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Article
Publication date: 21 February 2020

Florian Kellner

Due to the growing percentage share of urban dwellers, the physical distribution of products faces altering conditions. This research explores the effects that…

Abstract

Purpose

Due to the growing percentage share of urban dwellers, the physical distribution of products faces altering conditions. This research explores the effects that urbanization has on the performance of a fast-moving consumer goods distribution network. A focus is set on changes in distribution cost, the cost-minimal network design, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Design/methodology/approach

The analyses are based on a quantitative distribution network model of an existing manufacturer of consumer goods.

Findings

The results indicate that the foreseen population shift will affect the network's economic and environmental performance. Effects are, among others, due to differences in the efficiency of supplying urban and nonurban regions. The combined effects of urbanization and the development of the population size will even more affect the network's performance.

Originality/value

Research dealing with distribution logistics and urbanization primarily focuses on city logistics. In this paper, the object of analysis is the entire distribution system.

Details

Journal of Asian Business and Economic Studies, vol. 28 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2515-964X

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Article
Publication date: 19 October 2012

Kwok Hung Lau

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the use of data envelopment analysis (DEA) to benchmark store performance for the purpose of rationalising retail distribution network.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the use of data envelopment analysis (DEA) to benchmark store performance for the purpose of rationalising retail distribution network.

Design/methodology/approach

As an illustration of the approach, DEA is applied to a sample of front stores of a major retailer in Australia to compare their relative efficiency in distribution. Together with other techniques such as customer segmentation and spatial distribution of demand, this paper shows that DEA can provide an objective basis for distribution network rationalisation and be a suitable analytical tool to facilitate continuous improvement.

Findings

Based on the DEA results, it is concluded that overall distribution efficiency of the part of the retail network under study can be improved by either closing the less efficient stores or merging them with the others in the same service areas to streamline the network. Such rationalisation will help aggregate demand and improve vehicle utilisation for distribution with minor impact on current level of customer service.

Research limitations/implications

This study lends insight into the use of DEA, together with other analyses, for distribution network rationalisation. This approach is less data hungry and relatively easy to implement than full‐fledged optimisation through integer programming. To serve mainly as a proof of concept and an illustration of the approach, the scope of the study is limited to six stores in the retail network with relative performance in distribution evaluated on a single input and a single output variables.

Practical implications

Managers can use DEA to benchmark the distribution performance of their stores against the best performers in the retail network so as to identify areas for improvement. The approach can also assist in the adoption of best practice and facilitate more effective allocation of resources across the entire retail network.

Social implications

Retail network rationalisation through benchmarking with DEA can facilitate continuous improvement in distribution efficiency. This will help reduce fuel consumption, carbon emission, as well as other pollutions such as noise and traffic congestion.

Originality/value

Research in retail network performance using DEA to date is mainly on comparative performance of supermarkets within or between chains. The focus is mainly placed on the relationship between floor area, workforce, and sales. This paper fills the gap in the literature by applying DEA in distribution network rationalisation instead of mere performance comparison of individual stores. It focuses on distribution costs rather than store attributes and supplements DEA with other techniques to obtain a fuller picture of the overall network efficiency in terms of distribution. It also contributes to a better understanding of how demand management can affect distribution efficiency of the retail network.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 19 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

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Article
Publication date: 22 November 2011

Jukka Lassila, Tero Kaipia, Juha Haakana and Jarmo Partanen

The purpose of this paper is to establish a methodological framework to address key issues in electricity distribution network development. The paper defines subtasks in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to establish a methodological framework to address key issues in electricity distribution network development. The paper defines subtasks in the strategy process and presents key elements in the strategy work and long‐term network planning. The results are illustrated by a case network.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper describes the methodology for cost and reliability analyses in the strategy work. The focus is on techno‐economic feasibility of certain network development technologies in the network strategy and the surveys are linked to economic regulation, specifically to reliability of supply and allowed return. The study addresses the stages of strategic decision making and compilation of investment strategies.

Findings

The strategic planning concept and methods are applicable in practice; the results have proven valuable in the long‐term business development and in discussions with the company owners. Outage costs are an essential element in the economic regulation of the business, reliability being a key driver in network planning.

Research limitations/implications

There is no universal solution to strategic decision making, but each development task is highly case specific. This is due to diverging operating environments and targets set by the company owners; these issues strongly influence the strategy process.

Practical implications

The work illustrates strategic planning in an actual distribution company and shows how the methodology can be applied to the strategic network development. Nevertheless, the results cannot be generalised as such, but each network has to be considered individually.

Originality/value

The proposed concept can be applied to the long‐term development of distribution networks. The results are internationally applicable, yet diverging regulatory models call for specific methodology in each country.

Details

International Journal of Energy Sector Management, vol. 5 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-6220

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Article
Publication date: 12 July 2021

Marina Cardoso Guimarães, Guilherme Tortorella, Carlos Manoel Taboada, Moacir Godinho Filho and Felipe Martinez

This paper aims to examine the relationship between the main decisions for designing distribution centers (DCs) and the contextual characteristics of the distribution networks.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the relationship between the main decisions for designing distribution centers (DCs) and the contextual characteristics of the distribution networks.

Design/methodology/approach

Experts were surveyed and responses analyzed quantitatively through multivariate data techniques. This study considered four contextual characteristics that were deemed as influential for DC design: types of routes in the distribution network, quantity of DCs, distribution network levels and company size.

Findings

This paper evidenced which decisions are affected by each contextual characteristic encompassed in this study. This paper identified that the characteristic types of route in the distribution network must be carefully considered, as it had the greatest amount of associations with the decisions for designing a DC.

Originality/value

Despite its importance, most studies on design of DCs disregard the effect of the context in which DCs are inserted. This research provides arguments to support decision-making process of DCs design, increasing assertiveness of their planning. This work fulfills a literature gap by empirically examining the effect of contextual variables on the decisions related to DC design. Regarding practice, this paper addressed a fundamental issue for managers looking to design a DC, as it evidenced how contextual characteristics impact the decision-making.

Details

Journal of Facilities Management , vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-5967

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 8 February 2021

Lars-Erik Gadde

The purpose of this paper is to examine the transformation of the perspective applied to distribution structures in the late 1900s. This change implied that the previous…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the transformation of the perspective applied to distribution structures in the late 1900s. This change implied that the previous focus on channel management by a channel captain was abandoned because of changes in the business reality. This perspective was replaced by models and concepts featuring collaboration and joint coordination between actors and relationships embedded in networks.

Design/methodology/approach

Changes of perspectives on phenomena are assumed to occur through the dynamic interplay between business reality, the conceptualisation of this reality and the managerial recommendations derived from this conceptualisation. The study is based on a thorough longitudinal literature review.

Findings

Shifts of perspectives occur when there is an increasing mismatch between the current business reality and mainstream conceptualisations. In this transformation, new constructs are required to illustrate new aspects of the business reality, exemplified in the study by interaction and networks. Some established concepts lose their significance, illustrated by the channel captain. Others may be re-interpreted, as is the case with the power concept. The study also shows that “forgotten” conceptualisations can be re-wakened, exemplified by the view of distribution structures as network constellations. In turn, these changes in the conceptualisation of distribution impact the managerial recommendations.

Originality/value

To the best of the author’s knowledge, there are no previous studies analysing how the perspective on a certain phenomenon changes through the dynamic interplay between business reality, conceptualisations and managerial recommendations.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 36 no. 13
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Book part
Publication date: 24 August 2011

Morten H. Abrahamsen

The study here examines how business actors adapt to changes in networks by analyzing their perceptions or their network pictures. The study is exploratory or iterative in…

Abstract

The study here examines how business actors adapt to changes in networks by analyzing their perceptions or their network pictures. The study is exploratory or iterative in the sense that revisions occur to the research question, method, theory, and context as an integral part of the research process.

Changes within networks receive less research attention, although considerable research exists on explaining business network structures in different research traditions. This study analyzes changes in networks in terms of the industrial network approach. This approach sees networks as connected relationships between actors, where interdependent companies interact based on their sensemaking of their relevant network environment. The study develops a concept of network change as well as an operationalization for comparing perceptions of change, where the study introduces a template model of dottograms to systematically analyze differences in perceptions. The study then applies the model to analyze findings from a case study of Norwegian/Japanese seafood distribution, and the chapter provides a rich description of a complex system facing considerable pressure to change. In-depth personal interviews and cognitive mapping techniques are the main research tools applied, in addition to tracer studies and personal observation.

The dottogram method represents a valuable contribution to case study research as it enables systematic within-case and across-case analyses. A further theoretical contribution of the study is the suggestion that network change is about actors seeking to change their network position to gain access to resources. Thereby, the study also implies a close relationship between the concepts network position and the network change that has not been discussed within the network approach in great detail.

Another major contribution of the study is the analysis of the role that network pictures play in actors' efforts to change their network position. The study develops seven propositions in an attempt to describe the role of network pictures in network change. So far, the relevant literature discusses network pictures mainly as a theoretical concept. Finally, the chapter concludes with important implications for management practice.

Details

Interfirm Networks: Theory, Strategy, and Behavior
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-024-7

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Article
Publication date: 19 June 2020

Zhangyuan He

Freight network planning and the application of distribution innovations are popular fields of research on sustainable urban logistics. However, considerable research on…

Abstract

Purpose

Freight network planning and the application of distribution innovations are popular fields of research on sustainable urban logistics. However, considerable research on freight network design lacks a comprehensive consideration of the application of distribution innovations. This observation implies that sustainable urban freight research appears highly fragmented in topics of network design and distribution innovations. From the perspective of long-term planning, this situation possibly serves as a barrier to further promotion of sustainability. The objective of this paper is to analyze existing research gaps of literature to further promote the sustainability of urban logistics systems from a future perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper employs a systematic literature review (SLR) method, which covers 164 papers and research works published in 2013–2018. The article corpus involved the innovative schemes of freight network design and the emerging delivery concepts in cities. Based on an analysis of articles' relevance, the most significant research contributions on both city logistics network design and exploitation of distribution innovations are detected.

Findings

This paper has found four research gaps in aspects of network design and distribution innovations. To respond to these gaps, we propose the research framework of sustainable and flexible future urban freight planning (SFFUFP) based on trends of city development, while discussing further research direction on urban freight planning.

Originality/value

The authors have found four research gaps in aspects of both urban freight network design and distribution innovations in which scholars could be encouraged to contribute. The research framework of SFFUFP can further promote sustainable urban logistics from a view of future management.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 50 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

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Article
Publication date: 5 July 2013

Kalyan R. Piratla and Samuel T. Ariaratnam

The purpose of this paper is to investigate design alternatives for pump‐included water distribution networks considering sustainability and reliability aspects. The aim…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate design alternatives for pump‐included water distribution networks considering sustainability and reliability aspects. The aim is to demonstrate that CO2 emissions could be reduced at a reasonable cost. The paper also investigates the trade‐offs between cost and reliability of water distribution networks.

Design/methodology/approach

An existing genetic algorithm optimization tool is customized in this research to perform multi‐objective optimization with various objectives and constraints. The developed model is demonstrated using a benchmark water distribution network.

Findings

The results from this research suggest that CO2 emissions from water distribution networks could be reduced at a reasonable cost by choosing better objectives during the design stage. High system reliability could also be ensured for the lifetime by paying reasonable additional cost. This research presents various design alternatives for an engineer to choose from.

Research limitations/implications

The design of water distribution networks is a computationally complex process and often requires significant CPU time to arrive at an optimal solution. This problem is significant in the case of larger networks, especially when all the failed states need to be simulated. Simpler measures of reliability could be adopted in the future.

Originality/value

Although a significant amount of research had been undertaken in the area of optimal water distribution network design, only limited research includes environmental impacts as a design objective. This paper not only includes environmental aspects but also considers reliability. The model proposed in this research is a useful tool for engineers for considering various alternatives before choosing the best design.

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1997

Per Andersson and Bengt G. Mölleryd

A longitudinal case study of the diffusion and change of mobile telephony in Sweden highlights the effects on service distribution against the background of rapid…

Abstract

A longitudinal case study of the diffusion and change of mobile telephony in Sweden highlights the effects on service distribution against the background of rapid technological development and deregulations in the telecommunications industry. The descriptive and explorative study advances a contextual‐historical and interorganizational network perspective on service channel change and retail evolution. Explores the service distribution consequences of the emerging, increased technological integration within telecommunications, between fixed and mobile telephony, and between telecommunications and information and computer technology. Argues that these technological changes and the move towards convergence of telecommunications and information technology functions are connected to important structural changes in the distribution channels for these services. Builds on a case study of the Swedish distribution network for mobile telephony and identifies a number of significant structural channel changes. Discusses the distribution network consequences of technological convergence, in terms of new emerging patterns of channel relations and in terms of new roles and role sets. Elaborates on some general business implications of the convergence of former independent telephone, cable and information technology services.

Details

International Journal of Service Industry Management, vol. 8 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-4233

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 2 March 2015

Jan Olhager, Sebastian Pashaei and Henrik Sternberg

The purpose of this paper is to systematically and critically review the extant literature on the design of global production and distribution networks to identify gaps in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to systematically and critically review the extant literature on the design of global production and distribution networks to identify gaps in the literature and identify future research opportunities. The design aspects deal with strategic and structural decisions such as: opening or closing of manufacturing plants or distribution centres, selection of locations for manufacturing or warehousing, and making substantial capacity changes in manufacturing or distribution.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors examine the peer-reviewed literature on global production and distribution networks written in English. The search strategy is based on selected keywords and databases. The authors identify 109 articles from 1974 to 2012.

Findings

The authors categorize the literature according to research methodology: case studies, conceptual modelling, surveys, and mathematical modelling. The amount of literature up to 2,000 is rather sparse, while there is a positive trend from 2,000 and onwards. The content analysis shows that different research methodologies focus on different but complementary aspects. The authors propose a research agenda for further research on design of global production and distribution networks.

Research limitations/implications

The authors identify research opportunities related to complementary actor perspectives, extended supply chains that explicitly include transportation and suppliers, contingency factors, and new perspectives such as facility roles within production and distribution networks.

Originality/value

This paper is to the author’s knowledge the first broad review that investigates the design aspects of the interrelationships between production and distribution facilities as well as transportation in global production and distribution networks across multiple research methodologies.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 45 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

Keywords

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