Logistics management and the supply chain
The integrated planning, organization, management, processing and control of the entire flow of materials and goods and the corresponding information flow is called logistics management. This is not a tangible work step, but rather countless process chains within a supply chain – including supply chain management.
Logistics has become a highly complex subject area, not only due to globalisation and the possibilities of digitalisation (see also the history of logistics). It encompasses the organisation, control, provision and optimisation of all processes of the flow of goods, information, energy, money and people along the value-added and supply chain and therefore does not represent a delimited part of the economy, but an indispensable factor for economic success. Logistics management is constantly faced with new (acute, medium and long-term) challenges in order to constantly find optimal solutions.
Logistics management and the sub-disciplines
A first rough classification is made by better distinguishing intralogistics, which describes the internal flow of materials, from the transport industry and freight traffic. Further classifications relate to specific subject areas, from which the following sub-disciplines can be derived:
- Distribution logistics (see also Vogelsche approximation method)
- Production Logistics
- Procurement logistics
- Waste disposal logistics (see reverse logistics)
Logistics management as an interdisciplinary field
Logisticians must, therefore, be as familiar with production processes as they are with the goods and supply chains themselves. They form the interface between internal and external flows of goods and information. For the demanding task of ensuring that the right goods and information (intralogistics) are available at the right time at the right place in the right quality and quantity; including a high level of efficiency, interdisciplinary knowledge is required. These different and complementary subject areas include logistics areas such as warehouse and inventory management, supply chain management, production logistics, value-added processes, distribution logistics and procurement controlling. In addition, business management fields also play an important role, such as micro and macro economics, accounting, project and quality management.
In the era of digitalization, the technical and mathematical aspects are becoming increasingly important. The control of information flows associated with the flow of materials is becoming more and more relevant and will continue to increase due to the Internet of Things, IoT for short. Therefore, appropriate know-how in the following areas is equally important: information technology, material flow technology, control and measurement technology, statistics and business mathematics as well as technology management for logistics processes. As in all areas of management, strategy and organization are also central fields of action in logistics management.
Editor’s note: Accordingly, courses of study in logistics/logistics management can have very different focuses; either strongly interdisciplinary, focused on business management or on technical aspects.
Summary – Logistics Management
Logistics management comprises numerous entrepreneurial and economic areas and usually has interdisciplinary contents. The overall aim is to plan, organize, control and handle the flow of materials and goods in all relevant aspects and to monitor it at all times. The associated information flows are therefore becoming increasingly important.
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