What is Logistics ?


You perhaps have heard the term“Logistics”, but do you really know what is it about? If not, we will show what it is really about

Historical Background

Logistics is as old as the world itself. The word logistics is derived from the Greek word logistikos, which mean to be adept or skilful in calculation. Even though the concept of the calculation of requirements fro support may be connected to the meaning of the word, it s does not provide us with anything more concerning the origin of the world logistics (Delker, 1993)

Since the earliest times, logistics has been associated with supplying masses of people with their needs. One of the first examples of a massive logistics exercise can be found in Exodus 16, where the Lord supplied Isabel with quails and manna the desert. This in itself was not logistical exercise, as it was a Godly act, but is must have a huge logistical exercise to set up camp, provide water, firewood for cooking and heating and to provide waste logistics.

Another role of logistics is in regard the ultimate success of a military campaign is Sun Tzu Wu is The Art of War (500 BC)., Alexander the Great, the Romans, Napoleon and Hitler. Both Napoleon and Hitler failed with their attempts to invade Russia because their supply lines were too long and could easily be disrupted (Gordin, 2001).

In 1990, its perspective spread around the way of distribution of farm products. In the book written by Bowerson (1986), the term logistics associated with the distribution of massive weapon during the World War II or during 1990 for the Persian Gulf War.

As observed above, logistics has been viewed differently. The table below provides a good indication of some of the different ways in which logistics is viewed, illustrating that the viewpoints are based primarily on a functional perspective.

Because logistics has been defined in so many ways, it provides many viewpoints on this. Such a historical complication above, hence impact in different meaning of logistics as well.

Logistics Definitions

As stated above, historical background has the impact greatly on the view of logistics. I can however be stated that the definition can be categorized into majors categories namely those definition related to the military and military operations and those definitions relating to movement of material with the aim of satisfying customer requirements with a business.

Webster Direction Definition (Webster, 1963)
“The procurement, maintenance, and transportation of military material, facilities, and personnel”

Oxford Paperback Dictionary (1979)
“The organization of suppliers and services”

The South African Packet Oxford Dictionary (1987)
“The art of supplying and organizing services and equipments in military organizations”

The Council of Logistics Management
“Logistics is the process of planning, implementing and controlling the efficient, cost-effective flow and storage of raw material, in-process inventory, finished goods and related information from point of origin to point of consumption for the purpose of conforming to customer requirement”

The Society of Logistics Engineering (SOLE)
“The art of science and management, engineering, and technical activities concerned with requirements, design, and supplying and maintain resources to support objectives, plans, and operations.

Christopher (1992)—A Marketing Perspective
“Logistics is the process of strategically managing the acquisition, movement, and storage of material, parts, and finished inventory from suppliers thought the organization and its marking channels, in such a way that current and future profitability in maximized though the cost-effective fulfillment of orders”

Summarization of Logistics Meaning

Based on meaning above, logistics can be categorized in at least two dimensions namely:

  • Logistics Activities related to Military and Military Operations
  • Logistics activities relating to movement of material from point of origin to point of consumption to ensure that proper business can be conducted

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