Risorse bibliografiche
Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoria
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativa
Scheda Riassuntiva
Anno Accademico 2019/2020
Scuola Scuola di Ingegneria Industriale e dell'Informazione
Docente Melacini Marco
Cfu 5.00 Tipo insegnamento Monodisciplinare

Corso di Studi Codice Piano di Studio preventivamente approvato Da (compreso) A (escluso) Insegnamento

Obiettivi dell'insegnamento

In recent years the international trade has grown significantly. Assuming a company perspective, the course aims at examining International Distribution in terms of logistics channel and trade channel design. The main international logistics variables underpinning the international distribution are deepened. Special attention is given to emerging markets and company size (medium company vs. multinational company). 

The course fits into the overall program curriculum pursuing some of the defined general learning goals. In particular, the course contributes to the development of the following capabilities:

  • Understand context, functions, processes in a business and industrial environment and the impact of those factors on business performance
  • Identify trends, technologies and key methodologies in a specific domain (specialization streams)
  • Design solutions applying a scientific and engineering approach (Analysis, Learning, Reasoning, and Modeling capability deriving from a solid and rigorous multidisciplinary background) to face problems and opportunities in a business and industrial environment

Risultati di apprendimento attesi
  1. Understand and describe the main strategies for setting a global logistics network and their consistency with the general company strategy [Understand]
  2. Understand and describe: the main solutions/alternatives in the following fields: transport modes, customs, outsourcing in a global context, trade channel, planning of logistics flows, management of financial flows and incoterms [Understand and Identify]
  3. Apply criteria, methodologies and models to distribution problems in order to: design and manage global distribution networks [Design]
  4. Identify innovative solutions in managing global networks (e.g. entering new markets) [Identify]

Argomenti trattati
  1. International transportation.Features of the main transportation modes (ocean shipping, air shipping); types of services (e.g. FCL, LCL, groupage airfreight, charter airfreight); transportation networks (e.g. hub and spoke, multi – port calling), types of companies (freight forwarders, carrier, NVOCC, etc.); transportation unit loads (e.g. containers) and cost structure of international transportation (ocean freight, additional charges, positioning, detention, demurrage).
  2. The Order cycle in a global context. Terms of trade/incoterms, main criteria for the selection of terms of trade and implications on costs structure; analysis of the shipping process in the international context and of examination of the role of main actors (supplier, client, freight forwarders, banks, insurance companies). Customs clearance process and classification of duties.
  3. Internationalisation process of the distribution channel. General framework for distribution internationalisation; main methods for entry in a new market, both indirect exporting (e.g. export trading companies, distributors) and active exporting (e.g. agents, subsidiaries, Ecommerce B2C); main configurations of logistics networks in terms of type of warehouses (e.g. consolidation hub, international warehouse, merge in transit warehouse) and number of echelons; main logistics strategies (i.e. International sale, International outpost and International network).
  4. The management of financial flows in a global context. The impact of duties, taxes (e.g. value added tax) and currency fluctuations; the logistics tools for the management of financial flows: VAT warehouses, bonded warehouses, free trade zones (FTZ), triangulations.
  5. Logistics outsourcing in a global context, as a strategic lever for internationalisation. Study of the main actors and advanced services (e.g. representative office tax, management of logistics flows and payments); the role of 4PL (Four party logistics).
  6. The risk management in a global context. Main risk factors in international flows; main approaches towards risk management (buffers tock, contingency plans, mitigation), models to assess global risk, insurance policies to manage the risk.
  7. Planning of logistics flows in a global context. The design of relationship between subsidiaries and headquarter (forecasting, replenishment, production planning); setting of a collaborative planning with distributors (VMI on global scale)); advanced planning tools (e.g. DRP); the value and the tools of visibility in a global context.

The International Distribution course leverages the following teaching methodologies:

  • Theoretical lessons, i.e. “traditional” lessons to provide the students with both a deep knowledge on international distribution systems/processes and criteria, methodologies, models, tools to design and manage logistics systems (ILOS 1, 2, 3)
  • Practical lessons, i.e. lessons going through structured exercises to let the students apply what they learnt during the theoretical lessons (ILOS 2, 4)
  • Seminars. i.e. lectures given by external guests (top managers from multinational companies) to provide the students with strong connections with the real applications of what has been learnt during the lessons (ILOS 1, 2, 3)
  • Real visits, i.e. in-company visits to show the students the logistics systems and processes of multinational companies (ILOS 1, 3, 4)



The International Distribution Course is based on the assumption that students have a basic knowledge of Logistics Planning Models (e.g. Inventory Management). Students that do not have this basic knowledge will be provided with references and material (e.g. slides, MOOCS) to fill the gap.

Modalità di valutazione

The final exam consists of a written part and an assignment (group work, not mandatory).

The Written Exam is made of:

  • Quantitative Exercises: practical exercises with numbers where students are required to design a specific solution (e.g. choice of transportation mode, global logistics network, …) applying the models learnt during the course (ILO 4)
  • Theoretical Questions: open questions where the students have to prove to be able to both present/describe logistics strategies/solutions and apply them to specific contexts/problems (ILOs 1, 2, 3)


The assignment work consists in studying international distribution system of a company. More in detail, focussing on a small number of linkages (e.g. flows from Italy to US) students are required to perform: as is analysis of the process (by using all elements developed in the course), highlighting pros/cons of the current setting; to be scenario: proposal of some alternatives/solutions to improve the AS IS situation. The company to be analysed will be proposed by students. The assignment can modify the overall score from “0” to  “plus 3 points” in the 0-30 scale


The teaching material consists of: (i) set of slides supporting the in-class lectures; (ii) practical lessons/exercises; (iii) supplementary exercises; (iv) selected references (selection of papers and chapters of relevant books, videos, etc.). All the material will be available before the related lesson on https://beep.metid.polimi.it.


Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriaDavid P., International Logistics, Anno edizione: 2013, ISBN: 978-0-9894906-0-3
Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriaDornier P., Ernst R., Fender M., Kouvelis P., Global operations and logistics, Editore: John Wiley and sons, Anno edizione: 1998, ISBN: 978-0471120360
Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriaHult T., Closs D., Frayer D, Global Supply chain management, Editore: McGraw Hill Education, Anno edizione: 2014, ISBN: 978-0-07-182742-3

Forme didattiche
Tipo Forma Didattica Ore di attività svolte in aula
Ore di studio autonome
Laboratorio Informatico
Laboratorio Sperimentale
Laboratorio Di Progetto
Totale 50:00 75:00

Informazioni in lingua inglese a supporto dell'internazionalizzazione
Insegnamento erogato in lingua Inglese
Disponibilità di materiale didattico/slides in lingua inglese
Disponibilità di libri di testo/bibliografia in lingua inglese
Possibilità di sostenere l'esame in lingua inglese
Disponibilità di supporto didattico in lingua inglese
schedaincarico v. 1.6.1 / 1.6.1
Area Servizi ICT