Distribution Planning : Steps to Develop Good Distribution Planning

It is not easy to manage a business these days, whether you have a local storefront or an online business. The competition is tough and in order to keep up, you will need the right knowledge, skills, and thorough planning.

When it comes to getting the materials and products to consumers, you will need to consider distribution planning.

Distribution planning covers the delivery of materials to delivery points, and to the consumers.

The plan is focused more on the flow of materials and the stock levels. There are several techniques and philosophies followed by businesses to achieve their goals, which are as follows:

• Push/pull technique
• DRP or distribution requirements planning
• Optimization techniques
• Collaboration techniques

The philosophy or technique that you choose to adopt will depend on several factors like the product you’re selling, the supply, and the characteristics of the market.

To avoid overstocking or shortages, inventory deployment strategies must also be followed. Since the distribution network is quite large, it is important that the authorities and responsibilities at different levels must be identified as well. The plan should identify those involved in the inventories and stock replenishment to ensure a smooth flow of the business.

It is up to the management whether to designate a department or person to handle distribution planning or to hire a professional. Either way, the distribution planning effort must be able to define the right strategy to use, the process or philosophy that should be applied, information systems, defining the planning tools, and many others.

Even distribution planning comes in all sizes and shapes. To ensure the wellbeing of the business, the plan should not be treated as the ‘end’.

In fact, you need to exert more effort in effective implementation of whatever plan you’ve designed. If you know how to prepare a business plan, the distribution planning will not sound so foreign to you.

Once you sit down and begin with distribution planning, you are already working on the implementation of the plan, and the achievement of success in the near future. If a team is designated to handle distribution planning, all the tasks must be divided equally among team members. This is to ensure that no time is wasted and they maximum output is obtained.

To make sure that the plans work, you should also focus on the ‘how’ aspect and not just the feasibility assessment; aside from this, there is also a need to look into the impact of the plan on the whole organization and its resources.

There are also planning barriers that you must anticipate. For instance, a thorough plan should have an overall goal. You must identify what you want the business to achieve after careful planning for the distribution of products. Always consider the present market condition and conduct some forecasting as well.

Taking into account the future is a good way to guarantee success.

Everyone involved in the distribution phase must be informed about the plan. With the cooperation of every employee, the success rate is higher.

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