EVERYTHING COMES FROM SOMETHING:
Logistics is the science of moving things from one place to another, it is all about getting things where they need to go. It’s a big and complex field with many facets, but it’s not all based on pure profit. At first thought of the logistics industry, you probably think of large trucks, with expensive items on pallets for delivery, but there are many other areas of life intertwined in this industry. It’s not all huge manufacturing companies sending giant shipments, only focused on making a profit from their products. So what else is logistics, and how does it help us navigate our daily lives? You might be surprised to find just how involved it is in your every move throughout the day.
The idea of “everything comes from something” is a fundamental principle of many ancient philosophies. It is also a commonsense observation that everything we see around us did not just magically appear, it has a cause. For example, a tree comes from a seed, fruit comes from a tree, and juice comes from the fruit. A house comes from bricks and wood, the bricks come from clay or other natural minerals sourced from the earth, and the wood from the tree that came from the seed. Understanding this essence can go a long way in understanding just how involved logistics is in the world around us. This philosophy is a powerful and important idea that can help us to understand the world around us and the place of logistics in it.
LOGISTICS GOT IT THERE:
When you think about starting your day, everything around you from the moment you open your eyes has a logistics story to tell. When you brush your teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste, use toilet paper on the roll, take a shower with shampoo and soap that smells so good, wash off with water that comes from pipes in a house built with bricks and shingles, sheetrock and insulation, flooring, glass windows, and doors. Everything around you had to come from somewhere, but did you ever stop to think about how it got there? Even the fragrance in that shampoo, the plastic for the toothbrush, the faucet that water pours from, and the lock on your door all have a freight history.
All things you see, touch, use, and consume throughout the day had to arrive at your home and the store it was purchased from one way or another. Logistics is why the world around us is so conveniently stocked with any and everything humans need. We have so many beautiful things available to us from stores and our homes from companies that deliver what we order online right to our doors. Without logistics, without freight, trucks, truck drivers, shipping containers, and the ships they go on to make their way across seas, none of this would be possible.
AND IT ARRIVED IN A PACKAGE:
Another aspect with almost all items is shipping them, or producing them in some kind of packaging. Have you ever considered where the packaging came from, or the materials used to create it? From protective cardboard boxes to plastic air cushions and bubble wrap, those items were sourced somewhere and sent to a facility to make the packaging. So, to take it a step further, even the materials used to make that cardboard box and bubble wrap packaging have a logistics story to tell. It all comes full circle and goes back to the basic idea, of “Everything comes from something”.
LOGISTICS CAN LEND A HUMANITARIAN HAND
Besides delivering the necessary goods and luxury items which make our lives so pleasant, logistics also bring necessities like life-saving items to places and people in need. Logistics companies can offer refrigerated trucks to assist with delivering food to people in need. Reefer trucks can also be used to transport blood from a donation center, insulin, and antibiotics or other medicine that must be refrigerated, eliminating the possibility of damage due to heat exposure.
Logistics companies often work with local food banks and shelters to ensure that people have access to healthy and nutritious food they may otherwise not receive. Box trucks can be used to deliver medical supplies and provisions to those in need after a natural disaster, or building materials to help reconstruct affected buildings, roads, and homes. Even larger trucks such as flatbeds and roll-backs can be used to transport equipment needed to dig out survivors from collapsed buildings. Tanker trucks may also be needed to provide gas to run the machines once at the site of the accident. Again, everything comes from something, and it has to get there somehow.
PROVIDING PROPER PLANTING PRODUCTS
Logistics even affects our ability to plant a garden, landscape a yard, or grow organic produce. Trucks are used to take natural items used in horticulture and agriculture such as mulch, compost, perlite, vermiculite, and other plant aids to assist in growing food, herbs, and medicinal plants. Additionally, all of these items you may yourself like grass seed, potting soil, flowers, and even watering devices had to be collected, packaged, and transported to your local home improvement or feed and seed store in the first place. Once the food is grown and needs to be delivered, logistics companies will be used to ship produce items to grocery stores and restaurants. Farmers are essentially growing fields of freight, which must meet a destination before perishing. When medicine or food makes its way to your pharmacy or grocery store, the logistics companies are an important link leaving a trail of information about where your food and medicine came from. Cattle farmers and butchers need a way to safely transport their meat, and fishermen as well as fish farms must transport their fish to markets and stores. Florists often deliver bouquets that need to be climate controlled and are fragile to ship. There are so many different obstacles depending on the cargo being shipped. In 2023, we have found a way to transport just about anything, quickly and securely.
LUCKY TO HAVE LOGISTICS
At the end of the day, we are lucky to have a strong logistics infrastructure and all it provides. So, the next time you sip on a glass of orange juice from the fridge, take a shower with that shampoo that smells so good, and brush your teeth, stop for a moment to think about all the hard work that went into getting those things to you. Think about the sourcing of packaging, how it came to be and kept your order safe and secure. Think about the logistics involved in making your world comfortable, safe, and convenient. Be a little nicer to truck drivers, dispatchers, and delivery people. Know the cost you pay to have your items shipped directly to you is well worth it. At the end of the day, logistics makes the world go round, and these are the people keeping it going. Everything comes from something, and logistics makes sure it gets to you.
Haverstraw Brick Museum
Supply and Demand Chain Executive
Sign of the Times
Supply Chain Brain