05 November 2019

Elastic logistics. If you’re in the supply chain industry, it’s likely that you’ve heard the sector’s latest buzzword, but what exactly does it mean?

Like the elastic band it is named after, elastic logistics can quickly stretch and contract the flow of goods through a supply chain in order to adapt to demand. As any business with a supply chain will be aware, demand for all kinds of products is subject to huge swings and fluctuations these days, triggered by anything from a change in the weather to a new social media trend. 

Elastic logistics is driven by predicting and pre-empting these peaks and troughs, enabling a business to run a lean and efficient supply chain that meets demand as accurately as possible, even at times of economic uncertainty.

Elastic logistics in the supply chain industry

Holding the perfect amount of stock has always been a challenge for supply chain organisations. Too limited an inventory and there’s no extra stock through which to capitalise on surges in demand, while too large an inventory risks leaving you with excess stock that’s hard to shift and ends up as a financial drain.

The idea behind elastic logistics is an agile and responsive inventory and logistical infrastructure that adjusts to reflect live demand at any given point in time. This working approach is made possible by operational data direct from the warehouse floor, gathered, collated and analysed over time in order to forecast fluctuations in demand before they happen.

Increasing flexibility and resiliency  

Online marketplaces like Amazon have raised the bar for all logistics companies, and consumers have come to expect 24/7 online stock availability and lightning-fast delivery. Done well though, elastic logistics enables a business of any size to flex to meet and more importantly, exceed, customer expectations in these areas. This is achieved by helping to ensure that there is always enough inventory to fulfil extra orders. After all, stockouts cost a business more than just missed sales – consumers disappointed to find their chosen item out of stock will likely shop elsewhere next time. 

At the same time, elastic logistics allows an organisation to build up supply chain resiliency; an ability to withstand changeable market conditions and economic shifts. While it’s not currently possible to predict external factors like these, adopting elastic logistics gives a business the best chance of being prepared for even the most unpredictable market event.

How rugged mobile devices fit in

To make an elastic logistics operational model possible, a business needs to be able to foresee changes in demand ahead of time. For this, you need data. Data on inventory replenishment, frequency of orders, sales performance – in fact, a record of activity from every point in the supply chain. With this, a business can start to identify the factors that contribute to ebbs and flows in demand, revealed by data patterns and trends.

Rugged mobile devices are essential for gathering this information. Handheld computers, rugged truck mounts and rugged in-vehicle devices – all built to be robust enough to survive harsh and demanding warehouse environments – log operational information down to the last scan, giving your teams indispensable digital support on the warehouse floor and your business a way to gather key performance data.

In addition to a wealth of other business benefits, digitising your supply chain management through rugged mobile devices creates a continuous stream of data your organisation can use to implement an efficient, cost-saving elastic logistics approach. To find out more,  get in touch with our friendly team.



Peter joined TouchStar (formally Belgravium) in a sales manager role in 2001.  Prior to joining the company, Peter held Partner and National Sales Manager roles within the parcel and logistics industries.  

In 2011 Peter was promoted to Sales Director and is now actively involved in promoting the value of TouchStar’s Rugged Mobile Computing solutions to the warehouse, logistics, manufacturing and field service industries. When not involved in the business, Peter is a keen and enthusiastic football and cricket fan.

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