Course syllabus


TEK620 TEK620 Management of physical distribution lp3 VT24 (7.5 hp)

Course is offered by the department of Technology Management and Economics

Contact details


Dan Andersson,

Course assistant

Carolin Behrens, 

Course purpose

Short description of the course purpose and content: can be copied from syllabus in Studieportalen. Additional information can be added.



Course literature

See Syllabus in PDF forma in the module 

Course design

The course takes its starting point in the need for distribution that shippers (manufacturing or trading firms) have and their distribution systems. The different functions in the physical distribution system are described and it is discussed how these should be managed and by whom and the effects of different logistics concepts are analysed. The focus is on costs and revenues and factors that influence them but also environmental as well as ICT aspects are considered. Price models and resource utilization is of great importance. The general requirements and cost structures connected to different modes of transport and distribution solutions are outlined and evaluated in the light of value creating in logistics. The connection and disconnection between cost and price in logistics and transport is further developed in the terms of full cost covered or marginal costs. This is of importance since the transport industry has a large portion of fixed costs and vaguely formulated marginal costs. Pricing with a base in marginal costs in relation to full financial coverage is discussed in the light of adjustments necessary to adapt economic models to financial realities, technical aspects, organizational preconditions and demands from the market. One especially important issue is resource utilization with regards to financial as well as environmental impact. The question of overcapacity in transport systems is further complicated by the fact that many systems are forced to work alongside of each other. One way of solving this is to utilize information technology in order to control the resources and movement (e.g. tracking and tracing) of goods.

The course contains the following topics:

  • The different components and functions of the physical distribution system and their coordination and control.
  • Cost structures connected to the different physical distribution structures and combinations of modes of transport.
  • Resource utilization with regards to financial, organizational and environmental issues.
  • Division of roles and responsibilities along the distribution chain.
  • The demand for distribution services and how logistics and distribution services are procured.
  • The role of logistics service providers in physical distribution.
  • The use of information systems to control the movement and the tracking and tracing of goods.
  • Price models for physical distribution services, and marginal cost pricing in relation to average cost.
  • Customer value and consumer surplus.
  • Physical distribution in urban areas

The course is built up around lectures, seminars and a group assignment (based on a fictional case). Theory is mixed with examples of practical applications in the industry

In Canvas you will find all the course material and information you need (e.g. PowerPoints from lectures, exercises, reading material, the case description and additional information). Here you should also upload different assignments (literature seminars, case) and book meetings and register for attending seminars.


Learning objectives and syllabus

Learning objectives:

  • Analyze and explain how physical distribution systems are managed.
  • Define and analyze resource utilization from a financial as well as environmental perspective while considering contextual influences.
  • Explain the general requirements and cost structures of different distribution systems.
  • Analyse and review economic models used in distribution.
  • Explain the relationships between cost and price for logistics and transport services in physical distribution, including defining fixed and marginal costs as well as environmental effects.
  • Use tools for quantitative analysis of distribution system data.

Link to the syllabus on Studieportalen.

Study plan


Examination form

The examination consists of the following elements: seminar hand-ins, active participation in the seminars, hand in of the case report and participation in the case presentation/discussion, and finally a written exam. All of the individual parts of the examination must reach a minimum level for passing the course. In total these parts give 100 points and the course is graded as follows:

  • Failed < 40% 
  • 3 ≥ 40 %
  • 4 ≥ 60 %
  • 5 ≥ 80 %

The points for each part in the course are as follows:

  • written exam: 0-66 points (pass 26p)
  • case assignment: 0-25 points (pass 10 p)
  • seminar I: 4 points
  • seminar II: 4 points
  • seminar III: 1 point

Literature seminars

Three literature seminars are a mandatory part of the course. Each seminar assignment consists of two parts: (1) individually written answers to seminar questions and formulation of an own question, to be submitted before the seminar, (2) answering questions during the seminar and active participation in the seminar discussion.

Each seminar will be based on assigned readings and specific questions, which will be provided in Canvas. To be allowed to participate in the seminars, you are required to individually answer the questions and submit these before each seminar. If your answers to the questions are insufficient to obtain the points for the seminar I and II you will be given the opportunity to update your answers after the seminar.

Time table

Sem I 30th January and hand-in 29th January

Sem II 9th February and hand-in 7th February

Sem III 1th March and hand-in 28th February

Further instructions will be provided in Canvas where you will find the assignments for each of the three seminars.


Case assignment

The case assignment is to be solved by a group of students, who are supposed to play the role of members of a consultant team. Your team is working for a logistics manager (at a made up company), who needs support when analysing a distribution system. You will get support and guidance by a supervisor, who you during the course will meet at two supervision meetings. Each group may have a meeting with the CEO of the case company (or with someone acting on his behalf). The CEO will give you information based on his knowledge of the company. He will focus on getting the best advice from you and will not give any specific instructions regarding how you should carry out your work.

The presentation and discussion of your work will be held 8th March and the report will be handed in 6th March.

Detailed instructions will be provided in Canvas. At the same place you will also find an initial information package for the case, which includes: background, shipment data, and an internal report about a new distribution set up. Additional information about the case will be provided continuously.