Logistics is an all-encompassing term that encases the purchase, movement, storage, and planning of items that a company or organization needs to complete its mission. Logistics for the US Military is largely moving people, ammunition, equipment, and weapons systems from one country to another country as fast and efficiently as possible in order to give the military commander on the ground the most effective forces possible in the shortest time possible. Military strategy decides where, when, how, and why to apply military force against an enemy and military logistics moves and supplies all the people, equipment, ammunition, and support to make the military strategy a success.
The same military skills and military planning principles that create military logistics success also create the identical civilian logistics success. Here are a few military skills in logistics and transportation that civilian companies value in their logistical operations.
Planning and Anticipation of What Is Required to Succeed – Military leaders love to plan and anticipate how to create the conditions of success for a military operation to succeed. The Allied invasion of Normandy, France on June 6, 1944, the famed D-Day Operation, was incredibly well planned down to enormous artificial piers that were towed from England to France so the invasion beaches could be instantly transformed into a mini-port to off load much needed supplies. The military planners were all too aware that their success would be imperiled if their plans were not accurate, detailed, realistic and precise. The same requirements of planning are also needed in civilian companies.
Cost Effective Purchasing – Military logisticians are trained to focus on specific requirements for a purchase that are divided into “must have” and “nice to have” categories. Additionally, military purchasing is cost effective and military regulations teach logisticians to find three or more bid sources to ensure that the most cost effective price is secured. Purchasing is a challenging task set that military principles support. Purchasing consists of directly identifying requirements and ensuring multiple bids for a product or service that is of good quality, meets specifications, and is cost effective.
Synchronized to Support the Larger Operation – Military logistics also seeks to ensure they directly impact the on-time support of the overall military effort and strategy. The logistics plan must support the overall military commander’s plan and not be independent of the military operation. This focus and core belief that logistical success drives operational success make military logisticians great finds to support civilian logistical operations because they know they must make the civilian logistical operation successful.
Creativity, Innovation and Back Up Plans to Adapt to Changing Conditions – Towards the end of World War II, one of the greatest challenges the Allies faced was the bitter attack in December 1944 in what became known as the “Battle of the Bulge.” Central to the eventual Allied victory was not just General Patton who swung his military units to attack in the opposite direction, but also a little know logistical unit called the “Red Ball Express.” The Red Ball Express was an all African American logistical unit that brought Patton the fuel, ammunition, and food to enable his tank army to maneuver and attack. The Red Ball Express was one of the hero units of the Battle of the Bulge because their hard work, innovation, and determination got the necessary supplies to Patton’s tanks.
Determining how to use military skills to help civilian companies succeed in the challenging & complex world of logistics and transportation is an incredible way that military skill sets support the success of a military to civilian career transition.
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About the blogger:
Chad Storlie is a Retired US Army Officer, the author of Combat Leader to Corporate Leader and has published over 200 articles in over 100 publications on military veterans, career advancement, business, leadership, strategy, education, financial planning, and national security topics. Chad excels as an author, mentor, speaker, and teacher showing business leaders and military veterans how military skills make lives, careers, and businesses better. Chad is an adjunct Professor of Marketing at Creighton University. Chad has a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from Georgetown University. Follow Chad @CombatToCorp and http://www.combattocorporate.com/.