Logistics Comes of Age

Enter the Internet. The development of the world wide web set off an explosion in logistical development. To appreciate the transformative nature of the Internet, it's worth considering that Logistician was not classified by the US Department of Labor as an official job until the year 2000.

We are now living in an age of amazingly sophisticated supply chain infrastructure.

Still, this is something that most of us tend to take for granted -- especially among the younger generations, who have lived their entire lives in the digital era.

Even among older people, there has been an acclimation to the Walmart phenomenon: get all your goods in one place, any time of day.

The cargo ships, carrying goods produced across multiple continents, silently cross oceans for us. They are unloaded at ports onto trains, transported to regional distribution hubs for loading onto trucks. The trucks spider out across the highways and byways to the most rural of box stores for our convenience.

Now arises the age of Amazon, which has taken these logistical building blocks and created a terrifyingly efficient system of warehouses and trucking.

Amazon laborers report incredible levels of exploitation in the distribution and order "fulfillment" centers -- a byproduct of logistics being perfected into a capitalist science.

Orders come in via the internet and move through the information system to warehouse workforces almost instantaneously.

The old conception of brick-and-mortar retail storefronts has been bypassed entirely. The shift has driven box stores like Circuit City, Radio Shack and Kmart into the grave. Sears, JC Penney, and others are staggering, dragging whole malls and shopping centers down with them.

And yet -- logistics remains cloaked by consumer concepts like convenience.

We like Amazon in the same way that we liked Walmart a quarter century ago. It's so convenient. It's quick.

You can find everything in one place.

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