A Brief History of Logistics and the Modern Transport Company

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With regard to transportation, logistics has always been defined as a system or strategy of delivering products or services quickly and efficiently. The term is derived from the Greek word “logos,” which means reason or rationality. In fact, the first logisticians were Greek military officers whose job it was to make certain that food, weapons, and medical supplies arrived at the right place at the right time.

As you might expect, receiving fresh supplies, reinforcements or medical assistance in a forward position was often the difference between victory and defeat on the battlefield. Modern warriors who had learned the lessons of military history developed the system and applied it in both world wars.

The modern system of logistics came of age during the Second World War. It was during this huge global conflict that professional logisticians were confronted with the awesome responsibility of delivering enormous supplies of food, medicine and weapons to remote locations.

Because they were fighting in both Europe and the Pacific, American logisticians became particularly adept at delivering supplies to troops right when they needed them most. In the end, the Army of the United States proved too much for both the Germans and the Japanese. 

The history of logistics in modern fulfillment companies begins here. It begins when talented logisticians returned from war and brought all of their experience with them to the private sector. That is one reason businesses began investing in logistics in the 1950s. Another is that companies were going global and they needed a system that would help them deliver goods and services quickly and affordably.

Many of the early military logisticians became the first logistics managers. It was their job to ensure that there was an efficient transport company handling all deliveries, both foreign and domestic. The manager was also responsible for inventory levels and storage.  Delivery is only one part of the logistics equation.  In fact, it might not be the most important part. After all, what does it matter if a transport company can guarantee prompt delivery if they don’t have the right products in stock?

This is a common concern of internet businesses that frequently run out of popular items. While internet sales are infamously difficult to forecast, a talented logistician should stay on top of it. He should be aware of selling patterns and inventory levels at all times so items do not sell out. Unfortunately, many online sites have little or no experience with logistics, which is why their products are frequently out of stock. It is also why larger, more established businesses that employ teams of logisticians rarely run out of popular items.