The Effectiveness of Physical Distribution

The Effectiveness of Physical Distribution


There are several scholars and authors with different definitions of physical distribution, the most prominent among these authors whose definitions are quoted by others are America management Association 1969), and Kotler: 1994:585). The council definition of physical distribution as follows.

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Physical distribution is the term employed in manufacturing and commerce to describe the broad range of activities concerned with the efficient movement of finished products from the end of the production line to the consumer and in some cases include the movement of raw material from the source of supply to the beginning of the production time.

These activities include freight transportation, warehousing, inventory control, plant and warehousing selection, order processing, marketing forecasting and customer service.

Kotler (1994) in a similar way, define physical distribution thus.

Physical distribution involves planning Implementation, and controlling the physical chairs of material and final goods from the points of origin to the points of use to meet customer requirement at a profit.

A.      RACHMAN AND MESCON (1985:332)

Physical distribution encompasses all the activities required to move finished products efficiently from the producers to the consumers.

B.      UDELL AND LACZNIAK (1981:332)

Physical distribution includes those activities involved with the movement and storage of goods (in contrast to the flow of title which dominates most other channel decisions). Inventory management, modes of transportation and the financing of goods while in the channel are important aspect of physical distribution.

C.      ZIKMUND AND D’ AMICO (1993:531)

Physical distribution is a term employed in manufacturing and commerce to describe the broad range of activities involved in the efficient movement of finished products from the end of production line of the consumer.

All the definitions on physical distribution stated above show that is of different view with morbeting logistics but related in terms of the activities involved.


Physical distribution is primary concerned with the performance of the activities that would enable a company’s product to get to the consumers for whom they have been made. While production usually scattered or spread geographically if products are not properly allocated and made available to consumers the aims of production would be defeated and economic waste would result.

Hence, the need for distribution.

Physical distribution has involved to ensure that effective planning organizing, directing, and controlling of the allocation and movement of goods to consumers in order to satisfy their needs at a reasonable profit their needs at a reasonable profit to producers.

Physical distribution has two dimensions of activities. These are the channel of distribution and the physical flow of goods (Udell & Laeznial 1971:480). The channel of distribution is the course or route a product takes in its journey to customers and the transfer of its title. The physical flow of goods (physical distribution) involve the activities performed to ensure that goods actually get to their customers at the right time, place and condition.


Physical distribution over riding goals is to ensure that the right product gets to consumers at the right point in time and condition desired by them.

Actually, production is not complete until the goods get to the consumers usually involves designing a system of intra- company and inter- company relationship that would satisfactory arrange for and deliver goods to consumers.

A basic element of this system is the channel of distribution. Physical distribution is essentially concerned with moving goods through the channel of distribution. For the marketing logistics to be able to perform his physical distribution role effectively and efficiently, he has to have a good knowledge of the channel of distribution chosen by his company for the distribution of its goods. To this end he must know how the channel functions and how the channel function and its members relate with one another.


Before sachet water came into Nigeria market bottled water was the kind of water in the market.

Since, clean tap water is not readily available, is not meant for the common man, but for the upper class in the society. This led to the production of bottled water e.g. Swan, Ragolis and the rest, which is not within the reach of the common man, this led to the production of sachet water which the common man can not get at very cheap rate, since the price of bottled water is high.

Sachet are man made product in the market which have gained ground so much due to the condition of bad drinking water in the world. The key to the progress of these products especially Charis was building on some basic principle, which hold good for almost any product in any age.

1.       Creation of demand-by-energetic end innovative marketing.

  1. Product quality by careful control of ingredients and manufacture.
  2. Wide distribution through fountain and franchise.


An associate professor of marketing, professor A.O. Udeagha (199:199) Stated that less than two short decades ago, physical distribution management as currently conceived was virtually as heard of in business society. That is to say that distribution originated in the late fortised. Iyenda (1987:21-22, noted in Nigeria that this development was much later and that recognition of the importance of physical distribution of the importance of physical distribution task because apparent in the middle seventies.

Determing the distribution channel is a strategic decision; it establishes the overall plan for moving products into the hand of ultimate consumers. But Udeagha A.O. and Okeke C.I. (1993:199-2002) still noted that, still missing one the tactical decision must be made in the area of physical distribution. The researcher accept this view as the more selection or the channel lengths end in earth and nature of the channel members does not mean that goods will be in the right place, in the right quantities and at right time unless step are taken to do so.

Some authors have shown concern for the concept of physical distribution. Somebody like Kearney (1985:1-10) criticized all literature devoted to activating actual transfer of product as unnecessary attempt to explain the obvious. He also stress that there was no need for a separate physical distribution department as most authors have advocated, as this would duplicate service which could equally be performed by existing section of any organization. In a similar attack on physical distribution Edoga and Ani (2000:209) first describe physical distribution as a very important element of marketing mix because of the utilities it creates for consumers.

Distribution creates three types of utility. Time Utility:- is create when distribution channel makes product available for sale when the consumer want to purchase them.

Place Utility: created when goods and service are available at a convient location.

Ownership (possession) Utility: – created when the little to the product passes from the product in intermediary to purchaser. Possession utility can also result when transaction in which title does not pass to the purchase. Such as in the case of a rental car it further argue that the objectives and goals of physical distribution concept were just mashy and that no organization could over hope to maximize customers, satisfaction at the cost. Their writing made show no indication of the benefit of efficient physical distribution. The researcher dose not agrees with the two writers.

Their statement by implication seems to suggest that studies or concentrated effort aimed at the upliftment of physical distribution is a waste of time and effort. Thankful of authors like Kotler (2000), Boone and Kurtz (1992) and Kearney. These authors have stress the need for a constant appraisal of physical distribution not only to keep it up to date but also to discover and suggest ways of improving the activity. In precise words of Kotler (2000:433-440) the best distribution plan can easily falter if it is not supported by superior derision needed to ensure that the products are moved through the channels appropriately. One can therefore appreciate the negative impact a paltered distribution plan would have on the entire corporate plan. To elaborate these view,

Schewe and Saith (1990) have providing time and place utility, it is actually the physical distribution system that accomplishes this goals. Based on these views, the researcher believe that an efficient distribution system can make important addition to the bundle of utility that buyers consider as well as being an excellent means for an individual firm to create a competitive difference for its product. This will help enhance customers satisfaction which is the core ideal of marketing concept.

Further more, Kotler (2000) pointed out that customers attraction and satisfaction are deeply affected by the sellers physical distribution capabilities. Supporting Kolers views, Udeagha (1999), saw physical distribution as a potent tool in the demand creation process.   Kotler and its evolve and efficient implementation procedure that will inspire that its product available in the right place at the right time, it may guarantee unless where brand loyalty is exist a switch to competitors brand.

Some authors have viewed physical distribution as a process, some as a set of interrelated activities, whereas some regard it as a both. According to Stem and EL-Ansary (1996) in their edition marketing channel, physical distribution is the process whereby the firm organized the physical flow of goods to the right location at the right time, so as to achieve maximum satisfaction of the middle men and the ultimate consumers and by so doing achieve the turn sales and profit objectives.

The researcher recommends these definitions to all organization especially Charis sachet water, which is the subject of this research. This definition to the researcher is marketing oriented in that it re-organizes that the physical transfer of product be organize to enhance customers (research customers) satisfaction at a profit. The researcher however feels that these objectives “ effective and efficient” be used to qualify physical distribution naturally will succeed in satisfying consumers need and want at a profit. Also Kotler (1987:422-452) stated that physical distribution comprise the task involved in planning, implementing and controlling the physical flow of materials and final goods from the point of origin to the point of use or consumption to meet the need of customers at a profit.

He proceeded to emphasize that transportation is the major cost of physical distribution, followed by warehousing, inventory carrying, receiving and shipping packaging, administration and order processing. He stresses that physical distribution is a potent tool in companies can attract customers by offering better service, by cutting prices through reducing physical distribution cost. It also said that companies can loose customers when fail to make their goods available on time. Kotler also identifies that many companies stated that their physical distribution as getting the right goods at the right time for the least cost. But he argued that since physical distribution activity are highly interrelated; decision must be made on a total basis. According to him “the starting point for designing the physical distribution system is to study what the consumer want in the way of service and what the competitors are offering customers since consumers are interested in many things. On time delivery, suppliers willingness to meet the customers emerging merchandise needs, the delivery or merchandise in good condition, suppliers readiness to take back effective goods and re-supply them quickly and the supplier willingness to carry inventory for customers. Nwokoye (1981:161) said that physical distribution or logistics is concerned with the efficient movement of raw materials from the end of production line to the customer. A number of associated activities must be performed, these are grouped under four main categories called physical distribution activities centers namely, Transportation, inventory, warehousing and communication. Encyclopedia (vol. 5:196) has this to say about physical distribution. It is the second step in the series of economic processes, which brings goods and service from those who make them to those who use them for such goods, is called consumption. Distribution includes all the methods by which the goods are sent from producers to consumers. Udeagha, Okeke and Olakunle (1993:90) said that physical distribution is the term used to describe all activities that have to do with the planning and implementing the movement of goods and service from manufacturers or resellers to buyer.

These activities includes the processing of sales order, materials, handling inventory movement, demand forecasting, storage of materials, transportation and customers services among others under physical distribution management these activities are aligned in order to ensure that the right place, time and condition and at the lowest possible cost to the firm.

Again, while the term total distribution or logistics talks on broader view and look at the flow, Lornum (1985:7) said that marketing has become an increasingly important activity within the forms profit in recent years. This can be describe to the realization on the part of managers that the firm profit and indeed, its survival are inevitable tied to the satisfaction of consumers want and need. Distribution as an integral part of marketing has a role to play bringing the required goods and services to the end user. Based on these definition highlighted, the researcher views physical distribution management concerned with planning and executing the actual transfer of form utility to create time and place utilities and thus help enhance customer(s) satisfaction at a profit for the organization.

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