December 15, 2008

#01-196: Reading Boomtown Chronicles 63

wide view of an urban area with bushes in the foreground, over which is written "READING BOOMTOWN CHRONICLES"
Shenzhen, the Boomtown

Note: Between Lesson #01-128 and #01-208, I wrote 72 lessons explaining expressions in articles published in the Shenzhen Daily. Read more about "Reading Boomtown Chronicles."

Get Ready: What sort of person can become the "pillar" of a community, a company, a student body, etc.?

Boomtown Chronicles Part XXIII - published Tuesday, December 9, 2008

  • "Logistics" refers to "the integration of information, transportation, inventory, warehousing, material-handling and packaging."

logistics: the planning, implementation, and coordination of the details of a business operation. This is a fairly recent addition to the business vocabulary. The word itself dates back to the late 19th century, when it referred to moving and supporting military personnel. In fact, the root word is related to "lodge," and meant the housing of troops.

  • Logistics is a "backbone industry."

backbone: the spine; the part of the body that holds you up straight, just as Shenzhen's logistic industries hold up the city's economy.

  • Logistics is "one of the city's 'pillar industries,' together with high-tech and finance."

pillar: an architectural element that holds up a roof, as the spine does the body; again, logistics holds up the economy of Shenzhen.

Grammar point: "logistics" can be used with a singular or a plural verb. If a singular verb is used, it's like an uncountable noun; if a plural, then it seems to have multiple parts. However, there is no singular for this word: you cannot have "a logistic."

There is a word, though, "logistic," but it is an adjective (equal to "logistical"). A "logistic park" is an area that handles materials. If that park is a central location for a web of logistics work, it is a "logistic hub." A "logistic center" is similar to these. There are also "logistic companies" and "logistic firms" that handle logistics. In all of these cases, there could have been an "s": logistics park (as in the article), logistics hub, logistics center, etc.

  • "World leading companies like Wal-Mart, Carrefour, B&Q and Japan's Aeon established procurement centers in Shenzhen."

procurement: the act of obtaining something. A similar word is "sourcing." A procurement (or sourcing) specialist is one who finds a supplier and establishes a business link (negotiating price, arranging contracts, etc.). This would be the step in the supply chain that comes after production and before logistics. The above-named companies have offices, then, that seek out suppliers for goods in the area.


Read more:

Practice: Choose the correct term to fill in the blank in the sentence below:

  1. backbone
  2. logistics
  3. pillar
  4. procurement

  1. If the central ________ of a structure--or an economy--is removed, the whole thing will collapse.
  2. Sometimes when someone is afraid to do something, we tell him or her to "grow a ________"--that is, develop some courage and do what must be done.
  3. Ted was responsible his company's ________ of raw materials for production.
  4. Production and sales are only part of the picture; you cannot expect to make a profit if you haven't mastered the ________ of delivery.

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for December 15, 2008

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