Logistics is defined as “handling
an operation that involves providing labour and materials to be supplied as needed”.
E-logistics is defined to be “the mechanism of automating logistics processes and providing an integrated, end-to-end
fulfilment and supply chain management services to the players of logistics processes. Those logistics processes that are
automated by e-logistics provide supply chain visibility and can be part of existing e-Commerce or Workflow systems in an
enterprise”. (Watson Research Center,
In a typical E-logistics process, three
components come into play: Request for Quotes (RFQ), Shipping and Tracking. The Logistics intercommunicate with the business
process manager in an e-commerce server. It is the role of the business service manager to invoke the RFQ (request for Quote)
process. After getting the response, the purchase order is updated, after which the shipping process is invoked by the business
process manager. Once the products are shipped for the specified destination, the tracking number is then provided to the
customer. This tracking number is mapped to the PO number in an e-commerce system. This facilitates
easy tracking of shipments for the customers. This is the essential interaction of a business process manager and e-logistics.
Supply Chain Management (SCM) is the
process of planning, implementing, and controlling the operations of the supply chain as efficiently as possible. A retail
supply chain may pose a few challenges like “linking the consumer in the supply chain planning process, managing product
life cycles, promotional planning, planning for seasonal products, determining cost-effective supply channels, forecasting
(CPFR) and scheduling in a volatile economic environment and many more”. (Wipro Technologies, 2007).
The process of Supply Chain Management
includes the movement and storage of all raw materials, current inventory, and the finished commodities from point-of-origin
to point-of-consumption. The Supply Chain Management process embraces all related aspects including planning and management
of all activities involved in sourcing, procurement, conversion, and logistics management activities. It also involves effective
integration of supply and demand management, both within and between companies.
The process of Supply Chain Management
is all-inclusive, comprehensive, complex and needs to address issues like:
Distribution Strategy: Centralized
versus decentralized, direct shipment, Cross docking, pull or push strategies, third party logistics; Distribution Network
Configuration: Supplier location, number of suppliers, production facilities, distribution centres, warehouses and customers;
Inventory Management; Cash-Flow and streamlined information process i.e. integration of systems and processes through the
supply chain which includes information like demand signals, forecasts, inventory and transportation etc to be shared. (Wikipedia,
In order to stay within the league
of competitors and successfully compete in the global market, it is important for the organizations that they rely on “effective”
supply chains and networks.
In simple words, distribution can be
described as a commercial activity of transporting and selling goods from a producer to a consumer. A distributor actually
serves as a middle man between the manufacturer and retailer. Today, a distribution channel may constitute one or all of the
• Direct selling, via email or internet.
• An agent who sells on behalf of the producer
• A distributor (or wholesaler)who sells to the retailer
• A retailer who sells goods to its customers
Distribution in effect is an important
aspect of marketing. The other aspects include product management, pricing and information.
Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia (2007)
“Supply Chain Management”
Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Supply_chain_management
Wipro Technologies (2007) “Distribution,
Supply Chain Management”
Available from: http://wipro.org/webpages/itservices
Yadav, Pooja, Zhang, Liang-Jie, Chang,
Henry research IBM (2007) “ELPIF: An E-Logistics Processes Integration Framework Based on Web Services”
Available from: http://www.research.ibm.com/people