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Chapter 7:

Chapter 7 Distribution Strategies

7.1 Introduction:

7.1 Introduction Focus on the distribution function. Various possible distribution strategies, and the opportunities and challenges associated with these strategies. Two fundamental distribution strategies: Items can be directly shipped from the supplier or manufacturer to the retail stores or end customer Use intermediate inventory storage points (typically warehouses and/or distribution centers). Issues with warehouses Manufacturing strategy (make-to-stock vs. make-to-order) Number of warehouses Inventory policy Inventory turn over ratio Internal warehouses vs. outside distributor Owned by a single firm or by a variety of firms

7.2 Direct Shipment Distribution Strategies :

7.2 Direct Shipment Distribution Strategies Advantages: The retailer avoids the expenses of operating a distribution center Lead times are reduced. Disadvantages: Risk-pooling effects are negated Manufacturer and distributor transportation costs increase Commonly used scenarios: Retail store requires fully loaded trucks Often mandated by powerful retailers Lead time is critical. Manufacturer may be reluctant but may have no choice Prevalent in the grocery industry lead times are critical because of perishable goods.

7.3. Intermediate Inventory Storage Point Strategies :

7.3. Intermediate Inventory Storage Point Strategies Variety of characteristics distinguish different strategies. Length of time inventory is stored at warehouses and distribution centers. Strategies: Traditional warehousing strategy distribution centers and warehouses hold stock inventory provide their downstream customers with inventory as needed. Cross-docking strategy warehouses and distribution centers serve as transfer points for inventory no inventory is held at these transfer points. Centralized pooling and transshipment strategies may be useful when there is a large variety of different products

Traditional Warehousing:

Traditional Warehousing Inventory management and risk pooling key factors Other factors also play a significant role Centralized vs Decentralized Management Central vs Local Facilities

Centralized vs Decentralized Management:

Centralized vs Decentralized Management Decentralized system Each facility identifies its most effective strategy without considering the impact on the other facilities in the supply chain. Leads to local optimization. Centralized system decisions are made at a central location for the entire supply network. Typical objective: minimize the total cost of the system subject to satisfying some service-level requirements. Centralized control leads to global optimization. At least as effective as the decentralized system. Allow use of coordinated strategies If system cannot be centralized often helpful to form partnerships to approach the advantages of a centralized system.

Central vs. Local Facilities:

Central vs. Local Facilities Centralized facilities Employ both fewer warehouses and distribution centers Facilities are located further from customers. Other factors: Safety stock. Lower safety stock levels with centralized facilities Overhead. Lower total overhead cost with centralized facilities Economies of scale. Greater economies of scale with centralized facilities Lead time. Lead time to market reduced with local facilities Service. Utilization of risk pooling better with centralized Shipping times better with local Transportation costs. Costs between production facilities and warehouses higher with local Costs from warehouses to retailers lesser with local

A Hybrid Decision:

A Hybrid Decision Some products use centralized strategy while others use local strategy Not an either or decision Varying degrees of centralization and localization due to the varying levels of advantages and disadvantages

Cross-Docking:

Cross-Docking Popularized by Wal-Mart Warehouses function as inventory coordination points rather than as inventory storage points. Goods arriving at warehouses from the manufacturer: are transferred to vehicles serving the retailers are delivered to the retailers as rapidly as possible. Goods spend very little time in storage at the warehouse Often less than 12 hours Limits inventory costs and decreases lead times

Issues with Cross-Docking:

Issues with Cross-Docking Require a significant start-up investment and are very difficult to manage Supply chain partners must be linked with advanced information systems for coordination A fast and responsive transportation system is necessary Forecasts are critical, necessitating the sharing of information. Effective only for large distribution systems Sufficient volume every day to allow shipments of fully loaded trucks from the suppliers to the warehouses. Sufficient demand at retail outlets to receive full truckload quantities

Centralized Pooled Systems Perform Better:

Centralized Pooled Systems Perform Better For the same inventory level, a centralized system provides: higher service level higher sales Push-pull supply chain Moving from a push supply chain Dealers have to order before demand is realized To a push-pull supply chain Dealers pull from regional distribution centers. Implications: End consumers will see better customer service More cars are available to them.

Other Factors:

Other Factors Will GM sell more cars to GM dealers? Total number of cars ordered by dealers will not necessarily increase, even as customer service increases. What about the dealers? Dealers have access to more inventory Potentially can sell more. Levels out the playing field between dealers. Small dealers would favor such a system Competitive advantage of large dealers wiped out

Customer Search:

Customer Search If the customer arrives at a dealer and does not find the item Switches to another dealer Helps the manufacturer sell more products Which system is better under customer search? No impact on the centralized system

Impact on Decentralized System:

Impact on Decentralized System If a dealer knows that its competitors do not keep enough inventory this dealer should raise the inventory level to satisfy: its own demand demand of customers who initially approach other dealers with limited inventory. If a dealer knows that its competitors has significant inventory this dealer will reduce the inventory level It is not likely to see customers who switch Dealer’s strategy depends on its competitor’s strategy. Dealers may/may not know their competitor strategy not clear how they decide on their inventory level. not clear about the impact of search on the manufacturer

Nash Equilibrium (Game Theory):

Nash Equilibrium (Game Theory) If two competitors are making decisions, they have reached Nash equilibrium if they have both made a decision Both have decided on an amount to order neither can improve their expected profit by changing the order amount if the other dealer doesn’t change his order amount.

Critical Search Level:

Critical Search Level Presence of a critical search level manufacturer prefers the centralized system below the level otherwise, manufacturer prefers the decentralized system. Manufacturer always prefers a higher search level

How Can the Search Level Be Increased?:

How Can the Search Level Be Increased? Increase brand loyalty customers will more likely search for a particular brand at another retailer if their first choice does not have the product in inventory. Information technology initiatives to increase communication between retailers increases the ease with which customers can search in the system higher likelihood that customers will search in the system

Transshipment:

Transshipment Shipment of items between different facilities at the same level in the supply chain to meet some immediate need Occurs mostly at the retail level Can be achieved: with advanced information systems Shipping costs are reasonable Retailers have same owner

Retailers with Different Owners:

Retailers with Different Owners May not want to do transshipments Distributor Integration strategies may be adopted Not clear regarding inventory levels A retailer’s strategy depends on competitors’ strategies

Which Strategy to Adopt?:

Which Strategy to Adopt? Different approaches for different products Factors: Customer demand and location Service level Costs => transportation & inventory costs Demand Variability

Summary of the Distribution Strategies:

Summary of the Distribution Strategies Strategy → Attribute ↓ Direct shipment Cross-docking Inventory at warehouses Risk pooling Take advantage Transportation costs Reduced inbound costs Reduced inbound costs Holding costs No warehouse cost No holding costs Allocation Delayed Delayed

Summary:

Summary Critical to implement effective distribution strategies regardless of the total level of supply chain integration. Strategies: direct shipping warehouses or distribution centers Related decisions Should there be many or only a few warehouses or DC’s? Should inventory be held at these locations, or transshipped? As a retailer, does it make sense to participate in a centralized inventory pooling system? What about a transshipment system?

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