Outbound logistics

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Outbound logistics
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Outbound logistics uses a combination of truck and rail transportation to deliver the finished product to retailers. Retailers within a 500-mile radius of the plant typically receive vehicles via truck delivery, and the remaining retailers receive vehicles via rail. Autohauler trucks and trilevel railcars are used to move vehicles. Although the outbound logistics process has not received the same attention and accolades as the inbound process, also employs many innovative practices for finished vehicle transportation[1].

The outbound logistics is an area of big concern for organizations seeking to expand from local to international markets. Company having limited resources, this is a real problem. Both as finance and as competent personnel, are lower than those of large enterprises. There are examples of companies that have made substantial efforts to sell to new market areas, but did not succeed and finally withdrew from the location[2].

Roles in the outbound logistics chain

Outbound logistics is the process related to the movement and storage of products from the end of the production line to the end user. The actors of the supply chain play different roles in the outbound logistics flow. The responsibilities corresponding to the different roles are[3]:

  • Shipper has received an order from a client, and does a logistic request to a carrier for the delivery of that order.
  • Carrier

The Strategic Planner: decides on the services that are offered on the long term, on the use of infrastructure, on the logistic resources to hold and on the client's acceptation conditions.

The scheduler: orders transports to be realized, according to the strategic network and constraints, coordinates with the infrastructure manager and assign logistic requests to those transports such that the delivery requirements are met

  • Infrastructure Manager holds the logistic infrastructure and coordinates with the carrier's scheduler to offer the network for the planned transports.

Heavy Outbound

A chemical company offers a good example of logistics system with a heavy outbound flow. Inbound crude oil by-products, salt water, and other raw materials flow from a limited number of sources and frequently move in volume over relatively short distances. Inbound transportation modes might include motor, rail, ocean, and pipeline. On the outbound side, a wide variety of industrial products are manufactured that need storage, packaging, and transportation (motor, rail, ocean, and pipeline) to the final customer. Therefore, in an organization with a heavy outbound flow, the physical distribution side of the logistics system is more complex[4].


  1. R.G. Kasilingam 1999, p.260
  2. H. Kotzab, J. Pannek, K.D. Thoben 2015, p.429-430
  3. J. Filipe, J. Cordeiro 2010, p.556-557
  4. J. Coyle, C. Langley, B. Gibson, R. Novack, E. Bardi 2008, p.63


Author: Michał Duch