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History & Evolution of Logistics Management

The following information can help to get the idea of the History and Evolution of Logistics management. Here we are describing the evolution of the function of Logistics management over the years along with the other disciplines such as Supply Chain Management and Materials Management.

The history of logistics management is really really exciting and useful for students of management studies including but not limited to MBA, MMS, PGDM, BBA, BCom, Mcom, Engineering management and Computer applications.

Origin of the Word Logistics

  • Etymology: Logistics = Logic + Statics
  • Language: Latin

The Inception: Evolution of logistics Until 1950

Importance of logistics increased after World War II (WW-II)

Earlier logistics was a military application (Before 1950s)

  • More systematized Movement and Storage Systems for firm-level Decision Making
  • Physical Distribution Management
  • Outbound logistics activities

Military was using this term for three important things:

  1. Procurement
  2. Maintenance
  3. Transportation

Three things were involved in the logistics of military:

  • Facilities
  • Materials
  • Personnel (HR)

Other key points

  • Logistics was not included in the education courses and syllabus
  • Lack of integration

The emergence of Logistics: Evolution of logistics after the 1960s

Logistics & Education

  • The first college course related to logistics management: Michigan State University
  • Also, the first textbook content related to logistics: Smykay

Business Logistics

  • The focus was on outbound logistics
  • Physical distribution renamed as business logistics

Logistical Challenges

  • High cost from 14% to 32%

Logistics In the 1970s

  • Physical Distribution + Some part of Financial subsystem
  • Monitoring and Planning for efficient completion of the cash cycle after product despatches

Started recognizing the benefit of proactively examining inbound logistics and co-ordination between Inbound and outbound logistics for efficient use of Physical infrastructure

The 1990s: Globalization Era & Evolution of Logistics Management


  • Wave of Globalization
  • The increased flow of export and import
  • So Transportation became an important and crucial part of the business to gain competitive advantage

Problem: Business failure if failed to manage transportation

Solution: To overcome this situation, businesses started using logistics management widely and deeply (deep integration with core functions of businesses).

Impact: Observed more than 20% growth (per annum) in logistics management

Logistics Management Today

  • Transformation: Currently Supply Chain Management is practised as logistics management
  • Logistics as a subset: Logistics is observed as a subset of supply chain management
  • Limited Scope: Logistics has a limited scope withing a firm’s boundaries

This is all about history and evolution of logistics management along with supply chain management.

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