In the past, quality of products and services was the keydifferentiating factor for companies operating in the same market. In duecourse, quality and low cost became the winning combination.Today, responsiveness to the customers' needs is the determiningfactor. An enterprise that caters instantly to the needs of the customer is thewinner. Integrated logistics can serve as a potent tool for success in today'scompetitive business environment.Logistics is an organized process of managing the flow of merchandise from the source of supply - the vendor, wholesaler or distributor - through internal processing functions like warehousing andtransportation, until the merchandise is sold and delivered to the endcustomer.Logistics management aims to reduce inventory-holding costs andimprove profits, while enhancing customer satisfaction.Anything can be ordered online, but receiving a tangible product isimpossible. The difference between e-business success and failure lies in acompany's ability to manage the logistics.
A recent US study found that logistics costs account for almost 10% of the gross domestic product. The process itself covers a diverse number of functional areas. Involved in logistics are transportation and traffic, as wellas shipping and receiving. It also covers storage and import/exportoperations.