Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by John R. Bryson, Jennifer Clark and Vida Vanchan
Chapter 4: Manufacturing logistics
Manufacturing is now and has always been intimately bound up with transportation to move finished goods to market, to obtain raw materials and to integrate different parts of the production process. As Alfred Marshall (1890) and countless economic geographers who followed him have observed, manufacturing is more efficient and dynamic when it occurs at greater productive scale and in localized clusters. For precisely this reason, resources, raw materials, energy, parts and other inputs have to be brought to manufacturing locations, and products have to be shipped from there to widely dispersed points of final demand. What, if anything, is new about manufacturing logistics? The logistics industry encompasses a “wide set of activities dedicated to the transformation and circulation of goods, such as the material supply of production, the core distribution and transport functions, wholesale and retail and also the provision of households with consumer goods as well as related information flows” (Hesse and Rodrigue, 2004: 172). This suggests that logistics is not really all that new: it is merely the most recent attempt to distribute the inputs and outputs of manufacturing in more efficient ways. But the definition also draws attention to the idea that logistics entails the transformation of goods, and to the importance of information in supporting the ever more complex flow of goods.
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