Physical distribution in South Africa : a review and a system design for hanging textile merchandise

Master Thesis


Permanent link to this Item
Journal Title
Link to Journal
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

University of Cape Town

The subject of physical distribution was first examined in the early 1900s. It was developed and refined especially during World II under the name of 'Logistics', and began to be adopted in the field of business from the 1950s. From the 1960s onwards, national bodies have been established, both in the U.S. and the U.K., and works and theories have been published leading to the establishment of journals and the establishment of formal education programmes all dealing with physical distribution. A review of published works on the subject was undertaken. Some books were studied, as well as a number of journal articles dating from the early 1970s. No suitable references were obtained dealing with the subject in a South African context. A project was also carried out to design a system for distributing garments in a hanging mode. The thesis thus concerns a general review of physical distribution management and the distribution of goods and services throughout business and industry, with an emphasis being placed on south African conditions. The principal objectives of this study were to examine and review the state-of-the-art of the general theory and the use of physical distribution, to suggest means of applying it in South Africa and to briefly examine future trends and developments. These objectives were achieved by examining from books and articles the concept and theory of distribution, its interrelationships with aspects such as marketing, production and business organisations, and its management in business organisations: by discussing some characteristics of South African business and industry; by examining certain areas that provide the greatest potential for improvements: by discussing a project carried out to design a distribution system for hanging garments merchandise; and by examining future trends both overseas and in South Africa. Physical distribution is shown to be an important subject for business and society and for the economy as a whole. It is always changing in a dynamic environment and requires constant monitoring. This thesis shows how this field, which has been researched and developed overseas, is affected by local conditions and should be applied to specific areas in South Africa.

Bibliography: pages 149-150.