Logistics involves the planning, design, coordination, management and improvement of the processes of moving goods and resources. In some cases, logistics involves more internal systems, while in others it involves collaboration with distribution partners. This is a difference, because distribution inherently includes more than one channel partner. The primary goal of logistics is to improve the efficiency of internal warehousing and transportation functions and to collaborate with distribution partners to maximize efficiency in the movement of information and goods.
From a big picture perspective, distribution encompasses the ways in which a business makes goods available to its customers. It also involves the actual physical movement of goods through a distribution channel. A distribution channel is the process a product goes through from manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer and finally, to the end consumer. In managing distribution, each company has to contemplate the most affordable ways to move goods to its customers.
One way to distinguish distribution is to say that it is the physical execution of transportation logistics. One element of distribution is selecting the best transportation methods. Air, ground and ship methods are all common. Many wholesalers operate distribution centers where they hold goods acquire from manufacturers prior to resale. Retailers sometimes have distribution centers where they hold extra inventory purchased from wholesalers prior to store distribution.