Logistics- an American and European perspective

By Priya Chetty on May 11, 2012

Logistics- an American and European perspectiveLogistics has different definitions in different nations and its definition has evolved over a period of time. In 1935, the vocabulary of marketing compiled by the American Marketing Association (AMA) defined logistics as a series of enterprise tasks involved during the transfer of material resources from the production place to the consumption area including the processes of service. In 1948, AMA made a modification to the definition as “Logistics refers to the tasks of enterprise expense determined by the material resources flow process from the producer to the consumption place or customer” (Bowersox and Closs, 1996).

Afterwards AMA again modified the definition of logistics as “the process by which material resources move from production step to users or customers and the management of the process”. In 1960 the most authoritative logistics definition was given by US National Council of Physical Distribution Management. It defined logistics as the vast range of tasks undertaken in moving the completed products from the production line to end point to the customers, effectively. It sometimes also consists of the transportation of raw materials from the supply source to the production point.

Europe has a different definition for logistics. In 1994, European Logistics Association defined logistics as “the implementation, plan and control of transportation and arrangement of goods and personal and the corresponding support tasks in a system to attain specific need”. In the European National Standard Glossary of Logistics it is referred to as “the process that permits the flow of goods from the suppliers’ place to the buyers’ place. According to the demand it combines the basic function such as storage, uploading and loading, transportation, circulation, packing, distribution, information disposal and manufacturing (American Marketing Association, 1935; American Marketing Association, 1948; National Council of Physical Distribution Management, 1960; European Logistics Association, 1994; cited in Qin (2009, p 20)).


  • Qin Z (2009), Introduction to E-commerce, Springer, China, p 20.
  • Bowersox D J and Closs D J (1996), Logistical Management, Tata McGraw Hill, New York.