According to Council of logistics management: “Logistics is the process of planning, implementing and controlling the efficient, effective flow and storage of goods, services and related information from point of origin to point of consumption for the purpose of conforming the customer requirement”.
This definition clearly points out the inherent nature of logistics and it conveys that Logistics is concerned with getting products and services where they are needed whenever they are desired. In trade Logistics has been performed since the beginning of civilization: it’s hardly new. However implementing best practice of logistics has become one of the most exciting and challenging operational areas of business and public sector management. Logistics is unique, it never stops! Logistics is happening around the globe 24 hours a day’s Seven days a week during fifty-two weeks a year. Few areas of business involve the complexity or span the geography typical of logistics.
Word, ’Logistics’ is derived from French word ‘loger’, which means art of war pertaining to movement and supply of armies. Basically a military concept, it is now commonly applied to marketing management. Fighting a war requires the setting of an object, and to achieve this objective meticulous planning is needed so that the troops are properly deployed and the supply line consisting, interalia, weaponary, food, medical assistance, etc. is maintained. Similarly, the plan should be each that there is a minimum loss of men and material while, at the same time, it is capable of being altered if the need arises. As in the case of fighting a war in the battle-field, the marketing managers also need a suitable logistics plan that is capable of satisfying the company objective of meeting profitably the demand of the targeted customers.
From the point of view of management, marketing logistics or physical distribution has been described as ‘planning, implementing and controlling the process of physical flows of materials and final products from the point of origin to the point of use in order to meet customer’s needs at a profit. As a concept it means the art of managing the flow of raw materials and finished goods from the source of supply to their users. In other words, primarily it involves efficient management of goods from the end of product line to the consumers and in some cases, include the movement of raw materials from the source of supply to the beginning of the production line. These activities include transportation, warehousing, inventory control, order processing and information monitoring. These activities are considered primary to the effective management of logistics because they either contribute most to the total cost of logistics or they are essential to effective completion of the logistics task. However, the firms must carry out these activities as essential part of providing customer with the goods and services they desire.