Supply Chain vs Logistics: What’s the Difference?

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There is some confusion on the internet about the definitions of terms like “logistics,” “supply chain logistics,” and “supply chain management.” People mix the terms up and define them in different ways.

We’re going to explain the meanings of these words as they apply to our clients. Many of our customers are in e-commerce, while some are brick-and-mortar organizations. For both, “supply chain logistics” is the broader term, encompassing the entire supply chain used to create products. “Logistics” is the narrower term that focuses on fulfilling orders, handling returns, and special services like kitting and assembly.

Supply Chain Management

Overall supply chain management includes logistics and finding raw materials that go into products, transporting materials from various locations, creating products, and more. It involves disciplines such as: 

  • Forecasting: This is predicting how much demand there will be for certain products in the market.
  • Sourcing: Companies must find reliable suppliers of raw materials or finished products. They might even select multiple suppliers of the same items in order to have backups.
  • Creating: Managers are involved in all aspects of manufacturing products. They must check the quality of materials, review the production process, and more.
  • Logistics: Finished products are usually sent to a distribution center and carefully tracked in an inventory management system, waiting to be delivered to consumers.

What Is Logistics?

In contrast to the overall logistics of an entire supply chain, Elite OPS focuses on logistics services that include warehousing, order fulfillment, product returns, shipping, and special services like kitting and assembly. 

This discipline takes precision, planning, and expertise. A company that creates a product could deliver those products too, of course, but 3PL (third-party logistics) companies specialize in these services. We keep an inventory of products in powerful inventory management databases, train workers to package products efficiently, assemble special boxes of products in advance, and much more.

The Difference Between Supply Chain and Logistics

A 3PL company takes care of the movement of goods after they are produced, when they are ready to be sold, a process which is often called simply “logistics.” In contrast, businesses that sell products usually handle the long, complex process of supply chains themselves—from raw materials to manufacturing. They strategize about the prices of raw materials, decide when to buy them based on demand, and much more. 

The broader discipline of supply chain management involves much more than delivering products to customers. Some parts generally fall to experienced professionals within a company because they are responsible for the big ideas in their company. However, partnering with a logistics company can give your organization access to better shipping rates, technology, and services to make the job easier.

In contrast to internal strategizing, the final logistics of moving products into warehouses and out to customers is something that can be outsourced to a 3PL company. Elite OPS, for example, is highly experienced at efficiently receiving customer orders, packaging the products, and sending them out. We also track them, keep careful records of inventory, ask for more inventory when needed, and handle returns. 

Many professionals who want to maintain control over the strategy and supply chain behind their products are very happy to give up control of the logistics of order fulfillment. 

Call Elite OPS Today to Learn More About Our Supply Chain and Logistics Services

If you want to put more into your core business, products, and overall supply chain, logistics services free up your time by outsourcing the last few steps. Because we focus on using the best logistics practices for our clients, Elite OPS has been in business for more than 25 years and has helped hundreds of companies.

Your orders will be fulfilled efficiently, and returns (reverse logistics) will never cross your desk. We take care of these services so that you can practice what you are best at. Contact Elite OPS today to get a custom quote for logistics services for your company.

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