Freight News

Inbound Logistics vs. Outbound Logistics

Category: Logistics
International Freight Shipping

Logistics is a complex field with many moving parts. Despite this complexity, logistics can be divided into two categories: inbound and outbound. Every business that handles physical goods makes use of inbound and outbound logistics processes, even if they do not directly manage them. As a leading provider of freight logistics services, the team at C&D Logistics knows that both types of processes are crucial for every business. That is why we have compiled some information to compare inbound logistics vs. outbound logistics and the processes involved with each.

Learn about the different types of supply chain management.

What is Inbound Logistics?

Inbound logistics is best defined as the processes and systems that bring goods and materials from a manufacturer or distributor to a business. This can include purchasing raw materials for production, finished products from manufacturers, or packaging materials from a supplier. Inbound logistics also involves the process of receiving these goods, checking them into an inventory system, and ensuring that they are safely stored until they are ready to be shipped out.

Examples of Inbound Logistics Processes

Processes associated with inbound logistics include:

Purchasing Materials

Inbound logistics includes the sourcing or buying of raw materials and products. This is especially true for industrial manufacturing facilities, as they need to coordinate ordering, freight tracking, and receiving processes.


Receiving involves accepting goods once they arrive at a facility, logging them into an inventory system, and placing them in the appropriate storage location until they are needed.

Reverse Logistics

Another aspect of inbound logistics is reverse logistics. This refers to the processing of customer returns and exchanges. When these shipments arrive back at the warehouse, they need to be examined and restocked into available inventory if they are in a suitable condition.

What is Outbound Logistics?

Outbound logistics describes the process of storing, moving, and distributing goods to deliver them to a customer. The typical stages of outbound logistics include warehousing and storage, distribution, and transportation/delivery.

Examples of Outbound Logistics Processes

Processes associated with outbound logistics include:

Order Processing

Once an order is received, it is sent to the warehouse management system (WMS) and pushed into the queue to be processed. Once the order is processed, it is ready to be picked by a warehouse employee.

Product Picking and Packing

The products are then picked from their assigned inventory location and inventory counts are updated to ensure stock levels are accurate. Products are then packaged, labelled, and sorted by carrier/service to prepare for shipping.


Carriers pick up the packages or workers load them onto a truck for shipping. These orders are then shipped out to the customer.

To learn more about inbound and outbound logistics or to inquire about our freight shipping solutions, get in touch with the experts at C&D Logistics. We can be reached through our online contact form and will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding our services.