Logistics is the art and science of managing and controlling the flow of goods, energy, information and other resources like products, services, and people, from the source of production to the marketplace. It is difficult or nearly impossible to accomplish any international trading, global export/import processes, international repositioning of raw materials/products and manufacturing without a professional logistical support. It involves the integration of information, transportation, inventory, warehousing, material handling, and packaging. The operating responsibility of logistics is the geographical repositioning of raw materials, work in process, and finished inventories where required at the lowest cost possible.Logistics and Supply Chain services are provided by a wide range of 3rd party suppliers.
Origins and Definition
The word of logistics originates from the ancient Greek logos (λ?γος), which means “ratio, word, calculation, reason, speech, oration”.Logistics is an idea considered to have transformed from the military's need to supply themselves 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 (by The Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport) (CILT), EJLog/ESLog/EMLog (by European Logistics Association) (ELA), 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.
In military logistics, experts 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 food, fuel and ammunition 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.
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 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.
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.
The importance of 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. One of the major provider of production logistics solutions is Flex Link.