Rather than try to spell out the difference between supply chain and logistics, as many writers have already done, with a greater or lesser degree of clarity, I thought I’d just try providing a couple of quick examples to draw the distinction.
The Manufacturing Operation
Let’s start with a manufacturing plant, as an example of the difference between supply chain and logistics.
If you work as plant operations manager, do you work in supply chain?
Yes, you do … Without you and your factory, the only thing consumers would receive are raw materials—not so useful in many cases.
If you work as a plant operations manager, do you work in logistics?
No, you don’t … Your task is to build, construct, bake, mix, fabricate or somehow create a useable product from one or many raw materials. You are part of the supply chain because you are providing a vital product. You’re not in logistics though, because someone else has to deal with moving the products you manufacture, to a place where consumers can buy them.
The Distribution Centre
If you work as a distribution centre manager, do you work in supply chain?
Absolutely–without your facility, consumers would find it a lot more difficult to get the products they want or need.
If you work as a distribution center manager, do you work in logistics?
Totally, yes—you are part of the supply chain, because you facilitate the supply of products to meet customer demands. You are most definitely in the logistics game, because your job exists only to solve the problem of physically moving materials and/or manufactured products from one place to another.
So What’s the Difference Between Supply Chain and Logistics?
Logistics is an essential supply chain element. The focus of logistics though, is purely on moving materials physically through the supply chain.
Perhaps another way to look at it is like this: You can work in supply chain, without working in logistics. However, you can’t work in logistics without working in the supply chain.
If you don’t yet work in logistics or the supply chain or, if you are just starting out in either, you can fast track your supply chain learning through The Supply Chain School. Why not contact us today and find out how we can enhance your supply chain education?
General Managing Director