020). Robotics can successfully mobilize or transport goods and products without the help of manual labour from one side of the warehouse to another. Substantial investments related to warehouse robotics have been conducted in the manufacturing industries.

Demand-side logistics
The demand side logistics of companies are the aspects that deal with forecasting and predicting the demand for products that can be delivered to satisfy the customers. It is considered the management process that helps in maintaining a coordinated flow of order in the consumer market (McKinsey, 2020). There are a few variables of demand-side logistics like understanding the customer demands, meeting the needs and forecasting, and providing logistical support as per the demands. The demand aspects primarily contain four elements that are related to forecasting like the amount that needs to be produced, the quantity required to be stocked, distribution plans, and matching the supply and demand of products.

Google has invested 500 million dollars in the development of robotic logistics infrastructure. The demand aspects of the supply chain and logistics of a company like Google can be benefitted in various ways. The demand aspects of the warehouse can be fulfilled by integrated robotic systems like automated storage and retrieval system (Rheude, 2020). They are robot-aided systems that help in easing the tasks of the employees of the warehouse. The demand forecasting method is applied in industries where the product demand needs to be calculated. The use of robotics can benefit the industries by providing digital and computed risk assessments and demand forecasts that will ease the employees' work involved in manual calculations. The various risk assessment procedures associated with fluctuating demand of company products can be effectively managed by implementing robotic logistics. The deployment of robotics in the operations of Deutsche bank has helped them in saving 22 million dollars per year and has reduced the operating costs by 20% (Koppelman, 2019). Amazon has also invested in robotics supply that has also created substantial gains for them in operation costs.

There are many common problems that supply chain operations face in the market that are primarily related to demand and supply forecasting. Customer expectations, keeping pace with the global market, choosing the proper channels for distribution are some of the crucial issues faced by the supply chain and logistics department of manufacturing concerns globally. The use and implementation of robotics ensure better customer service and create the base for increased customer satisfaction (Speigel, 2020) and can also provide significant protection to the supply chain process of companies. There are more beneficial aspects of robotics in the demand forecasting opportunities of manufacturing concerns like data entry automation, predictive maintenance, and initiation of purchase orders. These functions are integral to the demand aspect of logistics and can benefit the company by reducing human involvement and management.

The data entry automation can make automated inputs related to the demand aspects of the company logistics and plan its distribution strategies accordingly. The stock and inventory need to be managed by predicting the demand and supply aspects. Robotics applications can help in the timely detection of maintenance of the machinery and other issues that need to be rectified. The predictive maintenance aspect of artificial intelligence and robotic management can help facilitate the predictive maintenance efforts that help in the timely detection of faults in the system (McKinsey, 2020). The detection can save the company warehouses from incurring extra losses for mismanagement of stock and inventory. Therefore, the two aspects of supply and demand are equally crucial for warehouses and other business operations. They are predictive in analyzing the future predictions of the company developments and are considered integral aspects of logistics and supply chain management.

Accenture (2020).Procurement for expedited recovery and responsible growth | Accenture. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Jun. 2021].

Agility (2020).4 big logistics challenges of COVID-19 – and how to overcome them | Agility. [online] Agility Insights. Available at: [Accessed 1 Jun. 2021].

Bowles, R. (2020). Warehouse Robotics: Everything You Needed to Know in 2019. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Jun. 2021].

Fingent (2020).How Robotics in Logistics Helps Improve Supply Chain Efficiency | Fingent Blog. [online] Fingent Technology. Available at: [Accessed 1 Jun. 2021].

Gupta, R. (2020). Top 8 Challenges That Emerged During This Pandemic & How Enhanced Business Communication Channels Have Played A Crucial Role. [online] BW Businessworld. Available at: [Accessed 1 Jun. 2021].

Hedwall, M. (2020).The ongoing impact of COVID-19 on global supply chains. [online] World Economic Forum. Available at: [Accessed 1 Jun. 2021].

Lawton, G. (2020). RPA, AI bolster supply chain resilience in times of crisis. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Jun. 2021].

McKenna, B. (2020). Covid crisis shifts supply chain management from efficiency to resilience. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Jun. 2021].

McKinsey (2020).COVID-19 and supply-chain recovery: Planning for the future | McKinsey. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Jun. 2021].

Pwc (2020).Impact of COVID-19 on the supply chain industry Executive summary. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Jun. 2021].

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Spiegel, R. (2020).Manufacturing Challenges During a Pandemic. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Jun. 2021].

Edwards, D. (2018). 30 automation solutions for warehouses and supply chain operations. [online] Robotics & Automation News. Available at: [Accessed 17 Jun. 2021].

Koppelman, L. (2019). 36 companies re-inventing and rethinking supply chain & logistics. [online] 6 River Systems. Available at: [Accessed 17 Jun. 2021].


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