Difference Between Logistics, Supply Management and Distribution

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Logistics is a Diverse and dynamic function. As Rushton (2006) contents that a widely accepted view of logistics shows the following relationship: Logistics = Supply + Materials management + Distribution

It is first important that we get a better understanding of the relationship shown above by defining the variables involved. Supply in the above equation can be said to incorporate supply chains while materials management comes into play because it is mainly concerned with the flow of materials to and from production. According to Lysons (2006), “Supply chains are defined as the flow of materials through procurement, manufacturing, distribution, sales and disposal, together with the associated transport and storage”. (page;101) Lysons goes on to define materials management

“As the planning, organization, and control of all aspects of inventory embracing procurement, warehousing, work-in-progress and distribution of finished goods”.(page:86) Distribution on the other hand has been defined by Chopra (2010) as referring to; “The steps taken to move and store a product from a supplier stage to a customer stage in the supply chain.”(page:86) From this illustration, logistics can be said to be concerned with the physical flows, information flows, storage of raw materials, their usage and their flow all the way through to the final distribution of the finished product. Thus, supply and materials management represents the storage and flows into and through the production process, while distribution represents the storage and flows from the final production point through to the customer or end user. In conclusion, the relationship which exists between logistics, supply and distribution management can be said to form a synergy which in turn helps organizations to become profitable.  

1)Alan Rushton et al, (2006) The Handbook of Logistics and Distribution Management, 3rd edition, Kogan Page ltd, London. 2)John Gattorna(1983), Handbook Of Physical...
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