Differences Between Different Types of Logistics Management

Creating a flowchart to understand logistics is useful in all types of management.
Creating a flowchart to understand logistics is useful in all types of management. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Logistics management ensures the proper and timely distribution, storage and reclamation of needed materials. It uses a variety of applications from material productions to commodity delivery to military maneuvers. Logistics management has four main types, each emphasizing a different aspect of the supply process.


Supply management involves the planning and coordination of materials that are needed in a certain location at a specific time to support production or activity (as in the case with military supply). Supply logistics must include transportation of the materials and storage as well as a means for evaluating the level of supply at different stages of the process to make sure the flow of materials matches need.


Distribution involves managing how a supplied and stored material is then dispersed to the locations it is needed. This involves issues of material movement (loading, unloading and transportation), tracking of stock and accountability of use (recording how the supply is used and by whom).


Production logistics manages the stages of combining distributed supplies into a product. This can involve coordination of a manufacturing or assembling process and in the case of applications such as military production, the logistics of coordinating space and areas for production to occur. In construction as well, production logistics will include the staging of material to coordinate with the phase of building taking place.


Reverse logistics involves the reclamation of material and supplies from a production or assembly process. For instance, in the logistic management of a construction project, reverse logistics plans for the removal of excess material and re-absorption of the material into a stock supply. In military applications, it is commonly used for exit strategy planning and coordinating the transfer of materiel and equipment back to a storage base from an area where military exercises were performed.

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