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Case Study - Invitrogen

European Distribution Strtegy Review

European Distribution Strategy Review

Comparison of cost and services of competitors


Invitrogen - are the major supplier of equipment and media used in molecular biology and cell culture research.


the brief - following Invitrogen's merger with Life Technologies, the company were considering their options for distribution of product from the combined organisations to their customers in Europe and Scandinavia. As there are two major distribution centres (in Belgium and Scotland) with the Scottish facility co-located with manufacturing, an examination of the practicality, cost and service implications of carrying out all distribution from Scotland was required.


the approach - in order to understand the cost and service effects of the strategic alternatives it was necessary to examine the current operations and service provision. We developed models to simulate the existing distribution service and for comparison, a series of alternatives. In parallel with this, the delivery service into Europe offered by Invitrogen's main competitors was carefully researched to ensure that Invitrogen's high standards would not be compromised by the distribution developments. We investigated a variety of sub-options such as an Invitrogen managed trunk delivery service between Glasgow and Mainland Europe but there was no cost effective solution. The scope was then widened to consider closing the Glasgow distribution centre and distributing to the UK from Belgium but it was shown that the most economic method was to continue with a modified form of the existing two centre operation.


the result - we developed a PowerPoint presentation which argued the case for the two centre solution with detailed costings for the various options. The presentation was used by the European Vice President when he visited the US to obtain Head Office approval for a project to re-develop the Belgian Distribution Centre and rationalise the distribution operations in Scotland.


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