Integrating the warehousing and transportation functions of the supply chain

Scott J. Mason, P. Mauricio Ribera, Jennifer A. Farris, Randall G. Kirk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


Electronic commerce and associated business-to-business transaction capabilities have changed the way in which supply chains operate. The Internet has enabled information exchange on an unprecedented scale, often at a pace too fast for normal consumption. Companies are not equipped to make effective use of data from warehouse management systems-which contain information on supplier/customer warehouse inventory levels and key customer ordering patterns-and transportation management systems-within which information pertaining to the location of important supply chain assets such as products or vehicles is typically stored. These systems are key factors in integrating the physical flow of goods along the supply chain. The integration of these systems leads to global inventory visibility, which, in turn, leads to reduced costs and improved customer service by decreasing shipping and receiving cycle times, increasing shipment and inventory accuracy, and decreasing lead-time variability. This paper examines the total cost benefits that can be achieved by suppliers and warehouses through the increased global visibility provided by an integrated system. We develop a discrete event simulation model of a multi-product supply chain to examine the potential benefits to be gained from global inventory visibility and trailer yard dispatching and sequencing techniques. Experimental results demonstrate the potential for this integrated paradigm to improve customer service through improved efficiencies, reduced costs, and reduced lead-time variability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-159
Number of pages19
JournalTransportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2003


  • Logistics
  • Supply chain management
  • Transportation
  • Warehouse management systems


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