The chain of distribution is the entire process of getting goods from the manufacturer into the hands of consumers. The chain includes sales and marketing, which get wholesalers and retailers to purchase the products to sell to their consumers, as well as the warehousing, shipping and distribution process. Many departments and companies can be involved in the chain of distribution.
Most businesses do a great deal of planning and research when developing their chains of distribution. Not only do they have to select the right storage facilities, transport companies and sales teams, they have to continuously evaluate their system to look for areas where improvements are needed as well as look for opportunities to save money.
Distribution chains can be quite large and require the cooperation of numerous individuals and companies. If any one part of the chain fails, the manufacturer can lose money. For this reason, most companies hire a distribution chain manager or a team of people to ensure that products move smoothly along the chain and get into the hands of consumers quickly.
Technology may also be involved in planning the chain of distribution. There is modern software that can plan, predict and monitor the effectiveness of a distribution plan, according to Business.com.