Logistics is a part of supply chain management that deals with the efficient forward and reverse flow of goods, services, and related information from the point of origin to the point of consumption according to the needs of customers. Logistics management is a component that holds the supply chain together. The resources managed in logistics may include tangible goods such as materials, equipment, and supplies, as well as food and other consumable items.
In military logistics, it is concerned with maintaining army supply lines with food, armaments, ammunitions, and spare parts apart from the transportation of troops themselves. Meanwhile, civil logistics deals with the acquisition, movement, and storage of raw materials, semi-finished goods, and finished goods. For organisations that provide services such as garbage collection, mail deliveries, public utilities, and after-sales services, logistical problems also need to be addressed.
Logistics deals with movements of materials or products from one facility to another (e.g. from the production facility to assembly plants to distribution centers); it does not deal with the material flow within the production or assembly plants (e.g. production planning or single-machine scheduling). Logistics occupies a significant amount of the operational cost of an organisation or country. For example, logistical costs of organizations in the United States incurred about 11% of United States national gross domestic product (GDP) in 1997. Such a situation is also similar for the countries in the European Union (EU) where logistics incurred 8.8 to 11.4% of the national GDP in 1993.
The complexity of logistics can be modeled, analyzed, visualized, and optimized by dedicated simulation software. The minimization of the use of resources is a common motivation in all logistics fields. A professional working in the field of logistics management is called a logistician.