Logistics – Definition

Cite this article as:"Logistics – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated May 30, 2019, last accessed October 29, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/logistics-definition/.


Logistics Definition

Logistics refer to how a company manages and structurally organizes the procurement, storage and transportation of resources (goods and services) from one point to another. Logistics is described as the entire process that entails how goods are procured from an initial point, stored (if need be) and then transported to their final destination.

Logistics refers to the management of how resources; goods and services move from one point to the point when they reach the consumers which is the final destination. This type of management therefore requires that suppliers and distributors are identified and all monitored so as to aid the free movement of resources from their initial point to the final point.

A Little More on What is Logistics

Logistics describes the movement of flow of goods and services in the supply chain. Logisticians are logistic managers, they are the ones that supervise or oversee the procurement, storage and transportation of resources, they have underlings who work with them to achieve this.

Originally, logistics is a term used to describe how military personnel obtain, store and transport resources such as equipment and supplies to meet specific needs. Over time, the usage of the term ‘Logistics’ had expanded to many industries and business sectors. In fact, almost every industry or business has a logistics department headed by a qualified logistician.

Understanding Logistics

Accuracy and effectiveness are essential qualities of a good logistics management. Accuracy refers to the ability of a logisticians the logistic department to identify the amount of resources needed per time, and getting the resources at the right time. Also, getting the right facility to store the procured resources is vital, so also is transporting them to where they are needed at the right time and this is where effectiveness comes to play.

Proper logistics aid adequate movement of goods and services along the supply chain. When there is an effective logistics procedure, needs of customers are met efficiently but improper logistics lead to failures and inability to meet deliveries.

The Transformation of Logistics

Due to the evolving nature of diverse industries, a lot of transformation has occurred to the usage of the term ‘Logistics’. The needs of clients have become enormous, hence, logistics procedure should be transformed to suit this demand.

Business logistics was transformed as far back as the 1960s, due to the global expansion of supply chains. The service of professionals and experts were required and the enrolled the logisticians, unlike the traditional practice where anyone can head a logistics unit.

In recent times however, the influence of technology has brought a great transformation to logistics. There are logistics management software and help firms effectively manage their procurement, storage and transportation processes. Although, some firms can still choose to employ the service of specialists.

Primary Functions of a Logistician

Primarily, the function of a logistician is to oversee the procurement, storage and transportation of resources for a business. However, the functions of a logistician is dependent on the type of business the firm is into. For instance, a logistician for an accounting firm will perform different functions from that of a polythene company. Whichever the case is, a logistician is essentially responsible for the management of a company’s inventory and how they are moved to the appropriate clients. This also includes coordination of the processes involved in procurement and transportation of resources.

References for Logistics

Academic Research on Logistics

Quantitative models for reverse logistics: A review, Fleischmann, M., Bloemhof-Ruwaard, J. M., Dekker, R., Van der Laan, E., Van Nunen, J. A., & Van Wassenhove, L. N. (1997). European journal of operational research, 103(1), 1-17.

Contemporary logistics, Murphy, P. R., & Knemeyer, A. M. (2018).

Environmentally responsible logistics systems, Wu, H. J., & Dunn, S. C. (1995). International journal of physical distribution & logistics management, 25(2), 20-38.

Logistics and Supply Chain Management: Strategies for Reducing Cost and Improving Service (Second Edition) Financial Times : Pitman Publishing. London, 1998 …, Christopher, M. (1999). London, 1998 ISBN 0 273 63049 0 (hardback) 294+ 1× pp.

Tailored logistics: the next advantage., Fuller, J. B., O’Conor, J., & Rawlinson, R. (1993). Harvard Business Review, 71(3), 87-98.

An examination of reverse logistics practices, Rogers, D. S., & Tibben‐Lembke, R. (2001). Journal of business logistics, 22(2), 129-148.

Humanitarian logistics in disaster relief operations, Kovács, G., & Spens, K. M. (2007). International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 37(2), 99-114.

Developing a theory of reverse logistics, Dowlatshahi, S. (2000). Interfaces, 30(3), 143-155.

Building successful logistics partnerships, Lambert, D. M., Emmelhainz, M. A., & Gardner, J. T. (1999). Journal of business logistics, 20(1), 165.

Emergency logistics planning in natural disasters, Özdamar, L., Ekinci, E., & Küçükyazici, B. (2004). Annals of operations research, 129(1-4), 217-245.

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