AskDefine | Define logistics

Dictionary Definition

logistics n : handling an operation that involves providing labor and materials be supplied as needed

User Contributed Dictionary



From the ancient Greek logos (λόγος), which means “ratio, word, calculation, reason, speech, oration” + Greek suffix -istikos (ιστικός).


  1. The process of planning, implementing, and controlling the efficient, effective flow and storage of goods, services and related information from their point of origin to point of consumption for the purpose of conforming to customer requirements.
  2. The procurement, supply, maintenance, and transportation of equipment, facilities, and personnel.
  3. Plural of logistic


civil planning
military planning


  • Council of Logistics Management, USA in 1991

Extensive Definition

Logistics is the management of the flow of goods, information and other resources, including energy and people, between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet the requirements of consumers (frequently, and originally, military organizations). Logistics involve the integration of information, transportation, inventory, warehousing, material-handling, and packaging.

Origins and definition

The term "logistics" originates from the ancient Greek "λόγος" ("logos"—"ratio, word, calculation, reason, speech, oration").
Logistics is considered to have originated in the military's need to supply themselves with arms, ammunition and rations as they moved from their base to a forward position. In ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine empires, there were military officers with the title ‘Logistikas’ who were responsible for financial and supply distribution matters.
The Oxford English dictionary defines logistics as: “The branch of military science having to do with procuring, maintaining and transporting material, personnel and facilities.”Another dictionary definition is: "The time related positioning of resources." As such, logistics is commonly seen as a branch of engineering which creates "people systems" rather than "machine systems"....


Logistician is the profession in the logistics & transport sectors, including sea, air, land and rail modes. Professional qualifications for the logisticians can carry post-nominal letters. Common examples include FCILT/CMILT/MILT (by The Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport) (CILT), EJLog/ESLog/EMLog (by European Logistics Association) (ELA), PLog (by Canadian Professional Logistics Institute), CML/CPL (by International Society of Logistics) (SOLE), JrLog/Log/SrLog (by China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing) (CFLP), FHKLA/MHKLA (by Hong Kong Logistics Association) (HKLA), PLS/CTL/DLP (by American Society of Transportation & Logistics) (AST&L). However, some universities and academic institutions do help in producing logisticians, by offering academic degree programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, too.

Military logistics

In military logistics, logistics officers manage how and when to move resources to the places they are needed. In military science, maintaining one's supply lines while disrupting those of the enemy is a crucial—some would say the most crucial—element of military strategy, since an armed force without resources and transportation is defenseless.
The defeat of the British in the American War of Independence, and the defeat of Erwin Rommel in World War II, have been largely attributed to logistical failure. The historical leaders Hannibal Barca, Alexander the Great and the Duke of Wellington are considered to have been logistical geniuses.
Another field within logistics is called Medical logistics.

Logistics management

Logistics management is that part of the supply chain which plans, implements and controls the efficient, effective forward and reverse flow and storage of goods, services and related information between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet customers' requirements. A professional working in the field of logistics management is called a logistician.
The Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport (CILT) was established in the United Kingdom in 1919 and was granted the Royal Charter in 1926. The Chartered Institute is one of professional bodies or institutions for the logistics & transport sectors, that offers such professional qualification or degree in logistics management.

Logistics Management Software

Software is used for logistics automation which helps the supply chain industry in automating the work flow as well as management of the system. There are very few generalized software available in the new market in the said topology. This is because there is no rule to generalize the system as well as work flow even though the practice is more or less the same. Most of the commercial companies do use one or the other custom solution.
But there are various software that are being used within the departments of logistics. Few department in Logistics are namely, Conventional Department, Container department, Warehouse, Marine Engineering, Heavy haulage, Etc.
The softwares that are used in these departments are,
Conventional department : CVT software / CTMS software /
Container Trucking: CTMS software /
Warehouse : WMS /

Business logistics

Logistics as a business concept evolved only in the 1950s. This was mainly due to the increasing complexity of supplying one's business with materials and shipping out products in an increasingly globalized supply chain, calling for experts in the field who are called Supply Chain Logisticians. This can be defined as having the right item in the right quantity at the right time at the right place for the right price and is the science of process and incorporates all industry sectors. The goal of logistics work is to manage the fruition of project life cycles, supply chains and resultant efficiencies.
In business, logistics may have either internal focus (inbound logistics), or external focus (outbound logistics) covering the flow and storage of materials from point of origin to point of consumption (see supply chain management). The main functions of a qualified logistician include inventory management, purchasing, transportation, warehousing, consultation and the organizing and planning of these activities. Logisticians combine a professional knowledge of each of these functions so that there is a coordination of resources in an organization. There are two fundamentally different forms of logistics. One optimizes a steady flow of material through a network of transport links and storage nodes. The other coordinates a sequence of resources to carry out some project.

Production logistics

The term is used for describing logistic processes within an industry. The purpose of production logistics is to ensure that each machine and workstation is being fed with the right product in the right quantity and quality at the right point in time.
The issue is not the transportation itself, but to streamline and control the flow through the value adding processes and eliminate non-value adding ones. Production logistics can be applied in existing as well as new plants. Manufacturing in an existing plant is a constantly changing process. Machines are exchanged and new ones added, which gives the opportunity to improve the production logistics system accordingly. Production logistics provides the means to achieve customer response and capital efficiency.
Production logistics is getting more and more important with the decreasing batch sizes. In many industries (e.g. mobile phone) batch size one is the short term aim. This way even a single customer demand can be fulfilled in an efficient way. Track and tracing, which is an essential part of production logistics - due to product safety and product reliability issues - is also gaining importance especially in the automotive and the medical industry.


logistics in Arabic: لوجستية
logistics in Bulgarian: Логистика
logistics in Czech: Logistika
logistics in Danish: Logistik
logistics in German: Logistik
logistics in Estonian: Logistika
logistics in Spanish: Logística
logistics in Esperanto: Loĝistiko
logistics in French: Logistique
logistics in Croatian: Logistika
logistics in Indonesian: Logistik
logistics in Italian: Logistica
logistics in Hebrew: לוגיסטיקה
logistics in Hungarian: Logisztika
logistics in Dutch: Logistiek
logistics in Japanese: 物流
logistics in Norwegian: Logistikk
logistics in Uighur: ماھارەت
logistics in Polish: Logistyka
logistics in Portuguese: Logística
logistics in Russian: Логистика
logistics in Slovak: Logistika (výrobné a obehové procesy)
logistics in Slovenian: Logistika
logistics in Finnish: Logistiikka
logistics in Swedish: Logistik
logistics in Thai: โลจิสติกส์
logistics in Turkish: Lojistik
logistics in Ukrainian: Логістика
logistics in Chinese: 物流

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

accouterment, action, amphibious operations, armament, catering, chandlery, combined operations, dry run, endowment, equipment, finding, fitting out, fluid operations, furnishing, furnishment, investment, maneuver, maneuvers, military operations, minor operations, mission, movement, operation, operations, outfitting, overseas operations, preparation, procurement, providing, provision, provisioning, purveyance, reinforcement, replenishment, resupply, retailing, selling, staff work, subsidization, subsidy, subvention, supply, supplying, victualing, war game, war plans
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