Management of the distribution of goods is important in all manufacturing organisations and many service organisations. Distribution is a critical component of supply chain strategy which leads to customer satisfaction and competitive advantage. Hence a course that involves study of logistics and supply chain management must facilitate a sound knowledge of the various aspects of product distribution and the operation of warehouses. This unit will enable students to understand the operations of distribution centres and relevant distribution logistics within product supply chains from theoretical and practical viewpoints. Students will study the ways in which distribution centres link with various modes of transport and provide service to different customer needs. Students will analyse and critique the key concepts of distribution logistics including customer accommodation, inventory control, distribution network strategies, packaging, warehouse management systems, and distribution performances measures. Students will engage in a range of learning activities that include peer discussion and review, team work and analysis of real business situation in a company or organisations. Student learning will be guided and assessed by means of a literature review, a group presentation, a group report and an end-of-semester examination.

Unit details

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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Appraise the major role of distribution in managing supply chains;  
  2. Apply specialised knowledge of distribution management to review channels of distribution, their main participants and their relative importance;  
  3. Conceptualise how the distribution function provides the key link between manufacturers and suppliers on the inbound side and retail and customers on the outbound side;  
  4. Review the functions of a distribution centre and the design features which cater for specific types of products;  
  5. Argue the importance of the customer service function to the logistics efforts of the firm; and  
  6. Work collaboratively with other team members to prepare a group project report and delivering a professional presentation based on a selected case study.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Test Online quiz 20%
Case Study Group presentation 10%
Report Group report on industry (major assignment) 30%
Test Tests (2 progressive in-class tests at 20% each) 40%

Required reading

The Handbook of Logistics and Distribution Management (5th ed. or latest edition).
Rushton, A., Croucher, P., & Baker, B. (2014).
London, UK: Kogan Page.

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