The Definition of Logistics
Logistics is the management of the flow of resources between an origin point and a consumption point. The resources can include any material objects like food or staff, or can include immaterial objects like time.
In its simplest essence, logistics is the tracking and distribution of physical or abstract inventory with the end goal of maximized efficacy and efficiency.
The History of Logistics
For as long as human beings have had the need for a military, logistics has been around. The coordination of weapons, ammunition, and rations amongst a massive number of soldiers required some system to make sure everything ran smoothly. The ancient Greeks and Romans even had soldiers whose specific job was to be in charge of logistics.
The modern English term “Logistics” was formed in the late 1800s from the French word “logistique”, meaning “to lodge”.
The Types of Logistics
Business logistics is all about the old phrase “having the right item in the right quantity at the right time at the right place for the right price in the right condition to the right customer”. You need to manage the supply chain to make sure everything is as efficient and effective as possible.
In the simplest terms possible, military logistics is managing how and when to move resources to the locations they are needed. If your army needs guns, you need to figure out how to get them guns as quickly and effectively as possible.
Military logistics doesn’t just mean ensuring your supply chain is maintained, but also entails finding ways to disrupt your enemy’s supply chain. Cut off your enemy’s resources and they won’t be able to fight any longer.
Much like business and military logistics, emergency logistics involve getting inventory moved, but very quickly. Recent examples include something as simple as a delayed flight or disaster relief after Hurricane Katrina or the tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon.
Believe it or not, there are actually four museums in the world dedicated specifically to logistics: