Many-to-many distribution is where goods are sent from several locations to several other locations.
For example, a company may have 4 factories that produce various chocolate products. Their customers may include retailers with their own distribution centres and other retailers that have one store.
The chocolate company would need to collate their customer orders and plan the logistics that will result in the right goods being delivered to the right locations.
This kind of distribution often involves the use of a consolidation point, a site where the goods from each factory are collated in order to fulfil individual orders. For example, one customer may need 300 boxes of chocolate bar A and 200 boxes of chocolate bar B. If these two chocolate bars are produced in two different factories, vehicles from both factories will deliver their specific chocolate bars to the consolidation point, which will make up the customer’s mixed order. Another vehicle will then be dispatched to the customer (along with other customers) with the mixed load.