Transport & Distribution


Transport & Distribution Check List

What is needed to achieve a Cost-effective Means of Transport or Distribution:

Key factors to consider in selecting the means of transport or distribution:

  • physical characteristics of load
  • the number of loads to be moved,
  • the distance to be moved
  • the required speed of movement.
  • do you require proof of delivery

Other factors which influence the means of transport:

  • cost of building/dismantling loads
  • packaging costs
  • space requirements
  • interface with other storage, transport and handling systems
  • housekeeping issues.

What is Physical Distribution Management?

Physical distribution is the activity that is concerned with receiving parts or finished goods storing them until they are required and then delivering them to the customer.

Transport Concepts

Transport operator:  The person or company who provides the actual delivery of your orders.

Interposal: interchange point from one transportation mode provider to another.

Consolidation: the process of receiving multiple lots in small quantities, which are accumulated and then repackaged into one larger lot.

Cross docking:  unloading the cargo from several trucks and then immediately reload it into one container for delivery to a final destination.

Distribution warehouse: a facility designed to assemble and then redistribute goods in a way that facilitates rapid movement to customers.

Unitisation: a technique for grouping boxes on a pallet or skid for later movement by pallet jack, forklift, conveyor and / or truck.

Containerisation: the process of combining several unitised loads into a single well-protected load.

Methods of transport

Trucks: flexible, on-time, low loss and damage, tracing, accuracy and wide geographical coverage. Weather and traffic conditions can delay shipments still heavy price competition.

Rail: inexpensive for carload lots.  Requires more packing material or must allow for rough handling, somewhat slow however freight forwarders, piggyback truck, and double stack containers offer cost savings for users.

Sea transportation: ideal for heavy, low-value non-perishables but have high fixed costs weather can be a problem.  Containerisation and improved ports allow for expansion in new products and markets.

Air: high costs, suitable for high value or urgent or perishable items:

  • weight and locations limited
  • saves inventory holding costs
  • important in international trade.

Post: low costs, only suitable for nonperishable, non-fragile items:

  • weight limited
  • important in international documents trade.


Decisions for owning or contracting-out transport consider:

  • total cost reduction
  • this area is not your core focus
  • to improve customer service
  • flexibility
  • to use the provider of the services management skills
  • reduce your own staff levels
  • return on investment

Number and location of distribution warehouses are based on:

  • customer service needs
  • available transportation services
  • cost trade off

Do you know how your Transport is performing?

Do your Transport services meet the needs of your customers?

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