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New citations to this author. New articles related to this author's research. Email address for updates. My profile My library Metrics Alerts. Sign in. Articles Cited by. The time it takes for an order to be fulfilled, which includes preparation, packing and delivery to a designed location. Often labeled as the arrival rate and is mostly linked with the function of distribution, mainly its efficiency and reliability; its level of responsiveness. Before the emergence of e-commerce, customers were rarely exposed to the concepts of cycle time and lead time since goods were directly purchased at a store.
The customer was seeing the outcome of cycle and lead times, but not the process as goods were readily available. Logistics is a fundamental component of efficiency improvements in a market economy.
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What is known as supply chain management is the outcome of an evolution integrating technical, technological and managerial improvements. Much of these efforts initially took place within the factory, while supply and output flowed as batches from suppliers and to distributors. In the s, with the convergence of logistics and information and communication technologies, this principle was increasingly applied to the whole supply chain, particularly to the function of distribution.
The recent years have seen renewed efforts towards the automation of logistics, which includes automated warehouses. Maintaining inventory is always a cost factor for logistics since it has to be carried until sold to customers.
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Lean supply chains , as a managerial concept, is often labeled as seminal in the emergence of modern supply chains where inventory levels are kept at a minimum and where a share of the inventory which is kept in constant circulation. Typically, the manufacturing sector has 6 to 8 inventory turnovers per year, implying that it takes on average about 50 to 60 days to sell what is being produced. In the electronics sector, this can even be more frequent with 10 to 20 inventory turnovers per year.
Better inventory management enables to reduce the inventory and its related costs and increase the number of inventory turns. Freight distribution is within a paradigm shift from inventory-based logistics push to replenishment-based logistics pull. Demand, particularly in the retailing sector, is very difficult to anticipate accurately and is prone to cycles.
A closer integration between supply and demand enables a more efficient production system with fewer wastes in terms of unsold inventory and time spent managing processes. Standardization is also an important aspect with parts that can be used, when possible, for several lines of products, thus reducing the overall inventory footprint.
Since logistics involves improving the efficiency of flows, load units have become particularly important. They are the basic physical management units in freight distribution and take the form of pallets, swap bodies, semi-trailers and containers. Another important requirement was containerization , which conferred substantial flexibility to production systems in addition to the container being its own storage unit. Containers are the privileged load unit for long distance trade, but the growing complexity of logistics required a more specific level of load management.
The expansion of standard transport infrastructure such as highways, terminals and airports, was also essential for the development of modern logistics. Logistics and integrated transport systems are therefore related, particularly because of the container has become a load transport , production and distribution unit.
Logistics and Freight Distribution | The Geography of Transport Systems
Transport modes have been the object of limited technological changes in recent decades. In some cases, modes have adapted to handle containerized operations such as road and rail e. It is maritime shipping that has experienced the most significant technological change, which required the construction of an entirely new class of ships and the application of economies of scale to maritime container shipping. This massification of container flows has also brought unique logistical challenges, namely the repositionning of empty containers because of imbalanced trade flows. The technological changes have been very significant with the construction of new terminal facilities operating on a high turnover basis.
Better handling equipment, particularly through automation, lead to improvements in the velocity of freight at the terminals, which are among the most significant technological changes brought by logistics in materials mobility. In such a context, the port has become one of the most significant terminals supporting global logistics. Port facilities are increasingly being supported by an array of inland terminals connected by high capacity corridors.
Technological changes impacted over the location, design and operation of distribution centers; the facilities handling the requirements of modern distribution. Modern distribution centers tend to consume more space, both from the site they occupy and the building area. They try to service regional markets with a 48 hours service window lead time on average, implying that replenishment orders from their customers are met within that time period. They have become one floor facilities designed more for throughput than for warehousing with specialized loading and unloading bays and sorting equipment.
Cross-docking distribution centers represent one of the foremost expressions of a facility that handles freight in a time sensitive manner, with the emergence of large consolidation and deconsolidation facilities. Automation is also pushing forward the productivity level of distribution centers. For instance, it is possible to fully automate the sorting, storing and palletizing processes in a distribution center so that the efficiency, customization level and throughput can be improved, such as for groceries or retail goods.
This tends to expand the added value performed by logistics. The vast array of information processing changes brought by logistics require the extensive use of information technologies. Value chains are linked with physical flows as well as with information flows. Producers, distributors and consumers are embedded in a web of reciprocal transactions. While these transactions mostly take place virtually, their outcomes are physical flows. The commercial diffusion of Global Positioning Systems GPS is allowing for the identification and routing of vehicles and therefore a better utilization of these assets.
The outcome is often more efficient production and distribution planning with the additional convenience of tracking modes, shipments and inventories and thus giving a greater visibility for customers.
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This is crucial since logistics generate numerous transactions and organizing efficiently these transactions provides benefits. The standardization provided by the Internet in terms of communication protocols enabled corporations to establish interfaces with a large customer base, which permitted new forms of retailing. E-commerce offers advantages for the whole commodity chain, from consumers being exposed to a wider range of products to manufacturers and distributors being able to adapt quickly to changes in the demand. E-commerce generates parcel movements for home deliveries that are carried by conventional postal services as well as specialized parcel carriers.
In the United States, about half of all home deliveries are made by the US Postal Services, while the remaining is carried by private parcel companies. Online retailers such as Amazon have extensively developed distribution centers to support their activities. There are also revised expectations in terms of the performance of e-commerce. The more efficient and reliable freight distribution is, the higher the expectations of the customers, which creates a feedback loop to improve efficiency. While just a decade ago, expectations for home deliveries were within two weeks, this has shifted to less than five days with some online retailers able to deliver within 48 hours for a selected range of products.
A distribution system involves all the processes, equipment and facilities supporting the mobility of freight along value chains. They are embedded in a framework that can be roughly characterized by their flexibility and globalization:. The flow-oriented mode affects almost every single activity within the entire value chain. The core component of materials management is the supply chain, the time and space related arrangement of freight mobility between supply, manufacturing, distribution and consumption.
Its major components are the supplier, the producer, the distributor e.
Compared with conventional freight transport systems, the evolution of supply chain management and the emergence of the logistics industry are mainly characterized by three features:. Logistics is thus concomitantly concerned by distribution costs and time. While in the past it was a simple matter of delivering an intact good at a specific destination within a reasonable time frame, several components have expanded the concept of distribution:. Log In.
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Research areas | University of Gdańsk | Uniwersytet Gdański
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