Like David Bowie once sang, “Love (and logistics) is such an old-fashioned word.” (See: lyrics to “Under Pressure”) The word logistics became popular during World War II to explain the supplying of equipment to troops in different parts of the world. In the business world, logistics means “the commercial activity of transporting goods to customers,” according to Google Dictionary. This makes perfect sense in the packaging world.  Businesses rely on solid logistics that gets the product to its final destination.

But just ’cause it’s old-fashioned doesn’t make it irrelevant.

Logistics is also a buzzword that is assumed to be synonymous with Supply Chain Management. Are they the same thing? What’s the difference, if any? The easy answer is no, they are not the same: Logistics is just one part of Supply Chain Management. Supply Chain Management is a larger umbrella with different components, and one of which is logistics.


Difference between Supply Chain and Logistics

The packaging industry deals with all pieces of Supply Chain Management, with logistics at the forefront because so much of the business relies on moving goods from one place to the next.

Let’s think of this in terms of pizza.

  • Logistics: You order pizza from an app on your smartphone. You can track the delivery of the pizza to your doorstep by the minute. 30 minutes later, your pizza arrives.
  • Supply Chain:  Years before you even thought about ordering your favorite pizza, the pizza shop researched the best ingredients and recipe, came up with their greatest tasting pie, worked through the logistics of making, baking, and delivering your pizza on time, and are continuously measuring performance and customer satisfaction.

Now, when someone asks you the difference between Supply Chain Management and Logistics, you’ll have a digestible (pun-intended) way of explaining it. Or, you can just send them to this blog for some knowledge.

Can you think of another way of explaining the difference? Let us know in the comments section below.