Book Review Published in Transportation Journal Fall 2003
Supply Chain Logistics Management, 1st edition, by Donald J. Bowersox, David J. Closs, and M. Bixby Cooper, McGraw Hill/Irwin, 1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020, 2002. Pp. 656. ISBN 0-07-235100-5
Written by three well-respected authors in the field of logistics, this text is a valuable addition to the supply chain literature. Readers will find that the textbook moves quickly beyond the basics of logistics management to more challenging topics such as financial sophistication and enterprise extension. The emphasis is clearly on higher level, “integrated” logistics. This viewpoint, along with the many practical tools presented for implementation, make this book suitable for use in advanced level logistics courses.
The authors’ stated objectives are: 1) a comprehensive description of existing logistics in a global environment; 2) describe ways and means to apply logistics principles to achieve competitive advantage; 3) provide a conceptual approach for integrating logistics as a core competency in enterprise strategy.
The book is divided into five parts, each leading logically to the next. Part I covers six chapters which thoroughly discuss common logistics subjects from order processing and customer service to marketing and procurement functions. Chapter 2 introduces the concepts of “lean logistics” and lowest total cost movement and positioning of inventory. Chapter 6 forms the foundation for later discussion of operational integration both within the firm and with business partners.
Technology is the focus of Part II, Chapters 7 through 9. These chapters illustrate the value of this text in several ways. First, the information is presented with minimal use of jargon and in non-technical terms. Next, the clear descriptions of information networks in Chapter 7 are a welcome change from some logistics volumes which assume technical sophistication on the part of the reader. The enterprise planning and scheduling covered in Chapters 8 and 9 include operational benefits to be gained from improvements in technology. This is important in gaining the “buy in” of the total cost concept from manufacturing, distribution, marketing, and especially finance managers. Table 8-2 provides a good summary of operations systems functionality.
Part III, Operations, includes Chapters 10 through 14. The reader finds a good overview of Inventory Management, Transportation Infrastructure and Regulation, Transportation Management, Warehousing, and Packaging and Materials Handling. There are no surprises in this section except that Chapter 12, Transportation Management, seems brief considering the impact of transportation on total logistics costs.
Network Design, Part IV, is what makes this book most useful for advanced study in supply chain and logistics management. These two chapters go a long way toward the authors’ goal of integrating logistics as a core competency. Further, the discussions presented can help the logistics professional participate in high level strategic planning. Chapter 15, Network Integration illustrates the higher-level extension of the firm’s network to supply chain partners. This is followed by clear descriptions of location theory and warehouse cost basis justification. Chapter 16, Design Process and Techniques outlines the methodology used in logistics planning. These include well-designed tables of sample internal and external review topics as well as a typical technology assessment.
The final section of the text is Part V, Administration. Chapter 18, Performance and Financial Assessment, is the most interesting and useful of these chapters. Table 18-1 is a concise outline of typical performance metrics. The discussions of asset management and financial budgeting will help the logistics professional participate in strategic policy.
For the instructor, this textbook provides sets of problems and the ends of Parts II and III. These problems make good weekly assignments or material for classroom discussions. Longer cases are included at the end of the text for Parts I, IV, and V. Because of their length, these cases would be best used as semester length projects.
The authors have included many figures and tables throughout the book. A number of these tables, as noted above, will make good reference material. Many of the figures, however, seem to have less relevance.
Overall, Supply Chain Logistics Management, makes a solid addition to the bookshelf of the student or logistics professional. The authors have certainly achieved their objectives and they have written a useful textbook.
Mitchell G. Kostoulakos, MBA, CTL
Adjunct Lecturer in Transportation
Boston, MA 02115