The term logistics derives from an ancient French military term for soldiers’ barracks or quarters, loger. Interestingly, the early supply arm of the military was known as Quartermasters, a group markedly inefficient during Napoleon Bonaparte's historic march to Moscow, during which the lack of an effective supply management process resulted in the loss of an entire army. Barely 5,000 of the original force of over 500,000 returned home; starvation and cold resulting from the inability to properly supply the army accounted for the majority of the losses.
In the business world, logistics can be equally important and can have the same fatal effects if managed poorly, although the victim is typically the corporate entity rather than its individuals. Today's concept of supply chain management recognizes this importance and seeks to develop effective, efficient processes that focus on controlling the flow of materials from origin to end user. This process is critical to the effectiveness of globalization.
The Logistics Process
In this section, we turn our attention to the multiple aspects of logistics to examine how the discipline affects the commercial organization.
Definitions of Logistics
In today's complex commercial environment, with its ever-expanding global reach and a focus on process integration between business enterprises, it is hardly surprising that definitions associated with the term logistics have likewise evolved. The views of what constitutes the ...