Operations Research: An indispensable toolkit for the logistician

  • WJ Pienaar Department of Logistics, Stellenbosch University


This paper traces the origin of the word logistics, outlines its conceptual evolution, and explains its meaning in contemporary usage. The background that led to the introduction of Logistics Management and Operations Research (OR) as undergraduate fields of study at the University of Stellenbosch is sketched. The concept of Logistics Management is described and its strategic, tactical and operational tiers, as well as the different activities that form part of the logistics supply chain process are identified. The role and necessity of OR in decision-making within each activity and in the coordination between the various activities are outlined. OR techniques most pertinent to the field of logistics are identified and the analytical competencies that a logistician should possess are indicated.


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