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History & Academic Definition of Supply Chain and Logistics Management

Every day I read about 30 to 50 articles on supply chain and logistics management, manufacturing industry trends, and manufacturing technology in order to better understand our customers issues as well as potential customers in order to better write helpful content and also reach potential customers in a meaningful way. Having come from the marketing field, and very new to the supply chain and logistics management field, it's vital I feverishly research and study the field so our content resonates with our readers, our customers, those in our industry, and of course potential new customers. I have been researching over the past week the history of supply chain and logistics management, and I came across a fantastic visual representation of that history, via an infographic, from the SupplyChainOpz blog. I really thought it was the best way to share it with our readers, by referencing it below!

Academic Definition of Supply Chain and Logistics Management

Supply Chain Management Definition

According to the  APICS Dictionary, supply chain management (SCM) is defined as the design, planning, execution, control, and monitoring of supply chain activities with the objective of creating net value, building a competitive infrastructure, leveraging worldwide logistics, synchronizing supply with demand, and measuring performance globally. How would YOU define it and does the APICS define this well enough?

Logistics Management Definition

According to Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), logistics management is the part of supply chain management  that plans, implements, and controls the efficient, effective forward and reverse flow and storage of goods, services, and related information between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet customers' requirements. Logistics management activities typically include inbound and outbound transportation management, fleet management, warehousing, materials handling, order fulfillment, logistics network design, inventory management, supply/demand planning and management of third party logistics services providers. To varying degrees, the logistics function also includes sourcing and procurement, production planning and scheduling, packaging and assembly, and customer service. It is involved in all levels of planning and execution - strategic, operational, and tactical. Logistics management is an integrating function which coordinates and optimizes all logistics activities  with other functions in supply chain and logistics management, including marketing, sales, manufacturing, finance, and information technology. Do you think this is defined appropriately?

Supply Chain and Logistics Management History Infographic

UPDATE: this infographic is updated on 30 May 2013 to reflect very important changes. While most researchers believe that the word logistics is derived from the word "logistique" in French and the first book contains the word "logistique" is "The Art of War" by Baron Henri de Jomini in 1838, the recent discovery indicates otherwise. More information, evidences and theoretical basis can be found in this article. Please don't hesitate to read this article because it's really worth your time.

Supply Chain and Logistics Management

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Adam Robinson
Adam Robinson oversees the overall marketing strategy for Cerasis including website development, social media and content marketing, trade show marketing, email campaigns, and webinar marketing. Mr. Robinson works with the business development department to create messaging that attracts the right decision makers, gaining inbound leads and increasing brand awareness all while shortening sales cycles, the time it takes to gain sales appointments and set proper sales and execution expectations.
Adam Robinson
Adam Robinson
  • Edwin Cooper

    Interesting post, the history of supply chain and logistics management, displayed in the infograph was very interesting and in retrospect with my career, which started in the mid 70`s, defines the changes I experienced in how business were operated. The changes from independent organizational entities to that of ownership of the process as a whole, which we used to refer to as “Womb to Tomb” or Cradle to Grave” or more simply as Supply Chain was paramount. In my perspective, Supply Chain and Logistics Management are synonymous with each other. I like the definition supplied by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), as the better of the two, but I cannot separate Logistics Management from the Supply Chain disciplines as they define it. If not practiced as one discipline I would find it lacking. My perspective only and I’m sure others might find errors in my thinking.

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  • Really Great Sharing …Thanks

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  • Bill Tennant

    Fantastic work Adam! I am a program coordinator for Supply Chain Management programs at St. Lawrence College in Kingston Ontario, Canada – I have taught Marketing students SCM for over 10 years.

    • Cerasis

      Thanks for the kind words, Bill! As a marketer myself, I find the entire Supply Chain fascinating from a marketing/business perspective. In fact, I think the more a marketing person within a company understand the supply chain, the better they can market! Have you seen our posts on logistics and marketing and how related the strategy/mindset?

  • Bill Tennant

    Haven’t ‘dug’ that deeply yet Adam – we made the decision 10 years ago to educate our Marketing students on SCM. You can’t market/promote/sell what you can’t deliver and you can’t deliver when you can’t get the parts yourself…With components coming from all over the world to be assembled – dealing with all the issues of crossing borders, rules and regulations, Marketers must know what going on ‘down the pipe’!
    I will be digging deeper over the next while – we are starting a Graduate Studies program in January.

    • Cerasis

      Very cool, Bill! We have written many posts on supply chain, logistics, manufacturing, business, etc. Please let us know if we can aid you in your research or material gathering in any way! Have a great day and week!

      • Bill Tennant

        Thanks Adam – off to class – looking forward to reviewing your posts!

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  • ericschichl

    I think it is incomplete. My opinion on Supply Chain Management is that it include fullfillment operations(warranty work and the like), reverse logistics, and final disposition either to final disposition, repurposing, or recycling of reusable parts.

    • Cerasis

      Those are great additions, Eric! Thank you!

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  • Ulf Köster

    Adam, thanks for this article. It gives a great overview of Supply Chain and Logistics – but at the same time I find it is focused too much on the logistics side of things.

    I think that another aspect needs to be added: In our globalized world with the ever increasing product and services cycle times, companies need to adopt to market requirements quickly. Creating intelligent products enabled by Internet of Things allows creating new business models at the same time – a complex offering that requires to be orchestrated accordingly – across the overall supply chain. With that respect, companies need to treat product innovation and product development as an integral element of the supply chain. Not only current products need to be in the SCM equation, but also the future products and offerings. Product Innovation and Product Development requires collaboration with suppliers, check for manufacturability – and managing iterations of current products and components in the ever changing product definition, so they can achieve Change Control Excellence. With that in mind, it can be said that Product Lifecycle Management must be seen and treated as part of Supply Chain Management.

    • Cerasis

      Thank you for the additions, Ulf! I guess you are right, we lean more towards logistics as a company, so no doubt the lens was weighted there. These help round it out a bit and I thank you!

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  • Why SCM never mention about port. However, the port and shipment to meet the needs of consumers are intricately linked

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