Login



For PLUS+ subscription assistance, contact customer service.

Not a PLUS+ Subscriber?

Become a PLUS+ Subscriber today and you'll get access to all Supply Chain Management Review premium content including:

  • Full Web Access
  • 7 Magazine Issues per Year
  • Companion Digital Editions
  • Digital Edition Archives
  • Bonus Email Newsletters

Subscribe Today!

Premium access to exclusive online content, companion digital editions, magazine issues and email newsletters.

Subscribe Now.


Become a PLUS+ subscriber and you'll get access to all Supply Chain Management Review premium content including:

  • Full Web Access. All feature articles, bonus reports and industry research through scmr.com.

  • 7 Magazine Issues per year of Supply Chain Management Review magazine.

  • Companion Digital Editions. Searchable replicas of each magazine issue. Read them in any web browser. Delivered by email faster than printed issues.

  • Digital Editions Archives. Every article, every chart and every table as it appeared in the magazine for all archive issues back to 2009.

  • Bonus email newsletters. Add convenient weekly and monthly email newsletters to your subscription to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry.

PLUS+ subscriptions start as low as $109/year*. Begin yours now.
That's less than $0.36 per day for access to information that you can use year-round to better manage your entire global supply chain.

For assistance with your PLUS+ subscription, contact customer service.

* Prices higher for subscriptions outside the USA.

PLUS+ Customer Service Support


Customer service for all PLUS+ subscribers is available Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm Eastern time.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 1-800-598-6067 (1-508-663-1500 x294 outside USA)
Mail: PO Box 1496, Framingham MA 01701-1496, USA



You have been logged out of PLUS+


For PLUS+ subscription assistance, contact customer service.

Need to access our premium PLUS+ Content?
Upgrade your subscription now.


Our records show that you are currently receiving a free subscription to Supply Chain Management Review magazine, or your subscription has expired. To access our premium content, you need to upgrade your subscription to our PLUS+ status.

To upgrade your subscription account, please contact customer service at:

Email: [email protected] Phone: 1-800-598-6067 (1-508-663-1500 x294 outside USA)

Become a PLUS+ subscriber and you'll get access to all Supply Chain Management Review premium content including:

  • Full Web Access. All feature articles, bonus reports and industry research through scmr.com.

  • 7 Magazine Issues per year of Supply Chain Management Review magazine.

  • Companion Digital Editions. Searchable replicas of each magazine issue. Read them in any web browser. Delivered by email faster than printed issues.

  • Digital Editions Archives. Every article, every chart and every table as it appeared in the magazine for all archive issues back to 2010.

  • Bonus email newsletters. Add convenient weekly and monthly email newsletters to your subscription to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry.

PLUS+ subscriptions start as low as $129/year*. Start yours now.
That's less than $0.36 per day for access to information that you can use year-round to better manage your entire global supply chain.

This content is available for PLUS+ subscribers.


Already a PLUS+ subscriber?


To begin or upgrade your subscription, Become a PLUS+ subscriber now.

For assistance with your PLUS+ subscription, contact customer service.

Sorry, but your login to PLUS+ has failed.


Please recheck your login information and resubmit below.



For PLUS+ subscription assistance, contact customer service.

What Are the Best Delivery Options for Small Format Stores?

The MIT CTL researchers tested and compared various delivery policies for a large, multinational retail corporation to find the optimal multi-temperature delivery strategy for small format stores

By ·
By ·

Editor’s Note: Every year, 40 or so students in the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics’ (MIT CTL) Master of Supply Chain Management (SCM) program complete one-year thesis research projects. The students are early-career business professionals from multiple countries with 2 to 10 years of experience in the industry. The research projects are sponsored by and carried out in collaboration with multinational corporations. Joint teams of company people, MIT SCM students, and MIT CTL faculty work on real-world problems chosen by the sponsoring companies. In this monthly, series we summarize a selection of the latest SCM research. The researchers for the project described below, Mayurpankhi Barooah and Seung Hwan Shin, analyzed store delivery methods for their SCM thesis Optimal Multi-Temperature Delivery Frequency for Small Format Stores. The work was carried out for a major retailer, and the project was supervised by MIT CTL’s Dr. Chris Caplice, Dr. Francisco Jauffred, and Dr. Edgar Blanco. For more information on the program, visit http://scm.mit.edu/program.

In response to demographic trends and slower growth in existing market segments, large retail companies are opening smaller format stores.

The optimal strategy for delivering goods from distribution centers (DCs) to these smaller outlets differs from that for larger stores, owing to the smaller volumes involved. This is particularly the case for groceries that need to be delivered at different temperatures, i.e. ambient, refrigerated, or frozen. The need to cater for these three types of shipments adds complexity and lowers item volumes.

The MIT CTL researchers tested and compared various delivery policies for a large, multinational retail corporation to find the optimal multi-temperature delivery strategy for small format stores

More stops, more complexity

The retailer, referred to as RetailCo, operates several large discount department stores and warehouse stores. The typical size of its small format stores is approximately 40,000 ft2, compared to traditional outlets that are approximately four times as large. RetailCo expects a significant part of its future growth to come from these smaller stores.

Currently, grocery items are delivered to the small format stores in exactly the same way as for larger outlets. Trucks pick up grocery products from a DC and deliver the items to different stores in a sequential manner. However, since the volumes are low for small format stores, this method translates into a large number of stops. In addition to making the delivery process more complicated, increasing the number of stops can cause drivers’ to run out of allowable work hours as permitted by government regulations.

One way to address these inefficiencies is to ‘mix’ products at different temperatures in multi-temperature trailers. This approach might help to consolidate demand, thereby reducing the number of stops.
The researchers examined this method, and considered which delivery frequencies and days of service worked best for different kinds of products.

Multi-temp excels

Using multi-temperature trailers with multiple stops showed the lowest cost per pallet, as well as higher trailer utilization rate and higher delivery frequency compared to other delivery configurations. The next best option was using multi-temperature trailers with dedicated, single-store delivery. The current policy of using single-temperature trailers making multiple stops was one of the least cost effective options owing to the higher cost of delivery.

In addition to this base scenario, the analysis considered several other scenarios that provided further insights into the best mix of delivery options. For example, the primary factors that influence the choice of multi-temperature trailers over single-temperature types were demand volume by product category, distances between the DC and stores, and delivery frequency.

In short, smaller volumes, longer distances, and more frequent deliveries increased the benefits of using multi-temperature trailers for delivery.

For further information on the research contact Dr. Bruce Arntzen, Executive Director, MIT Supply Chain Management Program, at: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The Optimal Multi-Temperature Delivery Frequency for Small Format Stores thesis was the co-winner of the 2015 best SCM thesis award.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

Subscribe to Supply Chain Management Review Magazine!

Subscribe today. Don't Miss Out!
Get in-depth coverage from industry experts with proven techniques for cutting supply chain costs and case studies in supply chain best practices.
Start Your Subscription Today!

Latest Whitepaper
Plan. Manage. Recover. The power of risk management and resilience.
Savvy supply chain managers are putting risk management at the top of their to-do lists, planning for the recovery following inevitable disruptions.
Download Today!
From the September-October 2017
Additive manufacturing and 3D printing promise to simplify manufacturing, reduce inventories, and streamline operations. But, to determine when and how to apply additive manufacturing, organizations need a decision model that assesses it’s market strategy, supply chain performance, and complexity.
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!


Latest Webcast
Risk and Resiliency 2.0:  Three New Keys to Managing Supply Chain Risk
It’s no longer enough to simply identify risk. In Risk Management 2.0, resiliency is the name of the game. This webinar explains how leading firms are broadening their view of risk; expanding it to include the impact on reputation and social responsibility; and elevating the corporate and strategic importance of risk management.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Clean Cargo Working Group Launches Annual Emissions Factors
The Clean Cargo Working Group reached a major milestone of 50 corporate members
Data Management “Hype Cycle” Revealed in Gartner 2017 Report
The “Hype Cycle for Data Management,” developed by Gartner, Inc. is designed to assist CIOs,...

Tech Innovation Creates Some Jobs But Puts Others at Risk
The dramatic opening of the global economy, combined with the rapid pace of technological change,...
Deloitte Report Gives Atlanta High Marks for Supply Chain Connectivity
SupplyChainCity Analysis places the region among top seven North American cities