Shipping vs. Logistics: What’s the Difference?

shipping vs logistics

We often use the terms shipping and logistics management interchangeably, so it’s easy to think that they address the same subject. While both discuss the planning, implementation, and execution of the shipment system, there is a big difference between the two. No matter if your business focuses on serving B2B or B2C, the two terms still have their fair share of similarities and differences. Today, let’s discuss what shipping and logistics are, what they have in common, and what sets them apart. 


Before we dive into what shipping and logistics do and don’t have in common, we should first define what each means, talk about who is involved with each, and discuss the systems involved:

First, what is Shipping Management?

Shipping is the process of moving or transferring goods and materials from one place to another. Companies like UPS and FedEx, also known as carriers, offer shipping service first and foremost. This can range anywhere from standard and priority shipping to more complex things like freight and hazmat transportation. Whether you transport your items by water, land, or air, the process is still considered shipping.

To expand from there, let’s talk about the internal systems included in shipping management. This practice handles everything from overseeing and negotiating carrier agreements, taking inventory of supplies, and looking at shipping data analytics to ensure everything is getting where it needs to be, on time, and running smoothly. While a shipping team can and often does work alongside others, their sole focus is getting the packaged product out the door and seeing the carrier gets it to where it needs to go.

What is Logistics Management?

On the other hand, logistics is the management of the entire operation. This practice looks at the big picture and all the intricate, moving parts that make up the business, rather than specializing in one area. With all that goes into logistics management, also sometimes referred to as shipping logistics, it’s easy to say that it’s a vital component in optimizing and measuring the success of an entire product-based operation. 

From the moment your business orders a good or material from a supplier to the moment you send that same good to your customer, a logistics professional gets involved to manage and optimize the system. Everything from the warehousing, packaging, and all internal processes in between are carefully monitored and controlled so that the overall operation stays efficient, helping the company forward toward its goals.

Compare & Contrast

Now that we know what shipping and logistics are, it’s time to look at where the two systems share similarities and overlap, and what makes both unique.

What Shipping & Logistics Have In Common

As we’ve detailed so far, both shipping and logistics management deal with the transportation of documents, goods, or materials to the end customer. Both are equally important in the supply chain and communicate and work in tandem with the contracted carrier(s) to maintain the professional relationship and to make sure all agreement terms are being honored by both parties. At the end of the day, both shipping and logistics share the same goal: to get your product into your customer’s hands, safely and on-time. Without either, it’s impossible to maintain an efficient, effective supply chain.

The Key Differences

With everything shipping and logistics have in common, the biggest difference between them comes down to one thing: scope. Logistics management starts with the sourcing and transportation of goods and materials from your supplier to your internal warehouse. From there, a logistics professional looks at the storage system, ensuring that everything is staying in line with internal budgets and standards, as well as monitoring warehouse processes from receiving to packaging. Shipping only comes into the process when the time comes to send the goods elsewhere, whereas logistics looks at every aspect of the supply chain. 

While shipping handles the point A to point B transportation of goods to the customer, logistics management operates on a significantly larger scale, looking at all the various systems involved in the supply chain. At the end of the day, shipping is an aspect of logistics, and that is the key difference between the two.

Managing Both Shipping & Logistics 

For both new and veteran retailers alike, shipping and logistics are time-consuming and expensive practices to manually manage. Reveel has the shipping intelligence platform to help you compile your shipping data and manage your logistics, so you can be covered on both fronts. Experts from both sides of the shipping industry designed our intuitive systems, so you can be confident you have all the tools you need to save you time and money. 

Whether you have an existing logistics management practice, or you’re ready to start from scratch, Reveel has the powerful yet easy-to-use solution for your team. To learn more about our shipping and logistics management platform, contact our team to schedule a demo today or sign up for free.

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