What ARE Logistics, Anyway?


I feel like I always hear the word “logistics” thrown around.  It’s such a broad, non-descript word that I feel like business people use when they don’t want to describe what they’re doing and would rather just assume you know.
“Hey man, what have you guys been doing about that whole issue with the clients from last week?”
“Oh you know, we decided we needed to really go back over the logistics to analyze where the problem started.”
“Awesome, yeah — that’s a great idea.”
What? No.
So what does logistics really even mean and why do we care?  I went to dictionary.com to see what they had to say about it:



[loh-jis-tiks, luh]  Show IPA

noun used with a singular or plural verb )


the branch of military science and operations dealing withthe procurement, supply, and maintenance of equipment,with the movementevacuation, and hospitalization ofpersonnel, with the provision of facilities and services, andwith related matters.

the planning, implementation, and coordination of thedetails of a business or other operation.

I would assume most of us can rule out #1, particularly that whole hospitalization part — I hope.  But #2 makes some sense.  It is, however, a word that covers A LOT of stuff which is why it’s important to define your logistics for your event and make sure everyone has a clear understanding of what they are doing for you this time.  Regardless of the work environment, time after time, project/job after project/job I hear people say things like “Hey, I need you guys to work on logistics for this.”  Assigned people nod their heads only to turn to the person next to them and go “so, um…what are we doing?”  


When putting together an event, it doesn’t matter how many seasoned professionals you have on your team, orchestrate and assign all your details as if someone who’d never done it before will be in charge.  This is important because if your event is 6 months away, that could be true.  A lot happens in even a little time and you don’t want your lack of detail (which would confuse a new staff member) to be the reason why an event doesn’t go as planned.  Everyone operates differently so it is important to create a standard checklist, define your goals, have a time line, a vendor list, breakdowns — whatever you know you need.  You may add new staff or have to change things at the last minute.  So the best way to “totally be the best at logistics ever” is to organize your stuff so people know what the hell your talking about and don’t assume that they fully understand what you mean.  Because no one wants to have to admit they don’t know.  And you don’t want to wait til something bad happens to realize the person didn’t fully understand or perhaps misinterpreted what (s)he was supposed to do.

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