Determining the optimal location for a distribution centre in Allier, France.
[Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)]
The current dissertation aims at determining the optimal location of a distribution centre in the department of Allier, in France.
This particular topic is inspired by the strategic geographical position of the department in France but also at the European level. This strategic position links to the transportation network whether it be Europe-wide, national-wide or department-wide enables to reach most of the main European area of consumption in less than one day.
In order to fully understand this topic, a literature review based on logistics and transport, the role of a distribution centre in the supply chain have been realized. During this literature review, the strategic impact of location has been highlighted and its objectives stated. The approach to site selection has been described, especially based on the framework given by Freese (Freese, 1997). Several factors influencing the location decision have been identified such as market proximity, labour availability and productivity, costs, infrastructures access and availability and so on.
Another literature review focused on various location models has been carried out and identified models and programs such as the Weighted Sum Method, the Centre-of-Gravity Method, mix-integer programs, continuous and network location programs, for instance.
A description of the importance of the transport and logistics activities in the European Union and in France has been described and the transportation networks studied ad described, as well as the European Commission agenda concerning the development of European corridors and the implementation of a global European network.
The department of Allier has been briefly presented and its main assets in terms of logistics and transport activities highlighted. The transport infrastructures available in the department have been described and quantified. Finally, the logistics estate availabilities have been research and summarized.
Eight alternative locations for a distribution centre have been identified and are the adopted in the study.
As this study is not based on any company project, it does not have any specific data regarding the amount of goods transported or data on operating costs, transportation costs and so on.
Consequently, the methodology considered to determine the optimal location of a distribution centre in Allier is the Weighted Sum Method.
The criteria used are the distance to demand points, the access to road transportation network, the railway network connection, the availability of workforce, the education system and the space available.
As this methods is highly influenced by subjectivity, the results of this study are discussed. An opening is made on the possibility to conduct a broader study involving European companies’ decision-makers and local authorities and using at least two different methods of location problem to ensure an optimal solution that would consider economic and operational constraints, regulations and other qualitative aspects.
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