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Defining logistics

Let’s begin this week by defining what we mean by logistics.

You may be familiar with the term from your previous studies or work experience. In this step, we’ll provide some broad definitions of logistics, before we examine its elements and activities in later steps.

There are multiple definitions of logistics – let’s look at three of these below:

Logistics is related to efficient transferring of goods from the place of their manufacture to the consumption point with least cost and an acceptable service level.

(Rushton et al. 2014: 6)

The management of the flow for goods or raw materials from the origin location to the consumption point is called logistics.

(Grant et al. 2006: 3)

Logistics is the process of planning, implementing and controlling of goods/services with effective storage and transportation from the point of supply to the consumption point to achieve customer requirements.

(Mangan & Lalwani 2016: 9)

From these definitions, the following two main perspectives emerge:

  • Material management: this refers to the raw materials/required parts being handled, used and stored correctly.

  • Physical distribution: this refers to the final product and how this is delivered to retailers or customers properly.

Your task

Find another definition of logistics online. Share this in the comments area and discuss the similarities and differences between your definition and the ones outlined in this step.


Grant, D., Lambert, D., Stock, J., & Ellram, L. (2006). Fundamentals of logistics management. McGraw-Hill.

Mangan, J., & Lalwani, C. (2016). Global logistics and supply chain management (3rd ed.). Wiley.

Rushton, A., Croucher, P., & Baker, P. (2014). The handbook of logistics and distribution management (5th ed.). Kogan Page.

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This article is from the free online course:

Introduction to International Logistics

Coventry University