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Logistics and Supply Chain Management
Book · February 2012


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Andrzej Szymonik
Lodz University of Technology

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Logistics and Supply Chain Management
Andrzej Szymonik

  1. The Concept of Logistics

    1. Logistics origin, sources and periods of development

Logistics operations have always been accompanying life in human societies, although the scope of the term "Logistics" as such would change overtime. It is most probably of Greek origin, which is indicated by the meanings of words such as: logos

  • 'counting' or 'reason', logistike - 'the art of calculation', logismos - 'calculation', 'calculus', 'reflection'. They are also the source of the concept of 'logistique', which is the French meaning for transport, accommodation and supply of troops, as well as the origin of the English word 'logistics' in its military sense.

Without a doubt, the pedigree of logistics is of military nature, as shown by all theorists dealing with this area, although the literature also provides information about the role of the concept in the civilian sphere.
In the 5th century BC, in ancient Greece, logistics was originally associated with the civilian life. In the context of Greek administration, finances and the economy of that time, one may come across different names of performed functions, such as: logistae, logeutai, eklogeis, to which particular ranges of responsibilities and tasks were assigned.
The logistae function was performed by a person elected by voting (pointed by the hand) and, in the later period, bydrawing lots. Logistae were the highest authority controlling affairs concerning finances and property.
Without the approval of the financial bills by this official, a person to whom they belonged could not leave the country or take any position in the administration. Moreover, such person was deprived of civil rights and immunities1.

0, 16.08.2010.
The principles of logistics may be found in the first known treatise, Art of War, ascribed to the great chief of the Chinese, Sun Tzu (6th - 5th century BC). In his reflections, he presented a balance of logistics needs in the time of war and the capacity of his own country, and the newly gained territories, to meet this demand. Sun Tzu advocated planning military operations in such a way that would not destroy the domestic economic potential. He would also characterize some principles of economic organizations in the military field, for example food supply standards, or the norms of use of the local resources2.
Leon the Sixth, the Byzantine emperor at the beginning of the 10th century AD, wrote a work in Greek, called The Sumaric Outline of Martial Arts, in which, along with strategy and tactics, he also distinguished logistics. The latter was supposed to deal primarily with the calculations of marching distances of troops, and with the assessment of enemy terrain and forces3.
General A. H. Jomini (1779-1869)in his work: Summary of the Art of War, published in 1837 in Paris, in the sixth chapter entitled: On Logistics or the Practical Art of MovingArmies, he assigns such processes to Logistics as: location and supplying of storages, planning and realization of marches, roads preparation, organizing means of transport and supplying troops. He points out that Napoleon's defeat in the Russian campaign had been directly related to the faulty supply system, the underestimation of the role of transport and inadequate organization of the bases and the sanitary service4. From the military point of view, under the term: ‘logistics’, Jomini understood organizational and planning undertakings of the general headquarters, aimed to lead and command the army. He defined Logistics as a pragmatic art of movement and supply of troops, transport, roads construction and military storages location and supply, which is depicted by Figure 1.1

2Sun Tzu, Sztuka Wojny , Warsaw 1994, pp. 11-17.
3See Gösta, B. Jhde, Transport, Verkehr Logistik, Verlag Franz Vahlen 1984, München pp. 23-25.
4Grand Larousse Encyklopedia T. 6, Libraire Larusse, Paris 1962, pp. 816.

Military movements planning

Allocation of transport

Millitary supply

Road building

Storage points location

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