Factors affecting vehicle utilisation: An analysis of the recent development in the UK FMCG distribution networks

Pratyush Dadhich, Maja Piecyk, A Palmer, Philip Greening, Richard Holden

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    Purpose: Maintaining a high level of vehicle utilisation is vital to a cost and carbon efficient transport operation. Recent statistics show that 28.6% of truck kms in the UK are run empty, with the reminder loaded to, on average, only 63% of their maximum weight capacity (Department for Transport, 2015). This paper investigates recent developments in the distribution networks of nine large companies from the UK fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector. We aim to identify factors that may be affecting utilisation of transport resources.

    Research Approach: The analysis was completed using two comprehensive UK transport data sets for a single month in 2010 and 2013 provided by the participating FMCG manufacturing and retail companies. The data comprised of volumes of inbound, inter-depot and outbound freight flows, origins, destinations, depot location and vehicle type used. The changes in the number and locations of depots, volume of freight moved and delivery patterns over the three year period were then analysed. Finally, main causes underlying the recent developments were explored in a series of follow-up interviews with participating organisations.

    Findings and Originality: Between 2010 and 2013, the amount of goods (measured as a number of pallets equivalent) delivered to customers increased by 8% and number of movements increased by 5%. The analysis indicates an increase in the frequency of deliveries, and a drop in the average order size in secondary distribution, indicating a strong Just-in-time (JIT) pressure in the sector. A number of companies in the sample restructured their logistics networks during the period; overall, fewer depots operated in 2013 compared to 2010.
    Research Impact: This paper provides an insight into the latest developments in the FMCG distribution networks, and their impact on transport fleets utilisation. The key contributing factors are identified and suggestions for future research provided.

    Practical Impact: The findings will support managers in the development of strategies aiming to increase operational and environmental efficiency of logistics activities in the FMCG sector.

    Keywords: vehicle utilisation, distribution networks, FMCG, delivery patterns, road freight transport

    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    Event20th International Symposium on Logistics - , Italy
    Duration: 5 Jul 20158 Jul 2015


    Conference20th International Symposium on Logistics
    Abbreviated titleISL2015


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