The objective of this research project was to develop a financial decision support method for distribution or logistics managers. This resulted in the Activity Based Costing & Decision support method (ABCD-method), which consists of a model for financial information and an implementation plan to realize the information supply. To judge the relevance of the research project, a structured questionnaire was made and presented to people in thirty Dutch companies. The companies can be divided into three types of organizations and three types of industries. The data obtained in this part of the research show that the bottlenecks surrounding financial information are not so much related to the amount of information but rather to the quality of available information. For the development of a model this means that much attention has to be paid to cost assignment. However, to realize cost control it is important to note that costs not only have to be assigned, but can be influenced as well. The fact is that the variability of costs is high in the long term, but low in the short term. The contrary is true of the availability of and insight into cost information. The availability of cost information is relatively low in the long term and high in the short term. So there is tension between availability and insight on the one hand and variability on the other. The questionnaire interviews also revealed a second, related area of tension. Cost insight can be acquired with cost assignment methods, which make use of cost information. Costs can be changed by decision calculation methods, using cash flow information. The consequence can be that logistics managers have to use two different methods. However, these managers are reluctant to use different methods. This dilemma is met by the fact that the developed ABCD-model pays explicit attention to both cost information and cash flow information and to the contract terms of the resources. The contract terms determine the variability of costs and builds the bridge between costs and cash flows. The ABCD-model was developed for logistics organizations. These organizations not only include logistics service providers, but also logistics departments of manufacturers and wholesalers/retailers as well. The essential cost problem of logistics organizations is that a major part of the costs is indirect and that the cost object is very diffuse. The cost object of a logistics organization is composed of a combination of products, logistics services, product carriers and the clients of their customers. This specific problem area justifies a specific financial information model for logistics organizations. With the ABCD-model six functions can be fulfilled. These six functions are shown in a simplified version of the ABCD-model in Figure I.
|Qualification||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Award date||29 Nov 2000|
|Place of Publication||Deventer|
|Publication status||Published - 2000|