Logistics management has always been concerned with lead‐times. In particular, the order‐to‐delivery cycle has been seen as a major element in the customer service process. However, companies are now increasingly coming to recognise that the way in which ‘time’ is managed throughout the logistics system ‐ from procurement of materials through to the receipt of payment for goods sold ‐ is a key determinant of competitive advantage. Not only is work‐in‐progress and inventory reduced through a shortening of total logistics lead‐time, but responsiveness and flexibility to market place requirements is dramatically enhanced.
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