The definition of logistics to be found in any dictionary provides more or less "military branch of science that deals with the procurement, maintenance and transport of materials, personnel and equipment.
A definition of logistics as a discipline taken out of context, the military provides the Council of Logistics Management : "Logistics is the process of planning, Implementing and controlling the efficient, cost-effective flow and storage of raw materials, in-process inventory, finished goods and related information from point of origin to point of Consumption for the purpose of conforming to customer requirements. "
Logistics known in Globalize definition uses "5 important key terms", which are logistics, inbound logistics, materials management, physical distribution and supply chain management to interpret. Logistics describes the entire process of materials and products moving into, through and out of firm. Inbound logistics covers the movement of material received from suppliers. Materials management describes the movement of materials and components within a firm. Physical distribution refers to the movement of goods outward from the end of the assembly line to the customer. Finally, supply chain management is somewhat larger than logistics, and it links logistics more directly with the user’s total communications network and with the firm’s engineering staff.The commonality of the recent definitions is that logistics is a process of moving and handling goods and materials, from the beginning to the end of the production, sale process and waste disposal, to satisfy customers and add business competitiveness. It is "the process of anticipating customer needs and wants; acquiring the capital, materials, people, technologies, and information necessary to meet those needs and wants; optimizing the goods or service-producing network to fulfil customer requests; and utilizing the network to fulfil customer requests in a timely way". Simply to say, "logistics is customer-oriented operation management".
This second definition has two drawbacks:
1. It gives the impression that the rules concern only the movement of physical entities. Indeed, even service companies may find themselves having to deal with logistics problems.
2. The second point concerns the fact that this definition implies a significant involvement of the logistics function also in the production process in the company. Indeed, aspects such as monitoring the levels of WIP, the scheduling of production resources, quality control ... go beyond the proper functions of logistics.