Types of logistics: from military to business logistics

Apr 1 09:14 2011 Michele De Capitani Print This Article

The term “logistics” is used in many fields. This is a general term that gets different connotations according to the context in which it is used.


Normal 0 14 false false false IT X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Tabella normale"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0cm; mso-para-margin-right:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0cm; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri",Guest Posting"sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} Nowadays the term “logistics” is used a lot, as far as both business and military fields are concerned. The term “logistics” can be applied to many different fields, and this is why it might be difficult to define it in an unambiguous, clear and exhaustive way. In order to better understand the meaning of this word, it might be useful to start from its etymology.


The origin of the term “logistics” is to be found in the Greek language: this word, indeed, comes from “lógos”, which means “speech” but also “order”, and from this Greek word also other terms that we still use derive: logic, for example, which stands for the capacity of giving an order to ideas in a coherent and rigorous way. This idea of order is to be found also in the term “logistics”, which can generally be defined as the organization of a collective activity or as the disposition of people and things in a rational an orderly way. More specific definitions can be given depending on the context where the word is used.


Although the first field that most people associate to the term “logistics” is the business one, the term was used for the first time in the military sector, and the concept of military logistics still exist. In this context logistics can be defined as the specific sector of military art concerning the systems and means used to move an army and give soldiers all they need to survive, so that they are in the best possible conditions to fight and achieve specific objectives. The need for using logistics in the military field was evident in ancient times already: Julius Caesar, for example, invented the role of “logista”, a person who was in charge of organizing supplies for troops, and without a logistics system many of the conquests that were carried out in ancient times would not have been possible. Military logistics turned out to be essential also in many other occasions through history, just think about the Second World War and some complex operations like the Normandy Landings.


The concept of logistics has been used for centuries in the military sector, but the term began to be used also in other sectors only recently. After World War II the term logistics began to be used also in business and industrial fields, and nowadays there are various types of logistics, from bulk logistics, concerning the handling of large quantities of raw materials, to project logistics, which concerns the design of complex systems such as major public works and infrastructures, from Ram logistics, which is essential for the management of high technology products, to reverse logistics, which includes all those operations that are needed to restore value to those products that have completed their life cycle.


Business logistics can be defined as the activity that in a company is essential for the organization and the management of products, from the sources of supply to their delivery. The concept of “logistics” has changed through time, and while in the Fifties and in the Sixties the term only stood for the distribution of finished products, now it includes a much wider group of activities, which need more and more sophisticated and specific instruments.






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Michele De Capitani
Michele De Capitani

This article was written by Francesca Tessarollo with help from radiofrequenza magazzino. For more information, please visit dimensionamento magazzino or ristrutturazione magazzino.

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