In the last logistics class on 14/05/2010 we have talked about material and information flow.
I have found a book that gives a very comprehensive example on this topic.
Logistics Management and Strategy: Competing Through The Supply Chain
- Alan Harrison, Cranfield School of Management
- Remko Van Hoek, Professor of Supply Chain Management at The Cranfield Centre for Logistics and Supply Chain Management and Vice President Procurement at Nuon in the Netherlands
A preview on this book can be found here: http://www.pearsonhighered.com/educator/academic/product/0,3110,0273712764,00.html
The example for material flow and information flow is described as follows:
The concept of a supply chain suggests a series of processes linked together to form a chain. A typical Tresco (UK's largest food retailer) supply chain is formed from five such links.
Here, milk is produced by a diary cooperative and shipped to a cheese factory. Once made, the cheese is shipped to the manufacturer’s national distribution center (NDC), where it is stored and manufactured for nine months. It can then be shipped in response to an order from the retailer, and is transported first to the retailer’s regional distribution center (RDC). From there, it is shipped to store. Looking at the arrows in Figure 1.1, material flows from left to right. Information is shared across the chain: it is demand from the end-customer that makes the whole chain work.
Material flow defined
- Material flow management (MFM) is a method of efficiently managing materials.
Material flow management is the goal oriented, efficient use of materials, material streams and energy. The goals are given by ecological and economical areas and by observing social aspects. (in "Protection of human beings and environment", by an Enquete Commission of the German Bundestag)
- Material flow is the flow of physical goods from suppliers through the distribution centers to stores. (http://www.pearsonhighered.com/educator/academic/product/0,3110,0273712764,00.html)
Information flow defined
- Information flow is the flow of demand data from the end-customer back to purchasing and to suppliers, and supply data from suppliers to the retailer, so that material flow can be accurately planned and controlled.(http://www.pearsonhighered.com/educator/academic/product/0,3110,0273712764,00.html)
- A nice report on how information flow is contained from the order to the delivery can be found here: http://www.dhl-discoverlogistics.com/cms/en/course/tasks_functions/order_processing/tasks.jsp?pdf=1
It says that:
An order forms the basis for the information flow in a logistics system. It has three principal functions - it creates a flow of information that precedes the goods, accompanies them and follows them. The tasks of order processing are divided into six phases: order transmission, preparation, routing, picking, shipment and invoicing.