Top 10 Books Business Leaders Should Read About Logistics & Supply Chain Management In 2021

A key tenet for any business leader in the supply chain and logistics industry is being able to continuously learn and implement the ideas, theories and practices that can help deliver success across all elements of their company, from production and storage to distribution, and every step in between.

Whether it’s efficiency, cost effectiveness, digital infrastructure or customer satisfaction, experts from across the logistics and supply chain management industry have a wealth of experience. Our recommendations of the best books you can read today have been specially selected to give you the most relevant and valuable ideas, helping you to better tackle the challenges of logistics and supply chain management.

Our selection focuses on the core elements and theories of international logistics and supply chain management, as well as the future impact technology will have, as well as the human elements of an increasingly globalised industry, giving you a broad understanding of where the sector is today, and where it is headed.

1. Procurement and Supply Chain Management by Kenneth Lysons & Brian Farrington

Regarded as one of the most comprehensive and accessible books on the industry, Lysons and Farrington’s 10th edition of their seminal work adopts an international approach. Covering a broad spectrum of logistics and supply chain management responsibilities, this latest edition pays special attention to sustainability, exploring how this highly relevant yet challenging global issue impacts supply chains and procurement, and asks whether more initiatives are needed.

Building on the authors’ experience as leaders in the field, this book is an absolute must read for both existing and future supply chain and logistics company managers, and for those looking for the most up to date theory behind the industry.

2. Managing Supply Chain Operations, by Lei Lei, Leonadro DeCandia, Rosa Oppenheim, Yao Zhao

Developed in collaboration with the Rutgers Centre for Supply Chain Management, this 2017 book encompasses both the theoretical background and practical implementation of global supply chain management techniques, ideal for those looking to develop expertise on a truly global scale.

By blending the science and practicalities of supply chain companies, the authors offer guidance on a wide range of issues, bringing to light vitally important concepts as well as knowledge that can only come from many years of experience. By leveraging their compounded expertise about the industry, the authors reveal the key theories underpinning the logistics sector, supported by real world examples.

3. The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson

This book may now be six years old, but don’t let that put you off. Yes, the digital world has changed drastically during this time, but evergreen lessons on supply chain management can still be learned from those who revolutionised their industry.

The digitisation of supply chains is also one of the industry’s most seismic shifts, so ensuring you understand how the world got to this stage, and where it is going next, remains imperative for developing the futureproofed skills necessary for international logistics management companies to flourish.

This book will teach you how and why data is so important to the future of the logistics and supply chain industry, as well as the growing power of automation technology.

4. Supply Chain Management: Strategy, Planning, and Operation by Sunil Chopra

Considered one of the most useful books in academic circles, this latest edition outlines the pitfalls that poor logistics and supply chain management can fall into, and the successes that proper management can deliver. A combination of real-world examples and theoretical background perfectly supplement each other in an informative and highly relevant manner, bringing together some of the best thinkers and doers from the sector.

Covering a broad spectrum of topics, the book details how facilities, inventory, transportation, information, sourcing, and protection can drive improvements in supply chain management and offers industry leading guidance on how to implement a range of successful strategies.

5. Ninety Percent of Everything: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry That Puts Clothes on Your Back, Gas in Your Car, and Food on Your Plate by Rose George

Based on the author’s experience of travelling on a cargo ship, this book takes a deep dive into the day-to-day practicalities of global logistics services at sea, providing the perfect context for anyone involved in the global supply chain industry. A sharply written account of life at sea, George also details how dependant the world is on cargo shipping, as well as the shortcomings of the industry.

An essential read for anyone interested in how the modern world works, and jammed full of character to supplement a professional’s understanding of the industry, this book is a wonderful exploration of the logistics and supply chain landscape.

6. Automation and the Future of Work by Aaron Benananv

The benefits of automation and digital transformation for supply chain and logistics companies is well noted, but understanding the context of this technological revolution can help turn this potential value into reality.

Beneanav’s study of a future world where automation is abundant, explores the possibilities and problems that might lie just beyond the horizon, and assesses the impact of such developments on people everywhere. It is not specifically a book about supply chains, yet gaining an understanding of the wider world of automation will prove to be invaluable for developing and realising effective strategies for the future.

7. The Supply Chain Revolution by Suman Sarkar

Sarkar’s exploration of the benefits of an efficient and reliable supply chain should resonate with any business owner, while the lessons offered by the book act as a case study for industry professionals about what today’s customers are increasingly asking for.

Sarkar does not underestimate the power of innovation for supply chain companies, exploring how technology shapes the challenges, opportunities and risks within the industry, combining theory with real life examples.

8. The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape our Future by Kevin Kelly

Technological advancement is perpetually reshaping the logistics and supply chain industry, helping us to better understand the challenges we face, and the opportunities that will arise. Kelly creates an optimistic technological landscape of the future, where opportunities are abundant, and how - by embracing them, people can achieve great things while maintaining an understanding of technology’s role in the world, as well as for international logistics management companies.

The idea that intelligence will flow seamlessly across the world is not new, yet Kelly’s vision of what it will actually look like creates a profound impression of our shared future. An absolute must-read for anyone in the logistics industry, Kelly’s lessons on innovation, and how to embrace it, spells out some of the key opportunities the supply chain industry can take advantage of in the coming decades.

9. Culture Map: Decoding How People Think, Lead and Get Things Done Across Cultures by Erin Myer

Our global working habits have changed more over the past year more than anyone could anticipate, and the lessons on offer in Meyer’s exploration of global trade can help us better understand how we can take advantage of these trends.

Logistics is a global business, with people from all over the world working together. Yet pitfalls exist and understanding the role culture plays in global trade can help you to navigate difficult and often hard-to-predict scenarios.

Any kind of resource than can help a logistics or supply chain company avoid disruption will prove to be extremely valuable, especially in these uncertain times.

10. Supply Chain Analytics and Modelling: Quantitative Tools and Applications by Nicoleta Tipi

If any of the previous books on digital transformation have piqued your interest, then learning how to truly implement an analytical approach to supply chain management will also help you achieve your future ambitions. Through the analysis of complex and rapidly changing supply chains, Tipi teaches the true value of data and information, and how it can be applied to create more resilient and reliable supply chains through effective decision making.

Bringing together valuable perspectives on the theoretical and practical applications of supply chain analytics, this book provides expertise on an increasingly important aspect of the logistics industry.

If you want to keep driving progress in your industry, you’ve got to keep working to educate yourself. So, while you’re reading these great books, if it helps, feel free to check out SeaRates’ free and extensive freight, shipping & chartering glossary.

Lilia Khovrak is a professional content manager from Odessa, Ukraine. Loves life by the sea. Dreams to see Paris and eat a croissant on the thresholds of Notre Dame de Paris. Hates to read meaningless articles.