In general, logistics refers to the meticulous planning and execution of a complicated task. In a broad sense, logistics is the management of the movement of goods from their place of origin to their site of consumption in order to satisfy the needs of clients or businesses. In logistics, resources can be managed in the form of consumables like food and other consumables as well as physical assets like materials, equipment, and supplies.

A military force without supplies and transportation is vulnerable, hence logistics in military science is concerned with preserving army supply lines while sabotaging those of the adversary. Since the modern military has a considerable demand for logistics solutions, sophisticated implementations have been created. Military logistics was previously used in the ancient world.

Officers in charge of logistics in the military decide when and how to send resources to where they are required.

Planning, implementing, and controlling the efficient, effective forward and reverse flow and storage of goods, services, and related information between the point of origin and point of consumption to satisfy customer needs is the responsibility of logistics management, which is a subset of supply chain management and supply chain engineering. Dedicated simulation software can model, evaluate, visualize, and optimize the complexity of logistics. A common objective in all logistics disciplines is to minimize the utilization of resources. A logistician is a specialist who works in the area of logistics management.


Logistics is described as “the field of military science concerned with obtaining, maintaining and conveying supplies, troops and facilities” in the Oxford English Dictionary. However, the Oxford Dictionary online and the New Oxford American Dictionary both describe logistics as “the thorough planning and implementation of a large operation” and “the coordination of a complex activity involving numerous personnel, facilities, or supplies,” respectively. As a result, logistics is sometimes viewed as an engineering discipline that develops “human systems” as opposed to “machine systems”.

Logistics, which includes inbound, outbound, internal, and external movement, is the process of planning, implementing, and controlling procedures for the efficient and effective transportation and storage of goods, including services, and related information from the point of origin to the point of consumption with the goal of conforming to customer requirements, according to the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (previously the Council of Logistics Management).

Fields and operations of logistics

Inbound Logistics: One of the main functions of logistics is inbound logistics, which focuses on procuring and planning the inbound transportation of raw materials, components, or unfinished goods from suppliers to factories, warehouses, or retail establishments.

Outbound Logistics: The process of storing, transporting, and transferring information from the end of the manufacturing line to the final consumer is known as outbound logistics.

The primary areas of logistics may be split down into the following categories based on the services that logisticians provide:

  • Procurement logistics
  • Distribution logistics
  • After-sales logistics
  • Disposal logistics
  • Reverse logistics
  • Green logistics
  • Global Logistics
  • Domestics logistics
  • Concierge service
  • Reliability, availability, and maintainability
  • Asset control logistics
  • Point-of-sale material logistics
  • Emergency logistics
  • Production logistics
  • Construction logistics
  • Capital project logistics
  • Digital logistics
  • Humanitarian logistics

Procurement logistics: Market analysis, needs planning, make-or-buy choices, supplier management, ordering, and order managing are a few of the tasks that make up procurement logistics. The goals of procurement logistics may be in conflict, such as optimizing efficiency while focusing on core competencies, outsourcing while preserving corporate autonomy, or decreasing procurement expenses while enhancing supply chain security.

Advance Logistics: Advance logistics refers to the procedures necessary to organize or create a schedule for logistics operations.

Global Logistics: Technically speaking, global logistics is the act of controlling the “flow” of commodities via a supply chain from their point of production to other locations on the planet. This frequently calls for a multimodal transportation system, including transportation by truck, rail, and water. The Logistics Performance Index assesses the efficiency of global logistics.

Distribution logistics: Delivering completed goods to customers is one of the key duties of distribution logistics. It comprises shipping, warehousing, and order processing. Logistics for distribution are required since the production’s timing, location, and output differ from its consumption’s timing, location, and output.

Disposal logistics: Reducing logistics costs and improving services associated with the disposal of garbage generated during business operations are the primary goals of disposal logistics.

Reverse logistics: All the procedures involving the recycling of goods and resources are referred to as reverse logistics. The management and sale of excess inventory as well as the return of goods from customers to suppliers are all included in the reverse logistics process. All processes involving the recycling of goods and materials fall under the category of reverse logistics. It is “the method of organizing, carrying out, and managing the cost-effective flow of raw materials, inventories used during production, completed items, and associated data from the point of consumption to the point of origin in order to recover value or dispose of the resources properly. In order to capture value or dispose of products properly, goods are moved from their usual end destination through the process of reverse logistics. Forward logistics is the antithesis of reverse logistics.”

Green Logistics: Green logistics refers to all initiatives made to gauge and lessen the environmental effect of logistics operations. All actions of the forward and reverse flows are included in this. Intermodal freight transportation, route optimization, vehicle saturation, and city logistics can all help with this.

RAM Logistics: Due to its focus on very complex technical systems, such as weapon systems and military supercomputers, for which Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability are crucial, RAM Logistics (also known as logistic engineering) integrates both corporate logistics and military logistics.

Supply chain management and logistics difference

An essential element of supply chain management is logistics management (SCM). Although the phrases are frequently used interchangeably, logistics is the study of how best to move goods and commodities. In contrast, supply chain management (SCM) includes a considerably wider range of supply chain planning (SCP) activities than supply chain execution (SCE), which includes strategic sourcing and transportation management.

The logistics of items entering or leaving a facility are sometimes referred to as inbound and outbound, respectively. Reverse logistics, or the logistical procedures required to return a product for service, refurbishment, decommissioning, and recycling, is a crucial area.

Supply Chain Management: What Is It?

The processes used to produce completed items from raw materials and deliver them to the client are referred to as supply chain management. SCM also emphasizes streamlining supply chain operations, which may be advantageous to clients and business partners.

Only when a firm has insight into every aspect of its supply chain can it optimize and continually improve SCM. Companies can follow goods and services as they pass through each stage of the supply chain thanks to this visibility, which makes it much simpler to determine whether everything is going according to plan. Additionally, it offers decision-makers more time to react to hiccups or other obstacles.

SCM entails managing a frequently sizable network of suppliers, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, manufacturers, and sub-suppliers (such as raw material suppliers). The connections between these numerous supply chain players differ. They can be horizontal, when a firm merges with or buys a similar business that operates at the same level of the supply chain, or vertical, such as between components and materials suppliers, manufacturers, and merchants.

Let’s take an example of a producer of household cleaning goods to show how supply chain management functions. The corporation procures the necessary chemicals and containers from suppliers as part of the SCM function, manufactures the final product, and then distributes the completed items to supermarkets, drugstores, and convenience shops.

Every step in the transit of these items is covered by supply chain management.

Enterprise logistics

The phrase “having the right thing in the right quantity at the right time at the right place for the right price in the right condition to the right client” appears in one definition of business logistics.

The complexity of supplying firms with resources and shipping out goods in an increasingly globalised supply chain has led to a demand for specialists known as “supply chain logisticians,” and the phrase “business logistics” has emerged since the 1960s[19].

In business, logistics can focus on either the internal flow of materials from the point of origin to the point of consumption (inbound logistics) or the external movement of materials from the point of origin to the point of consumption (outbound logistics) (see supply-chain management).

There are two types of logistics, each of which serves a fundamentally different purpose: one organises a series of resources to complete a project, while the other optimises a steady flow of materials across a network of transit links and storage nodes (e.g., restructuring a warehouse).

Logistics automation

Automation of logistics refers to the use of computer software or automated equipment to boost the effectiveness of logistical operations. Typically, this relates to activities carried out inside a warehouse or distribution center, whereas supply chain engineering systems and enterprise resource planning systems handle more extensive jobs.

Typically, industrial machinery can identify items using RFID or barcode technology. Traditional bar codes carry information as a series of varying-width black and white bars, which, when scanned by a laser, are translated into a digital sequence that, in accordance with predetermined principles, can be turned into a decimal number or other data. Radiofrequency transfer of data in a bar code is occasionally possible; RFID tags commonly employ radio transmission. An RFID tag is a card with an antenna and memory chip that sends signals to a reader. RFID may also be found on goods, animals, cars, and humans.

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