The term logistics stands for the planning, control and monitoring of the material and immaterial flow of goods within a company, between partner companies and between suppliers and end customers.

Strategic and therefore professional logistics originated in the military strategy of the Roman Legion. At that time, the availability of war material in sufficient quantities had to be ensured. From the very beginning of its existence, the supply of materials was able to transport goods all over the globe and to procure required goods worldwide. Modern logistics is still based on a so-called simplification based on the “6R´s“.

The “6R´s” of logistics describe one of the objectives of logistics as the delivery of

  • the right goods,
  • to the right time,
  • the right composition
  • and the right quality
  • for the right price,
  • in the right place.

The basic idea of the so-called supply chain is decisive for today’s networked and global orientation of materials management. It stands for process-oriented materials management that covers the entire supply chain from demand to production and logistics – including standardized information management.

What is new about today’s logistics, apart from the term, are the multitude of technical solutions, the higher speeds, the larger capacities (transport and storage) as well as the increasing networking. Also, there are many possibilities for action resulting from control technology, telecommunications and information technology.

Timm Gudehus, Logistik, Page 1, 3. Issue, Springer

Nowadays, internal and economic aspects, as well as social needs, have been added, which are driving the constant change of the material flow. Order processing, especially in production and at the end customer, has adapted to requirements and technical developments. Although an ordered quantity is still delivered to a pre-determined location, the time of delivery can now be determined to the minute. Production is referred to as just-in-time. In the consumer sector, on the other hand, the exact delivery date is not yet offered across the board. There, however, services such as Same Day Delivery or Same Hour Delivery (delivery within an urban area) are established as a standard. In both cases, the condition of the goods and the costs for the entire service are relevant for the recipient or business customer. The concept is often referred to as Perfect Order Fulfillment.

Logistics will continue to be one of the most critical drivers of the global economy in the future. Digitalisation, mechanisation, robotics and the details of information will give a further boost to the future flow of materials, whether in intralogistics or logistics in general.

For further information on the topic, see the articles “What can logistics do?” and Reverse logistics.

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