The Differences Between Supply Chain and Logistics

The Differences Between Supply Chain and Logistics

Mark Anderson
Mark Anderson
September 20, 2023
Last updated on:

September 20, 2023


Read time: 5 mins

In the intricate web of modern commerce and industry, the terms "supply chain" and "logistics" are frequently used interchangeably, often leading to confusion. While both are integral components of the seamless movement of goods from production to consumption, they represent distinct facets of a broader process. To navigate the complexities of today's global marketplace effectively, it is crucial to comprehend the fundamental differences between these two concepts.

Supply chain management and logistics management serve as the backbone of any organization's operational efficiency and competitiveness. They play pivotal roles in ensuring products reach customers promptly, at the right cost, and with the desired quality. However, the responsibilities, scope, and objectives of supply chain and logistics management differ significantly.

This blog will discuss the nuances that set these two essential components apart, providing a comprehensive understanding of their individual contributions to the success of businesses worldwide.

According to Precedence Research, the global supply chain management market reached USD 25.74 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach USD 72.1 billion by 2032, with a CAGR of 10.9% from 2023 to 2032.

Understanding Supply Chain

Definition of Supply Chain

Supply Chain is defined as the interconnected network of activities, organizations, resources, and technologies involved in producing, distributing, and delivering consumer goods or services. It encompasses procurement, manufacturing, transportation, warehousing, and retail processes, all aimed at optimizing efficiency and meeting customer demands.

For instance, consider the smartphone industry's supply chain. It begins with raw material extraction for components like screens, processors, and batteries. These materials are then transported to the manufacturing location where assembly takes place. Once assembled, the smartphones are distributed to regional warehouses and eventually to retail outlets.

The supply chain's efficiency relies on synchronized logistics, demand forecasting, and effective communication among suppliers, manufacturers, and retailers. Any disruption, such as a shortage of raw materials or transportation delays, can impact the entire chain, highlighting the importance of resilience and coordination within the supply chain framework.

Workflow of Supply Chain
Image 1 - Workflow of Supply Chain

Core Activities of Supply Chain

  • Supplier Management: Developing and maintaining relationships with suppliers to ensure timely and quality deliveries of raw materials and components.
  • Inventory Planning: Determining optimal inventory levels to balance production needs and costs while minimizing stockouts and excess.
  • Demand Forecasting: Analyzing historical data and market trends to predict future demand, aiding in production and inventory decisions.
  • Production Scheduling: Creating efficient production plans that align with demand forecasts while optimizing resource utilization and minimizing lead times.
  • Distribution Network Design: Designing an efficient network of distribution centers and channels to ensure products reach customers effectively and minimize transportation costs.

Read our case study, ‘Invensis Assisted a Canadian Brokerage Firm in Accurately Processing 12,000+ B3 Forms Monthly’ to understand how we helped a Canadian firm in Logistics operations.

Understanding Logistics

Definition of Logistics

Logistics refers to planning, coordinating, and managing the flow of goods and resources within a supply chain from the origin point to the consumption point. It involves various activities, including transportation, warehousing, inventory management, order fulfillment, and distribution.

An example of logistics in action can be seen in the food industry. Let's take a look at the journey of a carton of milk from the dairy farm to a grocery store. The logistics process starts with milk production and packaging at the farm. The packaged milk is then transported to a distribution center, where it is stored until needed.

When a grocery store places an order, the milk is picked from the distribution center, loaded onto trucks, and transported to the store. Upon arrival, it is unloaded, shelved, and made available for consumers to purchase. Efficient logistics in this scenario requires precise timing, proper storage conditions, optimized routes, and effective communication between all parties involved.

Workflow of Logistics
Image 2 - Workflow of Logistics

Core Activities of Logistics

  • Warehousing Operations: Managing the receipt, storage, and retrieval of goods in warehouses, optimizing layouts and processes for efficiency.
  • Freight Transportation: Arranging the movement of goods from one location to another using various transportation modes, selecting carriers, routes, and modes.
  • Inventory Control: Monitoring and managing inventory levels to prevent stockouts and excess stock and ensuring efficient space utilization.
  • Order Processing: Handling customer orders, processing them accurately, and coordinating their fulfillment from picking to shipping.
  • Route Optimization: Planning the most efficient routes for shipments to minimize travel distances, reduce fuel costs, and improve delivery timeframes.

Which is bigger supply chain or logistics?

Supply chain encompasses logistics and more, focusing on the end-to-end flow of goods, information, and processes. Logistics is a subset, managing transportation, warehousing, and distribution within the supply chain.

Key Differences Between Supply Chain and Logistics

1. Scope

Supply Chain:

The supply chain encompasses the entire network of processes, from raw material sourcing to delivering the final product to customers. It includes procurement, manufacturing, distribution, and customer relationship management.


Logistics focuses on the specific activities of transportation, warehousing, and distribution. It involves the efficient movement and storage of products or goods within a supply chain, optimizing processes for timely delivery and cost-effectiveness.


Supply Chain:

The supply chain's primary focus is on integrating and coordinating various stages, functions, and partners involved in the production and distribution process. It emphasizes collaboration, demand forecasting, and overall process optimization.


Logistics places its main focus on the movement and management of goods. It concentrates on activities like selecting transportation modes, route planning, inventory management, and warehousing, ensuring products are efficiently delivered to their destinations.

3. Timeframe

Supply Chain:

Supply chain activities encompass a broader and long-term perspective, involving strategic planning, relationship building with suppliers, and adapting to market changes over extended periods. It considers long-term trends and demand fluctuations.


Logistics operates within a more immediate time frame, concentrating on executing day-to-day tasks like order processing, transportation scheduling, and inventory replenishment. Its focus is on ensuring timely and accurate delivery of products to meet short-term demands.

4. Collaboration

Supply Chain:

Supply chain collaboration involves extensive cooperation among various stakeholders, such as suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. It aims to share information, insights, and resources to enhance overall efficiency, innovation, and responsiveness.


Logistics collaboration emphasizes coordination among transportation providers, warehouses, and distribution centers. It focuses on streamlining processes, sharing shipment details, and optimizing routes to ensure smooth movement of goods while minimizing costs and delays.

5. Decision-Making

Supply Chain:

Supply chain decision-making encompasses strategic choices related to network design, supplier selection, demand forecasting, and risk management. It involves high-level planning and long-term considerations to optimize the entire supply chain.


Logistics decision-making revolves around tactical choices concerning transportation routes, mode selection, warehouse layout, and inventory levels. It focuses on operational efficiency and short- to medium-term adjustments to ensure smooth product flow.


The advancements and future of supply chain and logistics are poised for transformative changes driven by technology and evolving consumer demands. Automation, AI, IoT, and blockchain are reshaping how companies manage inventory, track shipments, and optimize routes. These innovations enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and enable real-time visibility across the supply chain.

As complexities grow, the need to outsource supply chain operations becomes increasingly evident. It offers specialized expertise, scalability, and cost advantages. Invensis is a global leader in delivering supply chain and logistics BPO services, with a distinguished track record spanning several decades. Our highly skilled professionals have a deep understanding of the intricacies of supply chain and logistics, enabling us to provide customized solutions that drive efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance overall performance.

Contact us today for expert solutions that boost your supply chain efficiency and logistics performance.

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