Research is at the core of ICDP, and our collaborative programmes provide the foundation for all the other services that we offer.  Established in the early 1990s as the distribution counterpart to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-led International Motor Vehicle Program, which did so much to inspire the industry towards transforming the efficiency of its production operations, and which spawned the best-selling book The Machine that Changed the World, ICDP has built its extensive knowledge base and experience upon solid primary research, combining academic rigour with commercial awareness to deliver reliable findings and recommendations. 

Our methods span both qualitative and quantitative approaches, and will often combine in-depth expert interviews with broader opinion surveys, alongside detailed data-gathering and analysis.  Many of our core benchmarks have been updated repeatedly over the programme’s 20-year history, giving us unique time-series data on the performance of the sector against a number of metrics.  All our work is conducted in strict confidence, with respondent and organisation identities anonymised in our findings where appropriate to protect commercially-sensitive information. 

Our collaborative research programmes provide organisations from across the sector with access to 20 years’ worth of accumulated expertise, with exposure to and involvement in a range of research topics built around a common theme of distribution transformation, and with the opportunity to meet with their peers in a neutral environment of learning and experience-sharing.  The following pages in this section provide more detail on our individual programmes around the world.