Material flow

What is material flow?

The material flow represents the entire logistics value chain - from the first supplier to the last customer. It encompasses all associated processes, from the extraction of raw materials to the distribution of finished products to the end consumer.

The material flow includes these processes, for example:

  • Transportation of goods and raw materials
  • Storage of goods and raw materials
  • Quality management of products

In logistics, directed material flow is also often mentioned. Here, the flow direction of raw materials is predetermined, for example in assembly line production.

How does material flow differ from logistics?

Logistics is similar to material flow in some areas and processes. Nevertheless, there are differences. Material flow is concerned with transport, but from a technical, organizational and economic perspective. It therefore mainly includes the elements of conveyor technology, control technology and information flow.

Logistics, on the other hand, deals with the internal and external planning, control and monitoring of material flows.


Logistik-Lexikon Materialfluss

Image: gwycech / Shutterstock

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