Physical distribution and logistics

The area of business management that is responsible for the movement of raw materials and finished products and development of movement system is called physical distribution. The study and practice of physical distribution and logistics emerged later. The major functions of physical distribution include customer service, order processing, inventory control, transportation and logistics and packaging. It is capable of creating a competitive advantage for organisations. Physical distribution and logistics were somewhat synonymous terms. Physical distribution was the first to emerge, whereas Business logistics, with its broader scope that includes inbound movement, followed later. Since the activities related to logistics were not considered important it led to fragmentation. There were very little attempts made to integrate and balance the activities of logistics .There were no focused distribution or logistics courses in kerala available i.e. not much of an opportunity for managers to learn about the broader concepts of logistics. Later on physical distribution emerged as an area of study. The importance of physical distribution was expanded to include physical supply and was called business logistics. The term Logistics was used to focus on logistics activities that took place within the business firm. Purchasing was not generally considered nor was production. On the other hand, there was a similar movement by those interested in the purchasing activity. Since purchasing was considered as a buying activity, there were efforts to expand the scope to include many of the activities familiar to physical distribution but associated with the inbound side of the firm. Physical distribution indicates a broader concept that includes both inbound and outbound movement whereas business logistics involves both physical supply and physical distribution.

Utilities of time and place are usually considered as physical distribution or logistics activities. Since marketing and production were established functions within business, they laid claim to physical distribution, but their lack of attention led physical distribution (logistics) to be developed as a separate entity and as a new function within the organizational structure. There are several lessons to be learned from the past. Physical distribution and logistics were considered to have broad responsibilities for managing activities that were associated with raw material acquisition till the product flow to the end consumer. Experts did include distribution as a primary activity in the marketing mix, however, distribution seemed to be defined more in terms of transaction channel activities than physical distribution ones. Since the scope of physical distribution was extensive, actual management practice was generally limited to coordination of activities within the logistics function or among those activities associated with product flow. Physical distribution and logistics were accepted by both marketing and production areas, but they gave little attention to issues of product flow. As a result physical distribution and logistics developed as an independent function within business. Thus logistics costs were high and that there was an unrealized opportunity to reduce them. A proper Planning, implementation storage of goods and services, and other related information required in order to meet customer requirements is what comes under the process of logistics. It can be concluded that Logistics will continue to grow in importance as companies continue to outsource, expand their international operations, and do business in a global economic environment.

Top 11 Warehouse Operations Best Practices

With the adoption of good warehousing practices, we can improve warehouse operations. Warehouse management if done right can reduce costs, improve customer satisfaction and increase warehouse operational efficiency. The top 11 warehouse management best practices to improve operations are:

Warehouse Picking Best Practices

1. Using standardized containers to store materials simplify order fulfilment, makes it easier to find and store materials, and giving the warehouse a neater appearance that improves the organization. Using standardized bins minimize the variety of material handling equipment you need. They also eliminate wasted time while pickers search for the right equipment.

2. Use bin locations to ensure that bins and pallets are placed carefully on shelves at the assigned location. This can minimize lost or misplaced inventory and reduces time spent looking for materials.

3. Use clear, readable labels that can be read by people as well as scanners or other equipment to further reduce errors.

4. Implement cross-docking to speed up operations and eliminate excessive inventory handling by delivering goods needed for orders to the shipping dock without making a stop in the warehouse. This reduces the order cycle time and material handling costs

Warehouse Organization Best Practices

  1. Warehouse square footage is expensive, so maximize the use of all your vertical space, even if it requires an investment in additional equipment. You will reduce operational costs, inventory carrying costs, and increase the efficiency of picking and packing operations
  2. Utilize automation wherever possible. Use barcodes, RFID tags, NFC or whatever technology works best for your inventory mix so you always have accurate on-hand counts and locations. Barcode equipment is not an expensive choice — you can even use a mobile phone.
  3. One of the most cost-effective ways to use automation is with an AS/RS. It greatly increases the efficiency of picking and packing operations, and reduces lost or misplaced materials and picking errors. You will be able to ship a greater number of perfect orders with an AS/RS in place.
  4. Adopt a warehouse management solution for maximum efficiency. A good warehouse management solution will consolidate orders so that you can minimize travel time during picking, increasing efficiency and throughput. It can integrate with your ERP or inventory management system so that your inventory stays in sync — increasing accuracy, reducing costs and improving customer satisfaction.
  5. Use omni-channel distribution centers rather than separate warehouses or sections for each channel. You will be able to reduce the total inventory in your supply chain, have greater visibility into availability, and simplify order picking and reverse logistics colleges in kerala.

    Warehouse Inventory Management Best Practices

  6. Many people think of cycle counting as an inventory management tactic for keeping on-hand balances correct. While that is one positive aspect of the practice, the more important aspect is to treat cycle counting as a quality assurance test. When you find errors, don’t just correct the balance. Instead, investigate the reason for the discrepancy and make changes to your warehouse management procedures to prevent the issue from occurring again. Over time, a good cycle count program will improve accuracy to near perfection.
  7. Integrate AS/RS and WMS solutions. These two technologies work together, each increasing the usefulness of the other. Managing a warehouse is simpler with the right equipment in place.

Top 5 Warehouse Management Mistakes

It isn’t easy to manage a warehouse, but it is easy to overlook some of the more common issues that sap productivity and increase costs.

      1. Poor Warehouse Inventory Management

Too much inventory in too little space, or the wrong kind of storage for the goods in the warehouse, can lead to warehouse management problems. Keeping obsolete inventory in the warehouse is another issue — it occupies space and reduces a team’s productivity because employees must periodically count the inventory or move it to make room for more current goods. Excess inventory tends to cause inaccurate inventory records and misplaced inventory as the warehouse team struggles to find space for materials. While warehouse management often takes the blame for inaccurate or misplaced inventory, it’s really the fault of the inventory team and management process. Keeping inventories lean by optimizing order quantities, employing just-in-time or lean methodologies to minimize stock on hand, and disposing of obsolete materials will help ensure that warehouse inventory stays as accurate as possible.

      1. Skipping Cycle Counts and Physical Inventory

Sometimes warehouse employees avoid taking physical inventories or performing periodic cycle counts because they believe it wastes time and is unnecessary. This is not the case, even when your inventory records are more than 99 percent accurate. Periodic cycle counts should not be done to simply correct balances; but rather cycle counting should be considered a quality management safeguard. Whenever an error is uncovered, rather than simply correcting the on-hand count, the team should undertake an investigation into how the inaccuracy occurred. Finding and filling gaps in procedures will improve warehouse inventory accuracy for all items, not just the occasional discrepancy.

      1. Sticking With an Inefficient Layout

While it isn’t easy to dismantle an entire warehouse to create a new or more efficient layout, improving the layout doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing project. Too often,warehouse management never makes any changes from the original design, even if the product mix has dramatically changed.

It makes sense to review the layout and product mix periodically — at least annually — to ensure that there is still a good match. If it appears that productivity could be improved by slotting products in a new location or by replacing some of the racking, this minor undertaking can have a major effect on productivity.

      1. Not Taking Advantage of Warehouse Management Technology

A warehouse management or warehouse execution software (WES) solution consolidate picking lists into the most efficient picking order, eliminating multiple trips to the same location; or a warehouse management system (WMS) helping to eliminate paper by sending pick lists to mobile devices, ensuring that the latest version is the one in use. A WES keeps track of inventory locations, quantities on hand and operational status of equipment and personnel. Without a WES, the warehouse is at a productivity disadvantage and will have higher operating costs than similar warehouses that operate with a WMS.

      1. Avoiding Warehouse Management Automation

There are many kinds of warehouse automation available — everything from barcode data collection equipment to automated storage and retrieval solutions. Almost every warehouse can benefit from implementing automation.

Automated storage and retrieval solutions allow the warehouse to store a large volume of material in a small footprint. They increase productivity by eliminating unnecessary travel time and improve inventory accuracy by helping to ensure that workers always pick the right materials.


Will warehouses be taken over robots? How GST impacted businesses in India?
The logistics and transport trends in India and the world are

To accomplish higher profitability and efficiencies organizations should AUTOMATE a portion of their supply chain processes. Warehousing, for example, has a tremendous potential to profit by automation. With Amazon utilizing its Robotics division to help with picking orders, restocking and shelving, there’s a great deal of buzz about robots replacing workers. Our interpretation of that is applied autonomy, and different types of mechanization will rise as an extremely appealing alternative. Be that as it may, they will work together with representatives as opposed to supplant them.

We expect to see stricter EU-UK border controls, which may affect road haulage. The good news is that with increased domestic activity within the UK, shipping is likely to get a boost.

2016 was a year of rampant mergers and acquisitions, especially in the global shipping industry. It will be more of CONSOLIDATION of these large players.

Trade and logistics went through an adjustment period in the aftermath of the DEMONETISATION drive in India. As the supply of cash improves, exports and imports are expected to improve and drive up GDP numbers.

E-COMMERCE has been changing the rules of coordination and transportation previously and will continue steamrolling, with Amazon driving the way, be it with apply mechanical technology driven stockroom activities or setting up new sending courses. Conventional coordinations suppliers should keep pace

FREIGHT volumes in shipping will continue to be high, despite rates going up. Global air freight tonnage is expected to show an upward trend, buoyed by the growth showed in 2016. Truckload volumes are also expected to go up.

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) will have long-term implications on the logistics and infrastructure set-up of the nation. It won’t just make transportation more effective yet will likewise introduce a time of very highly organised logistics and transportation in India.

HIGHWAY construction will strengthen road infrastructure in the country.
Businesses will prefer to engage INTEGRATED SERVICE PROVIDERS to manage end-to-end logistics and transport, and to bring in better control, visibility and efficiencies.

JOINT VENTURES may help providers to find synergies in their operations and see opportunities in unexplored markets.

When consolidation happens, the global transport and logistics industry will be about a few large providers and their success will depend on their KNOWLEDGE of the local markets they operate in.

LCL and FCL rates might go up due to reduced global vessel capacities. Also, the complexities of the business environment will make it imperative to bring in world-class innovations to help their clients shipping cargo across international borders.

As the world goes mobile, providers will look at integrating the MOBILE applications to provide smarter solutions to their clients in the transport and logistics.

Large and established logistics will need to contend with disruptors like Uber .

PORTS, all over the world are undergoing a massive transformation. Plans to develop around 40 ports in India to boost transport and logistics.

There will an increased QUEST on hiring the right kind of talent as the industry braces up for the adoption of high-end technology and regulatory compliance.

In India, the rollout of GST will change industry dynamics.

SUPPLY CHAIN DEMANDS will be focused on ensuring on-time last-mile deliveries to keep pace with the rise of disruptors and unconventional business models.

VOLATILITY, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity (VUCA) will not leave the world anytime soon. The logistics and transportation industry will need to contend with volatility in demand and uncertainties in the economy.

India will soon see the emergence of WAREHOUSING HUBS as a result of the implementation of GST. Some of the cities are Bhubaneshwar, Coimbatore, Goa, Guwahati, Jaipur, Nagpur, Ranchi, Vijayawada and so forth.

Financial YIELDS for the overall logistics and transportation courses in kerala industry is expected to be good. For Indian operators, it may turn out to be a great year, after the implementation of the GST.

The ZEITGEIST of the logistics and transportation industry makes it the right time to make investments in advanced technologies, automation, equipment, and hiring.

Difference between Logistics and Supply Chain Management

Logistics Management which is a small part of Supply Chain Management and it manages the administration of products in an effective way. When we discuss Supply Chain Management, it is a more extensive term which alludes to the association, ideal from the providers to a definitive purchaser. Individuals are constantly confounded between these two ideas.

It has been seen that there has been an extreme change in the way in which business is led numerous years prior and now. Because of the change in the innovation, you can see every one of the regions of business has been produced. Store network Management additionally developed as a change over Logistics Management, from past years. Presently getting to the meaningful part, we should begin understanding the distinction amongst Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

Comparison Chart





The way toward coordinating the development and upkeep of products in and out the organization is Logistics.

The coordination and management of the supply chain activities are known as Supply Chain Management.


Customer Satisfaction

Competitive Advantage


The concept of Logistics has been evolved earlier.

Supply Chain Management is a modern concept.

How many organizations are involved?



One in another

Logistics Management is a part of Supply Chain Management.

Supply Chain Management is the modern version of Logistics Management.


Definition of Logistics Management

The administration procedure which coordinates the development of products, management, data and capital, appropriate from the sourcing of raw material, till it reaches its end shopper is known as Logistics Management. The target behind this procedure is to furnish the correct item with the correct quality at the perfect time in the ideal place at the correct cost to a definitive client. The strategic exercises are separated into two general classifications they are:

  • Inbound Logistics: The activities which are concerned with procurement of material, handling, storage and transportation
  • Outbound Logistics: The activities which are concerned with the collection, maintenance and distribution or delivery to the final consumer.

Apart from these, different activities included are warehousing, protective packing of products, order fulfillment, stock control, keeping up balance amongst demand and supply, stock management. This will bring about funds in cost and time, fantastic items and so on.

Definition of Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Management (SCM) is a system of related exercises of change and development from crude material to the completed merchandise till it scopes to the end customer. It is the aftereffect of the undertakings of various associations that supported in making this chain of activities productive.

These organizations may incorporate the organizations with whom the association is as of now working like accomplices or providers, makers, wholesalers, retailers and purchasers. The exercises may incorporate coordination, sourcing, acquisition, generation, testing, co ordinations, client administrations, execution estimation, and so on.

Supply Chain Management has a multi-dimensional approach which deals with the flow of raw materials and work in progress (semi finished goods) within the organization and the final result outside the organization till it achieves the hands of the last buyer with an entire accentuation on the client prerequisite.

Key Differences between Logistics and Supply Chain Management

The below mentioned points are the major differences between logistics and supply chain management:

  1. The flow and storage of goods inside and outside the firm is known as Logistics. The movement and integration of supply chain activities is known as Supply Chain Management.
  2. The major aim of Logistics is complete customer satisfaction whereas behind Supply chain Management it is to get substantial competitive advantage.
  3. There is only one organization involved in Logistics while a number of organizations are involved in Supply Chain Management.
  4. Supply Chain Management is a modern concept as compared to Logistics.
  5. Logistics is only an activity of Supply Chain Management.


Logistics is an extremely old term, initially utilized as a part of the military, for the upkeep, stockpiling and transportation of armed force people and merchandise. These days, this term is utilized as a part of numerous circles, not particularly in military after the development of the idea of Supply Chain Management. It has likewise been said that SCM is an expansion over  and also SCM includes logistics. Both are indistinguishable, thus they don’t contradict yet supplement each other. SCM encourages Logistics to be in contact with the transportation, stockpiling and appropriation group.

What you mean by the term logistics ?

The term “logistics” is having the right thing, at the right place, at the right time. According to NATO “Logistics is the science of planning and carrying out the movement and maintenance of forces.” It is of vital importance for any military operation and, without it, operations could not be carried out and sustained. Logistics is the bridge between deployed forces and the industrial base, which produces the material and weapons deployed forces need to accomplish their mission.

Logistics covers the different areas which are subdivided into three domains:

Production logistics,

In-service logistics and

Consumer logistics.

This could be further explained as

Production logistics

Production logistics, which is also known as acquisition logistics, belongs to the industrial domain. It is all about planning, design, development and procurement of equipment and includes: standardization and interoperability, contracting, quality assurance, acquiring spares, reliability and maintainability analysis, safety standards for equipment, specifications and production processes, trials and testing, codification, equipment documentation, and configuration control and modifications.

In-service logistics

In-service logistics is to bridge the gap between production and consumer logistics. The functions are associated with procuring, receiving, storing, distributing and disposing of material that is required to maintain military equipment and supply forces. Beyond ensuring that weapons systems are available and fit for use, in-service support actually begins with the decision to bring the system into the inventory.

Consumer logistics

Consumer logistics, which is also known as operational logistics, is concerned with the supply and support functions of forces. This includes reception of the initial product, storage, transport, maintenance, operation and disposal of material. Consumer Logistics majorly consists of having stock control, facilities construction,movement and control, reliability and about defect reporting, storage safety standards, training related to transport and handling.


NATO is responsible for a number of functions. There responsibilities in the field of logistics is through the core functions they fulfil. This function comprises of:


Supply covers material and items which are used in the equipment, support, and maintenance of military forces. It includes the determination of stock levels, provisioning, distribution and replenishment.


Maintenance refers to actions like repair, to retain the material or restore it to a specified condition. The operational readiness will depend to a great extent on a high standard of preventive maintenance.

Movement and transportation

A flexible capability if required for movement of forces in a timely manner within or between theatres. Also it includes logistic support necessary to mount and sustain operations.

Infrastructure engineering for logistics

Infrastructure engineering always works with close coordination with logistics for better communication and construction of support facilities. Overall, the engineering mission bridges the gap from logistics colleges in kerala to operations and is closely related to the ultimate success of both.

Medical support

Medical support plays a vital role in force protection. It is considered a morale booster and a potential force multiplier.

Enabling functions

In addition to the core functions, there are enabling functions, including:

Logistic information management

Reception, staging and onward movement


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