Logistics is the management of the flow of resources between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet some requirements, for example, of customers or corporations. The resources managed in logistics can include physical items, such as food, materials, equipment, liquids, and staff, as well as abstract items, such as time, information, particles, and energy. The logistics of physical items usually involves the integration of information flow, material handling, production, packaging, inventory, transportation, warehousing, and often security. The complexity of logistics can be modeled, analyzed, visualized, and optimized by dedicated simulation software. The minimization of the use of resources is a common motivation.
The term logistics comes from the late 19th century: from French logistique, from loger 'to lodge'.
Logistics is considered to have originated in the military's need to supply itself with arms, ammunition, and rations as it moved from a base to a forward position. In the ancient Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Empires, military officers with the title Logistikas were responsible for financial and supply distribution matters.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines logistics as "the branch of military science relating to procuring, maintaining and transporting material, personnel and facilities." However, the New Oxford American Dictionary defines logistics as "the detailed coordination of a complex operation involving many people, facilities, or supplies", and the Oxford Dictionary online defines it as "the detailed organization and implementation of a complex operation". Another dictionary definition is "the time-related positioning of resources." As such, logistics is commonly seen as a branch of engineering that creates "people systems" rather than "machine systems".
According to the Council of Logistics Management, logistics includes the integrated planning, control, realization, and monitoring of all internal and network-wide material, part, and product flow, including the necessary information flow, in industrial and trading companies along the complete value-added chain (and product life cycle) for the purpose of conforming to customer requirements.