Definition of logistics
- the logistics of a political campaign
Logistics follows the same pattern of other plural nouns—such as ballistics, linguistics, statistics, or physics—that represent fields of study and take either a singular or plural verb.
Logic, used strictly in the singular, is a science that deals with the formal principles of reason. If a visitor walks in the house with wet hair, it is logical for one to assume that it is raining outside. Logistics, which involves such concerns as the delivery of personnel or supplies in an efficient manner, can often employ logic, such as by reasoning out the path least likely to interrupt the flow of a delivery:
As with many other areas of the economy, the digital revolution is having a profound effect on delivery logistics. The combination of mobile computing, analytics, and cloud services, all of which are fueled by the Internet of Things (IoT), is changing how delivery and fulfillment companies are conducting their operations.
—Andrew Meola, Business Insider, 14 Oct. 2016
Both logic and logistics ultimately derive from the Greek logos, meaning "reason." But while logic derives directly from Greek, logistics took a longer route, first passing into French as logistique, meaning "art of calculating," and then into English from there.
First Known Use: circa 1861See Words from the same year
Logistics involves the integration of the production and delivery of a product or service in order to ensure efficient and effective management. Originally, logistics was used in the military to coordinate the delivery of soldiers and weapons to the right place at the right time. The critical nature of the place and timing in war required special integration and precision.
Logistics consists of identifying the steps in a production value chain, ensuring just in time (JIT) delivery of the inputs for an assembly process, coordinating the flow of information, and the scheduling of delivery. As the diagram shows, logistics manages the flow from supplier to customer in order to ensure that supply and product inventory is not accumulated or wasted. An efficient production and delivery process prevents the tying up or loss of valuable capital.
While logistics is a process used by many companies (made famous by Walmart, for example), it is used increasingly as a business model by various warehouse and distribution companies (such as UPS and Fedex).
Logistics manages the flow of supplies to match the needs of the producer with the schedule of sales to customers. Logistics coordinates the flow of information, providing feedback about sales, financing when due, and the delivery of product from various suppliers. With the increase in global sources of suppliers as well as global consumer markets, the use of logistics to coordinate production and distribution is growing in importance.
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