When talking about warehouses, the focus is usually on the layout of the warehouse itself, its characteristics and its operations in order to work as efficiently as possible within it. However, the role of the warehouse as a point that connects a supply chain logistics network, which is defined as a logistics node, is less well understood.
Logistics nodes are the important physical sites where the product is stored and distributed in its various stages of production, be it distribution centers, urban hubs or, at a wider and international scope, ports and airports. Understanding their role in skateholder relationships and their efficiency in economies of scale is key to optimizing logistics nodes to the next level.
If you want to learn more about the characteristics about the importance of logistics nodes, read on:
From less to more complex
When talking about logistics nodes, it is common to mention the larger and more complex nodes that operate internationally. However, there are also simpler nodes with fewer locations that operate nationally or even in a single region.
Logistics nodes are classified by the levels they have in the supply chain. If a node consists of suppliers transporting directly to customers, it is a single-tier logistics node. On the other hand, if there are already logistics centers and distribution hubs in between, it is already considered a three-tier logistics network. Large companies are usually thought of as having multi-level networks; however, supermarket chains such as Walmart opt for single location distribution rather than multi-node.
Il più vicino possibile ai nodi logistici chiave
It is known that the most relevant logistic nodes are located in the ports and the most important airports of each country, for example in the case of Spain, the port and airport of Barcelona and the airport of Madrid, among others. However, at the international level, particularly in Europe, there is an optimal area for distribution centers called "blue banana" because of its shape and because they are located in the center of the European economy and many markets can be accessed in a short period of time.
Whether operating nationally or internationally, the most likely scenario in a long supply chain is that most of them will have one or more distribution centers near a port or airport. You should also take into account their geographical location, such as logistics centers in Madrid because they are located in the center of Spain and offer better distribution within the peninsula.
Persistent over time or seasonal
Not all logistics nodes operate in the same way for an entire year, a factor that is due to the seasonality of various products that circulate through them. These can be either goods intended for the summer or items intended to be stored until use, such as spare tools and machinery.
A good example of seasonality is food grown and/or processed seasonally or months in advance of final demand. Therefore, the logistic nodes of the first phases would already be in operation before reaching the final nodes, such as the last mile.
As economical as possible
After all, the main objective of a good supply chain is to deliver maximum value at the lowest possible cost. Whether it is changing raw material suppliers to obtain them for a low price or going to other logistics centers located in a more strategic location.
However, just as the logistics nodes are changed, the connections or links between them are also changed, so the routes to be followed by the fleet from this point on must be reorganized. An automated route optimizer assists in the planning of the new routes, taking into account the entire logistics network in which it currently operates.
Once the above points are known, it is evident that logistics nodes play a very important role in the logistics chain. However, there are several characteristics to take into consideration that are not easy to manage, but if they are optimized to be closer and more economical, a solid and efficient supply chain will be created.
At Hedyla, we cover solutions for various stages of the supply chain in order to have these processes well controlled and defined.
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