Category Archives: Logistics

Supply Chain Management-Improving Competitive Advantage

Question

The CEO asked you to have lunch with him and explain exactly how you, in your role, could help the firm achieve a competitive advantage through improved supply chain management. He asked you to discuss the following specific points with him:
What supply chain management refers to and how it might differ between service type businesses and product type businesses, and between retail and manufacturing type businesses.
How you would assess whether a firm has an effective versus ineffective supply chain?
Give and explain one example of a firm with an effective supply chain and one with an ineffective supply chain.

Sample paper

Supply Chain Management-Improving Competitive Advantage

Supply chain management refers to the process of planning and coordinating the flow of materials, information, and finances across the entire supply chain encompassing suppliers, manufacturers, warehousing, distributors, and the end consumer (Ramachandra, 2010). Supply chain management enhances the smooth flow of materials, information, and finances among the various players involved in the manufacturing process. The major aim of supply chain management is to ensure that commodities reach the intended intermediaries at the right time and in the right quantities. The organization can achieve this by developing demand and supply forecasts, which are a critical process of the supply chain management.

Supply chain management differs significantly between service type and product type businesses. Supply chain management is labor intensive in service type businesses compared to product type businesses (Zhou, Park, & Yi, 2009). This is because service products often require manual processes and the direct interaction of the provider and the consumer. Another difference concerns intangibility of services in service type businesses, while in product type businesses the products are tangible. In service type businesses, it is difficult to account for services unlike in product type businesses where suppliers can easily account for or even store products physically (Zhou, Park, & Yi, 2009). Another difference concerns the co-occurrence of production and consumption in service industry. In the products industry, the concept of lead-time is critical in supply chain management.

There are various differences in supply chain management between retail and manufacturing sector. In retail sector, supply chain management involves coordinating the merchandise in stock or that flowing through the network. In the manufacturing sector, supply chain management involves coordinating raw materials and finished goods (Sehgal, 2008). There are constant efforts to ensure that the flow of raw materials and finished goods matches the production capacity. Another difference concerns the size of the network chain. Retailers have a wide network consisting of multiple facilities that could be in different locations. On the other hand, supply chain management in manufacturing environments concerns a few manufacturing facilities and warehouses.

There are certain characteristics present in a firm having an effective supply chain. Firms having effective supply chain report increased customer satisfaction. This is because goods reach the consumers at the required time and in the right amounts (Ramachandra, 2010). Another way of assessing whether a firm has an effective supply chain is the application of modern technology in the supply chain.  The effectiveness of the supply chain is also related to its ability to ensure inventory optimization. Another way of assessing the effectiveness is by evaluating the flexibility of the supply chain. An effective supply chain should be able to respond quickly to changes such as sudden spikes in demand. Another factor is customization to fit the needs of particular customers.

An example of a firm with an effective supply chain is Colgate-Palmolive. The company develops oral hygiene products that are distributed to various parts of the world. The company provides excellent customer support for all its products and in various countries. In addition, the oral hygiene products are distributed in different avenues including supermarkets, pharmacies, convenience stores, and others. Target Corporation has a poor supply chain. This is evident by the recent withdrawal of its operations from Canada, sighting supply chain management issues (Malcom & Horovitz, 2015). The major issue affecting the stores in Canada was supply issues, which led to consistent understocking.

 

References

Malcom, H., & Horovitz, B. (2015, Jan. 15). Target to shutter all stores in Canada. USA Today.    Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2015/01/15/target-canada-    retailing-liquidation/21798843/

Ramachandra, M. (2010). Web-based supply chain management and digital signal processing:    Methods for effective information administration and transmission. Hershey, PA:          Business Science Reference.

Sehgal, V. (2008). Untangling the Supply Chains: Retail vs. Manufacturing.             http://www.supplychainmusings.com/2008/03/untangling-supply-chains-retail-vs.html

Zhou, M., Park, T., & Yi, J. (2009). Commonalities and Differences between Service and             Manufacturing Supply Chains: Combining Operations Management Studies with Supply Chain Management. California Journal of Operations Management, 7(1): 136-143.

Related:

Criteria to Evaluate the Make versus Buy Decision

Criteria to Evaluate the Make versus Buy Decision

Criteria to Evaluate the Make versus Buy Decision

Speaker notes

The most suitable criterion in evaluating the make versus buy decision is economic or financial factors. This means taking into consideration the cost savings the company can gain through an outsourcing decision as the most critical element in the decision process. The most important of the financial factors are cost savings and the impact on capital expenditures. If the buy-decision leads to significant cost savings, the company should consider outsourcing (Hwang, Ko & Goan, 2007). A buy decision would be favorable under certain circumstances. For instance, where suppliers have lower costs; where suppliers provide better quality products; where the company needs to make a major investment; and where the company lacks the necessary skills. A make decision would be appropriate where the company has internal cost advantages; where the company is able to deliver quality products; high skill base; and where the company has made significant investment. The make decision will have the company spend $30 per unit; while purchasing will see the company spend $18 per unit. Since the fixed cost is attributable to product line A, the company will be able to eliminate this cost on outsourcing. It is therefore advisable to buy.

Trade-off between Excess capacity and Efficiency

This is a trade-off decision that the firm’s managers would have to make. The firm’s managers would have to evaluate whether there is need to build factories and warehouses with excess capacity. Building factories and warehouses with excess capacity increases flexibility, thus enabling the firm respond effectively to market fluctuations in product demand. If factories and warehouses were built with no provision for excess capacity, they would not be able to handle spikes in demand that may result from various factors. On the other hand, excess capacity costs money and presents idle capacity. The excess capacity does not generate any value for the firm, as it is idle capacity. Increasing the excess capacity leads to decreasing overall efficiency of the operations. In order to make the best decision, it would be necessary to evaluate the average annual demand for products over a period of five years. By comparing this with actual capacity of the factories and warehouse, it would be easy to make a decision.

Trade-off between Optimal Services and Lower Costs

This is a trade-off because the firm managers must make a sacrifice in choosing any of the alternatives, either providing optimal services or seeking to keep costs at a minimum. Supply chain management aims at delivering products in the right time, right place, and right amount (Olson & Swenseth, 2014). This is the efficient frontier in supply chain management. A trade-off occurs between achieving the efficient frontier and keeping costs minimal. As the quality of services improves, there is a consequent increase in costs. This is because improvement in quality of services involves frequent deliveries and higher stock levels, which is expensive. In order to make the best choice, it is important to consider the firm’s strategy. If the firm’s strategy is to achieve market penetration, the firm may strive for optimal services while incurring relatively higher costs. A company that has developed a large customer base may opt for a strategy that promotes its interest and those of the customers. This may involve scaling down the level of services.

Trade-off between Globalization and Transportation Risks

This is a trade-off because with increased globalization of supply chain risks, there are higher transportation risks occasion by political factors, natural disasters, economic factors, and among others. The firm managers must thus forego one of the alternatives. Globalization has played a significant role in improving opportunities for various manufacturers and business organizations (Olson & Swenseth, 2014). This is by enabling the distribution of goods and services to different parts of the world. However, a trade-off exists in that globalization leads to increased transportation costs and risks. In 2010, the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland led to the closure of air transportation in various parts of Europe. This significantly affected transportation over the region, especially for firms that relied on air transport (Olson & Swenseth, 2014). The added information that would help in making a decision concerns complexity of the supply chain and ease of access to data. In global supply chains, there could be many parties involved. The ability to identify, quantify, and mitigate risks large depends on the availability of information for decision-making.

Trade-off between Centralization and Decentralization of Activities

This is a trade-off since the firm managers must decide to forego any one of the opportunities emerging from centralization or decentralization of activities. The firm managers have a responsibility of determining where supply chain facilities are to be established. Establishing the supply chain facilities in fewer locations (centralization) would enable the firm to gain benefits in the form of increased economies of scale, for instance, by having fewer workers or machines. On the other hand, establishing the supply chain facilities in multiple locations would be convenient to customers and would enable easier delivery. As such, decentralization would increase the firm responsiveness to customers’ needs. In considering whether to adopt centralization or decentralization, various factors relating to particular locations may come into play. These include cost of establishing new facilities, labor costs, skills requirements, taxation, and infrastructure.

Trade-off between Faster Transport Modes and Slower Modes

There exists a trade-off in the choice of a transport mode. The trade-off exists since supply chains may choose to use one transport mode while incurring the opportunity costs for foregoing the other mode. Faster transportation modes such as air transport are very fast at delivering products to customers (Ivanov, Sokolov, & Dolgui, 2014;2013;). On the other hand, these transportation modes are very expensive and may add significant operational costs in the entire process. Slower transport modes such as ship are cost effective but may fail to deliver the required responsiveness to customer needs. Transportation costs comprise of a significant portion of costs among supply chains. As such, it is important to make the right decision concerning a mode of transport. The additional information needed to make the best choice concerns the nature of goods handled in the supply chain. Various characteristics such as perishability and bulkiness of the goods would significantly influence the choice of the transport mode.

Trade-off between Higher and Lower Pricing

Pricing involves the decision on the amount of money to charge customers for goods delivered. Pricing has significant influences in the level of demand for a product (Olson & Swenseth, 2014). In turn, pricing directly affects the profitability of the firm. There exists a trade-off in pricing because charging higher prices leads to lower demand while charging lower prices leads to lower profit margins for the firm. Charging lower prices can also cause a surge in demand, which the firm may not be able to handle. There is need to establish stable prices for stability to ensue across the supply chain. The additional information that can enable one make the best decision on prices concerns the cost of manufacturing products and the competitive environment. The firm should determine an attractive margin on the cost of products. In addition, it is important to consider the pricing decisions of rivals.

Checklist Item: Quality

Quality is one of the major considerations in the certification process. The vendor should be able to deliver quality products. The quality of the products can be measured as the percent of defects per a certain parts, usually per million parts. The firm should develop a minimum level of quality for which the vendor must meet. The quality checklist may include a number of items including number of defects per certain parts, ISO certificates, CMMI certificates, Microsoft competency certificates, and other quality certifications (Click & Duening, 2005). The ISO certification is the most important in this case. This certification indicates that the vendor complies with all the requirements outlined by the standardization body. Another checklist under quality is the implementation of continuous improvement programs such as lean management, six sigma approach, Toyota production system, and among others. Presence of such quality programs indicates the vendor is keen on quality improvement.

Checklist: Vendor Organizational Structure

The organizational structure is critical in determining how the vendor handles various tasks and responsibilities. The vendor should have a clear organization scheme. There should be a clear definition of the roles and responsibilities of various employees. For instance, there should be clear responsibilities assigned to line managers. The vendor should show evidence of constant interactions with all stakeholders. For instance, there should be evidence of stakeholder meetings. The vendor should have a clear plan on handling various environmental risks. There should be adequate mitigation plans for dealing with any unforeseen events. The mitigation plans should cover the worst-case scenarios that the vendor might face. The vendor should have emergency equipment in site, which relates to identified risks in the environment.  For instance, the vendor should have firefighting equipment and other necessary equipment installed. Lastly, employees should receive adequate training on hazard recognition and mitigation.

Checklist: Performance History

The suitable vendor should be knowledgeable in the specific field of interest. The preferred vendor is one who specializes in providing a limited scale of outsourcing services. It is difficult for a vendor to develop a multifunctional expertise across various fields (Click & Duening, 2005). One of the major reasons is that developing a multifunctional expertise would be expensive to sustain. In addition, it is difficult to transfer the skills and knowledge obtained from one outsourcing function to another in a different field. A vendor who lacks the expertise in a particular field may not be able to handle the challenges involved in the particular field (Click & Duening, 2005). A firm that selects a vendor who lacks the expertise in a particular field risks incurring additional costs. As such, the firm should consider engaging a vendor who has relevant experience in the specific field of practice. The firm may choose to evaluate previous vendor engagements in order to learn more about vendor qualifications.

Pros of Installing Vendor Certification Program

Vendor certification programs provide a recourse if the product fails to meet desired characteristics (“The Open Group”, 2004). The certification program binds a firm to a particular vendor. If the product fails to match to standards, the firm can turn to the vendor for quality improvements. A vendor certification program leads to lower risk and reduced cost of decision-making during component acquisition. By conducting vendor certification, the firm can map vendors that meet the quality thresholds for products. This means it becomes easier to make a choice on a particular vendor (“The Open Group”, 2004). There is also low procurement and acquisition costs due to the shared requirements as established in the standards. Vendor certification programs promote customer satisfaction with the brand. This is because products work as per the outlined standards and there is improved interoperability (“The Open Group”, 2004). Vendor certification programs promote adherence to standards, which has a positive influence on the achievement of the firm vision. There are lower integration costs since the components from various vendors are standard and can fit together.

Cons of Installing Vendor Certification Programs

Both the firm and vendors are likely to incur high certification costs. For instance, testing for conformance for parts may involve huge costs (“The Open Group”, 2004). Vendor certification programs require constant policing or checking to ensure that each certification program’s integrity is maintained. This brings about additional costs. Liability issues are likely to emerge especially where the supply chain is complex (“The Open Group”, 2004). These issues may emerge since it might not be clear on who is to take the blame if products fail to meet set standards. A certification overload may emerge when a vendor has multiple requests from different firms to adhere to different specifications (“The Open Group”, 2004). The vendor could also be a facing a scenario where one has to adhere to competing standards. Another issue concerns innovator dissatisfaction. Innovators design standard products to fit the needs of their customers. Requests for modifications may be expensive and some unrealistic in terms of costs and time.

References

  • Click, R. L., & Duening, T. N. (2005). Business process outsourcing: The competitive advantage. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Hwang, H. S., Ko, W., & Goan, M. (2007). Web-based multi-attribute analysis model for make-or-buy decisions.Mathematical and Computer Modelling, 46(7), 1081-1090. doi:10.1016/j.mcm.2007.03.021
  • Ivanov, D., Sokolov, B., & Dolgui, A. (2014;2013;). The ripple effect in supply chains: Trade-off ‘efficiency-flexibility-resilience’ in disruption management.International Journal of Production Research, 52(7), 2154-2172. doi:10.1080/00207543.2013.858836
  • Olson, D. L., & Swenseth, S. R. (2014). Trade‐offs in supply chain system risk mitigation. Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 31(4), 565-579. doi:10.1002/sres.2299
  • The Open Group. (2004). Business scenario: certification. Retrieved from http://www.opengroup.org/downloads/BusinessScenario-Cert.pdf

 

Quality Improvement Programs

Question

Comparing and contrasting any pair from among these formal quality improvement programs: Joseph Juran’s Trilogy program, Edward Deming’s Quality program, Six Sigma, and Philip Crosby’s Quality is Free book. Your compare and contrast paper should include the following factors:
The main premise of the program
Key requirements for successful implementation
Initial steps to implement it

Sample paper

Quality Improvement Programs

Edward Deming and Joseph Juran’s Perspectives of Quality

Main Premise

Edward Deming’s Quality Program focuses on making improvements in quality by eliminating uncertainties and variability during service delivery (Redmond, Curtis, Noone, & Keenan, 2008). Deming premised his philosophy on four major elements: appreciation of the system, understanding variation, developing a theory of knowledge, and understanding the psychology or behavior of the employees. Deming highlighted 14 principles for enhancing transformation. On the other hand, Juran’s trilogy focuses on the idea that quality problems within the organization emanate from lack of effective planning for quality. Organizations that aim at improving quality must be willing to outline clear goals, policies, and vision (Godfrey & Kenett, 2007). The similarity between the two management philosophies is their emphasis on quality as the foundation on which organizations may build their performance.

Key Requirements for Successful Implementation

Under the Juran’s trilogy, successful implementation requires the organization to develop clear goals, policies, and a vision (Godfrey & Kenett, 2007). Deming’s Quality Program emphasizes on the important role played by the management during implementation. Deming noted that most problems in the organization are largely due to systemic issues and not due to employees’ faults. The similarity about implementation concerns the important role played by the management in the quality improvement process. In both approaches, the management is critical in the entire implementation process.

Initial Steps to Implement It

The initial step towards implementing Juran’s trilogy is the quality planning process. Quality planning is the process of designing products such that they conform to the goals established by the management (Godfrey & Kenett, 2007). Quality planning entails establishing quality goals, optimizing product features, identifying customer needs, and other roles. On the other hand, the initial steps towards implementing Deming’s quality approach focus on creating constancy and developing a new philosophy (Redmond et al., 2008). The aim of creating constancy of purpose is to improve products and services. The similarity herein is that both approaches focus on quality improvements as the initial steps.

Six sigma and Joseph and Phlip Crosby’s Quality is Free Perspectives of Quality

The Main Premise

Philip Crosby’s quality is free approach emphasizes on zero-defects concept and that developing quality products does not cost anything. Rather, developing quality products saves money and time (Crosby, 1979). Further, the key to producing perfect goods is through instituting preventive mechanisms rather than through inspection (reactive approaches).By identifying and dealing with the sources of problems, various costs are eliminated, for instance, warranty costs, rework costs, and inspection costs. Another key premise is to do things right the first time. This saves costs. The six-sigma approach is a quality measure in organizations that aims at achieving near perfection by reducing variation (“TQM: A snapshot of the experts,” 2002). The six-sigma approach aims at eliminating defects in the production process. The six-sigma is a data-driven approach to improving quality. Crosby’s approach and the six-sigma approach are similar in that both aim at eliminating defects in the production process. The major difference is that the six-sigma approach is data-driven, relying on statistical tools while Crosby’s approach is not data driven.

Key Requirements for Successful Implementation

The six-sigma approach requires that the organization adopt statistical tools and analysis. The statistical tools and analysis helps in determining variations in the production process. Two types of variation may occur in the production process: common variation and special variation (“TQM: A snapshot of the experts,” 2002). Common variation occurs because of chance, while special variation is assignable to a particular process or aspect in the production process. The six-sigma approach is concerned with special variation. There are four key requirements for successful implementation under Crosby’s approach. The first requirement is DIRFT, which stands for doing it right the first time (“TQM: A snapshot of the experts,” 2002). The second requirement is emphasis on prevention rather than inspection. The third requirement is emphasis on zero defects. The forth requirement is that quality be measured in terms of the price of non-conformance. The key difference is that the six-sigma approach focuses on adopting statistical tools for analysis of variation, while Crosby’s approach focuses on having it right the first time. The similarity lies on the focus to eliminate defects.

Initial Steps to Implement it

In Crosby’s case, the initial step is management commitment. The management should show commitment towards improving quality. The employees should also embrace commitment towards zero defects. Crosby (1979) asserted that quality management is about ensuring organized activities occur as planned. As such, quality management alwaysstarts at the help of the organization’s leadership. The initial step towards implementing the six-sigma approach involves implementing a statistical measure of quality. The six-sigma approach requires that there should be no more 3.4 million defects in every 1 million units, parts, or products. The major objective under the six-sigma approach is to develop a statistical measure that helps in process improvement. The similarity is both approaches lies in thee strong need for management commitment to achieving quality.

 

References

Crosby, P. B. (1979). Quality is free: The art of making quality certain. New York: McGraw-      Hill.

Godfrey, A. B., & Kenett, R. S. (2007). Joseph M. juran, a perspective on past contributions and future impact. Quality and Reliability Engineering International, 23(6), 653-663.             doi:10.1002/qre.861

Redmond, R., Curtis, E., Noone, T., & Keenan, P. (2008). Quality in higher education: The          contribution of edward deming’s principles. International Journal of Educational           Management, 22(5), 432-441. doi:10.1108/09513540810883168

TQM: A snapshot of the experts. (2002). Measuring Business Excellence, 6(3), 54.             doi:10.1108/mbe.2002.26706cab.003

Related:

Quality Methodologies

Quality Methodologies

Question

The CEO has done quite a bit of reading in some of the major quality improvement programs that are available to both the company and to its vendor base. He asked you to describe how a company would go about picking one that would work best for it. He specifically asked the following questions:
What criteria should be used?
How would you gather information about each kind of program?
How you would monitor whether the implementation was a success?
Why do you think there have been a number of these major quality improvement programs over time; in other words, why hasn’t one been accepted as the ideal one?

Sample paper

Quality Methodologies

There are a number of quality improvement programs for organizations. It is important that the organizational leadership develop a rationale for selecting the most appropriate quality improvement program that can give the best results. This is because some quality improvement programs may not always be beneficial to the company. When picking the one that would work best, it is important to look at the quality program design (APA, n.d). This criterion can help in picking the quality program that would work best. Program design relates to the specific methods and procedures of the quality program. The quality program should have an articulate model that guides the company towards improving quality. The latest scientific research evidence available informs the development of such a model. The program design should align itself with evidence-based practice.

One can gather information about various quality programs from various case studies available. By analyzing the case studies, it is possible to identify whether the specific quality programs were effective and to learn about common pitfalls. There are various ways of monitoring whether the implementation was a success. Monitoring should be conducted as an ongoing process (APA, n.d). The first way to measure success is by evaluating the achievement of set goals or objectives. Significant progress towards achievement of set goals indicates success of the implementation. The second way to measure whether implementation was a success is by evaluating customer satisfaction. If customer satisfaction levels have gone up, this indicates success. The third way of measuring success is by evaluating costs. A successful program should be able to cut costs as well.

There are a number of major quality improvement programs. The reason behind the various quality improvement programs is that none of these programs can work for all companies or in all situations. Each quality improvement program is only suitable for a particular scenario or for a particular organization given a set of factors.

Reference

American Psychological Associatio ( APA). (n.d). Criteria for the evaluation of quality     improvement programs and the use of quality improvement data. Retrieved from             https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/features/criteria-for-evaluation.pdf

Related:

PPA 604 Urban Planning/Redevelopment

PPA 604 Urban Planning/Redevelopment

PPA 604 Urban Planning/Redevelopment

 

Final Research Paper

 

The final research paper will be based on the urban planning topic:

Transportation Planning in the United States.

 

Analyze the key issues with the use of exhibits and an appendix.

 

You must include (but are not limited to) a discussion of the historical background and contemporary issues related to the paper topic.

 

You must also include an evaluation regarding the plausible political issues that urban planners could potentially encounter and the potential consequences that could result from decision making.

 

Apply key concepts from the text in your Research Paper.

 

The research paper must be 10 double-spaced pages in length (not including title and references pages) and formatted according to APA style.

 

Abstract

The primary objective of this research paper is to identify paramount issues and challenges with the use of exhibits that widely affects the transportation planning in the United States. The historical background of this study that is entirely based on the earlier form of transportation and transportation planning forms the foundation of the research. Moreover, contemporary issues associated with the transportation and urban planning will be discussed in details to show the challenges and hindrances that the government and other transportation agencies face in their attempts to create and formulate a successful transport plan. Transportation planning and designing is not a one man show and requires collective efforts and inputs from all stakeholders.  Notably, transport planning involves techniques and skills such as land use, traffic, the character of the host community and civil engineering concepts.

 

 

Contents

Abstract 2

Introduction. 4

Historical background of transportation planning. 4

Contemporary issues of transportation planning. 6

Political issues affecting urban transportation planning. 8

Consequences of transportation planning decisions. 10

Summary. 12

Conclusion and Remarks. 12

References. 14

Appendix. 16

 

Introduction

Of recent, we are witnessing climate changes that are happening now and then and have significant impacts on businesses as well as individuals especially when it comes to transportation.  As a result, governments and authorities of various states and countries have to consider a way of building durable transportation infrastructures that cannot be affected by changes in weather. Transport planning comprises of more than one aspect of civil engineering. This knowledge and skills are needed at the local, regional, national and international level to ensure that there is a working transport network regardless of climatic condition, geographical area or the terrain (Levy, (2013). Transport planning comprises of evaluation, assessment, designing of transport facilities in the preparation of future needs to transport people and goods to the desired destinations.  However, transport planning and urban planning work together, and they entirely depend on con one another to an extent one cannot work without the other.  The government and other transportation agencies need to put into consideration the two variables before creating and formulating projects. Creation and development of good transportation planning, as well as urban planning, ensures there is economic development in individual countries. In addition, all important stakeholders should be involved before and during the

planning process. Thus, transportation planning is very important to a nation or a state. This paper attempts to examine the key issues in transportation planning in the United States of America.

 

Historical background of transportation planning

Transportation planning can be undertaken in various forms and at various levels ranging from strategic planning to project planning over various geographical scales. Over the last four decades, transport planning had undergone a tremendous revolution and continued to change and evolve with more invention and innovations in the transportation sector. The primary urban transportation planning process consists of three correlated paramount components: the pre-analysis level that involves identification of the transportation needs and formulation of goals.  The second level is known as the technical level that involves the mathematical descriptions of travel and travel related behavior as well as prediction of the consequences of each transportation alternative (Wier, 2009). Finally, there is the post analysis level that comprises of prediction and projections of impacts and effects of alternative plans and policies.

Transportation planning is crucial to the economies of many countries not only in the United States but around the world. In the earlier days, highway and road construction was not seen as a necessity with many people regarding automobile as a pleasure vehicle since most of the individuals in that day could walk or use horses to transport their goods. However, the technique used in those days is quite different from what is used today as most of the highways consisted of comparatively short sections built from the cities into the countryside. With time, the notion of the automobile as a luxury vanished, and there were great improvements in the transportation industry with the emergence of trains boats, ships, and airplanes. With the rise and increment of economic activities, there was the need to find a mode of transport that would aid carrying of bulk trading commodities, and this was key to a revolution in the transportation industry. In this century, people around the world are using fast moving trains, ships, vehicles and airplanes to travel to various parts of the globe within the shortest time possible.

Following the adoption of the Federal-aid system, in the federal-aid act of 1921, in the United States, more focus was put on the highway construction to close the gaps between the urban centers and countryside. By 1930s, the United States began the construction of two-lane roads to connect various parts of the country and it was easier to travel on a smooth, all-weather highways. However, this was not the end, but it created a further need to collect and analysis information and data on problems associated with the use of highways on a more comprehensive scale to make the necessary adjustments (Waddell, 2007). No one in this century wants to travel on a horse or a chart thanks to technology that is improving each single day. By integrating technology and transportation more and more, changes in the transportation industry are expected in future.

Contemporary issues of transportation planning

The road and the process of transport planning are not smooth and straight forward. There are major issues associated with the transportation planning especially in terms of financial viability. Below are some of the issues that greatly affect transportation planning.

  1. Air quality and pollution – the usage and exploitation of transportation system are very influential in a region’s quality of air. Before construction of projects and roads, the government and other transportation agencies should put into consideration the level of pollution that is likely to be caused by the project in question. Too much gas emissions from automobiles and other transportation facilities can affect the level of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the air and thus tampering with the quality of air in a particular place. Areas and places with nonattainment air quality status are required to maintain a consistent emission of gasses to the atmosphere to reduce the adverse effects of air pollution. Moreover, other transportation such as sea and water transportation may cause water pollution that may cause loss of sea life and contamination of drinking water. The quality of air and water should remain a priority for all transportation planners at all times.
  2. Congestion in urban areas – congestion management process is one of the new and trending issues in the transport planning process. The congestion management process is a technique that applies technical tools and methods to consider congestion-related issues based on an evaluation of performance measures (Golob, 2013).  This process helps systematically to review the performance of multimodal transport systems in a wide region as well as identifying strategies to address congestion issues in most of the urban areas. In most cases, this process is applied and implemented in areas with more than 200,000 residents. With proper implementation and execution of the process, a transport planner has high chances of addressing congestion through the provision for effective management and operation based on the demand for transportation in a region.
  3. Financial viability – availability of funds is one of the common issues and challenges that are encountered by most of the transportation planners. Despite the transportation planning funds being generated from various sources such as taxes, fines, and credit assistance, thy may not be enough to construct a durable transportation facility. Federal funds are usually controlled and authorized by the Congress in the case of United States. Moreover, the department of transportation is tasked with the allocation of these funds into various programs before redirecting those funds to the state. The long funding process causes delays in the planning process which in turn affects the transport sector in general. On other occasions, there are no enough funds to complete a project fully and successfully, and this leaves some transportation project half- baked or half-completed.
  4. Land use and transportation – despite transportation offering the opportunity to communities to transport commodities from one place to another and traveling from one destination to another, it has more significant impacts on the community. Transportation widely affects the character of the community, settlement pattern, human environment and economic development patterns. At times some members of the community are very reluctant to give up their piece of land to be used to construct roads. Such members of the community affect the execution of transportation planning. Moreover, on other occasions, regions with good road network may be densely populated, and the planners have no alternative rather than implementing other modes of transport rather than roads (Litman, 2011).

Political issues affecting urban transportation planning

The politics of a host country are too important to be ignored. Different countries and states adopt a different mode of administration and thus creating a different political arena. There are those that use a central form of government while others use decentralized form of government, and thus, political challenges encountered by transport planners may be different.  There are so many political issues and challenges that arise during the planning process that may delay the planning process. Some of these challenges include:

  1. Political instability – some countries are known for its violence that is usually politically triggered especially in the developing countries. Some of these political eruptions are extreme to an extent that some houses are burnt and business demolished. On other scenarios, activist damage railway lines like in the case of Kenya. Countries that constantly face political violence and chaos stand a slim chance of successfully completing their transportation plans due to the interruption in the work in progress and working materials.
  2. The blame game – a country that uses both central and decentralized forms of government may be in the risk of experiencing delays in the execution of their plans due to the blame game. The county and state governments blame the national government for the slow execution of the plan or delay in releasing funds(SteadieSeifi, 2014). On the other hand, the national government does the same, and this creates confusion as to who is responsible since both the governing bodies do not want to take responsibilities. On another occasion, the state government may feel that the planners should directly report to them, and the county and federal governments feel the same, and this creates a power wrangle between the two bodies thus delay any progress.
  3. Corruption and embezzlement of public funds – of recent, there have been increased cases of corruption and embezzlement of public funds by some of the political leaders. At times, the political leaders are too greedy to handle public money that is meant to execute urban and transport plans. These funds end up disappearing in the pockets of few chosen politician.as a result, the whole country suffers a delay in the execution of its plans and at times, these transport projects are completely abandoned due to lack of funds to complete them.
  4. Appointment of unqualified personnel to oversee the activities of planners – most are the times when unqualified political leaders are appointed to chair or lead activities of a transport and urban planning committee. Considering that these chairs and leaders do not have the necessary and required skills and knowledge, it is hard for them to tell when things are going in the right direction or when they are moving in the wrong direction. When the things are not smoothly flowing, then there is an uproar from all sectors that the committee failed in its planning, yet the problem was not the committee members but rather to the leaders. At times, political leaders put their people in the planning committee as chairs so that they can control the activities of the committee from the outside and this highly affects the working, credibility, and transparency of the committee in question(Litman T. A., 2008).
  5. Building by law enforcement – the government and politicians are generally tasked with the duty of formulating and preparing documents and policies that ensure certain and particular standards in the built-up urban area are met and observed. It sets the basic and ground cover for all urban construction. This bylaw helps to cut down overcrowding in urban areas and ensures the welfare of the neighbors is fully observed. Considering that this law is formulated by politicians, they may formulate laws that serve their interests rather than laws that serve the interest of all publics in a country.  Moreover, delay in formulation of these laws may force the transportation planners to delay their plans and execution of the plans since they have to get the go-ahead nod from the necessary authorities.

Consequences of transportation planning decisions

  1. Economic development – investors both local and international are attracted to areas with good and better transportation system that aids the transportation of raw materials to the factories and transportation of finished products to the market. Due to this network, more and more investors tend to invest in these areas thus leading to economic development and improvement of living standards of the people around. Moreover, investors can also aid in developing transportation infrastructure in areas where the government and the necessary authorities are doing their best to increase its accessibility through public responsibility programs.
  2. Increased population – areas with good transportation network and accessibility will always attract more and more people considering that these are the same areas with high employment opportunities. Most of the times, urban areas are densely populated owing to good transport infrastructure and availability of better social amenities compared to rural areas. As a result, transport planners need to be careful when executing their plans since the availability of a good road network can read to overcrowding and overpopulation in an area which may cause congestion (Waddell P. , 2011). Good transport planning process ensures that the population is evenly distributed over a large and vast area to reduce congestion.
  3. Good drainage systems – considering that transportation planners have to work hand in hand with urban development planners, there is a high chance of creating and constructing good drainage systems which give a headache to most city and urban residents. A good drainage system is crucial in maintaining a healthy population free from diseases associated with dirty water. Depending on the decisions of the transport and urban development planners, a city may have a good drainage or a poor drainage system.
  4. Affordability – economic efficiency in an area is highly affected by the transportation resources costs. If the value delivered by the exploitation and use of transport facility reduces, the cost of these resources than they can be accessible and affordable to citizens of all brackets of income.  At times, to increase the efficiency and value of transport resources, priority should be given to higher trips and long trips rather than lower and shorter trips. This provision will enable people to transfer trading commodities from distant places with ease and at an affordable rate.

Summary

Transport planning plays a very vital role in the economic and social development of a country. Moreover, it has a significant impact on the lives of all citizens in a country, and it may change the perception that people have on transportation especially the use of automobiles (Nijkamp, 2012). Establishing accessible and affordable transport network and resources such as road, bikes, and roadside walk will make people happier especially urban residents who only walk and travels for short distances. Thus, each government from all countries should put more emphasis on the transportation planning since it is crucial and does not matter where an individual lives.  However, considering that the government forms the laws that oversights the activities of the planners; the objectives of the formulated rules and regulations should in line with the goals and aims of the planning committee. The aims should be the provision of affordable and accessible transport network and infrastructure.

Conclusion and Remarks

In conclusion, we can say that urbanization and good transportation planning is needed in every society, and it is the duty of the governments to provide them. The government should try to involve all the necessary stakeholders to see to that an appropriate plan has been developed which favor a certain city at a certain period. Moreover, good transportation planning brings nothing else to the society and the country in general rather than advantages such as economic developments (Lyman, 2008). Despite the planning having both the positive and negative effects, the plans developed should have more of positive effects than adverse effects. Proper and successful planning and execution of the transport plans opens up the country and makes it accessible to all individuals. However, the department of transport and other necessary and associated agencies should ensure that they come up with a durable transportation and urban development plan that does not require constant review because it can lead to interruption of other plans. Moreover, change of plans will significantly affect people’s life, and more and more funds will be drained in demolishing and constructing more structures and transport network

References

Golob, T. F. (2013). Panels for transportation planning: methods and applications. . Springer Science & Business Media.

Levy, J. M. ((2013)). . Contemporary urban planning (10th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson-Prentice Hall Press.

Litman, T. (2011). Evaluating accessibility for transportation planning. Victoria, BC: Victoria Transport Policy Institute.

Litman, T. A. (2008). Evaluating Quality of Accessibility for Transportation Planning. In Transportation Research Board 87th Annual Meeting (No. 08-0495).

Lyman, K. &. (2008). Using travel time reliability measures to improve regional transportation planning and operations. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, (2046),, 1-10.

Nijkamp, P. &. (2012). Impact assessment and evaluation in transportation planning. Springer Science & Business Media.

SteadieSeifi, M. D. (2014). Multimodal freight transportation planning: A literature review. . European journal of operational research, 233(1),, 1-15.

Waddell, P. (2011). Integrated land use and transportation planning and modelling: addressing challenges in research and practice. Transport Reviews, 31(2), , 209-229.

Waddell, P. U. (2007). Incorporating land use in metropolitan transportation planning. . Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 41(5), , 382-410.

Wier, M. W. (2009). An area-level model of vehicle-pedestrian injury collisions with implications for land use and transportation planning. . Accident Analysis & Prevention, 41(1), , 137-145.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix