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Optimizing distribution logistics within cities through time-slot deliveries

Tobias Engel, Thomas Wolfenstetter and Nikolaos Sakiotis

A chapter in Digitalization in Maritime and Sustainable Logistics: City Logistics, Port Logistics and Sustainable Supply Chain Management in the Digital Age, 2017, pp 229-251 from Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), Institute of Business Logistics and General Management

Abstract: Technological evolvement creates new business opportunities such as the optimization of distribution networks by using big data to calculate optimal delivery routes respecting individual time windows. The optimized network enhances firms to improve customer satisfaction, reduce delivery costs, and increase the utilization of the truck load by integrating reverse flows. Following the design science approach, we review and evaluate relevant data and scientific theories. Subsequently, requirements and system design are analyzed. On this basis we implement a prototypical information system to realize the optimized distribution network. The prototype consists of a mobile user-app and a back-office-system. Major functionalities of the prototype include the data analysis and the specification of settings for the desired delivery times and locations being actively influenced by the parcel recipients. The results of this research indicate that several tradeoffs have to be faced against the optimal use and analysis of available data, in order to provide a prototype that aims at improving customer satisfaction and reducing distribution costs at the same time. Hence, the focus has been laid on the analysis of dedicated, user-defined delivery time and location time windows by using a customized heuristic approach in order to decrease the complexity of the distribution process. We simulated the results, while a field study would enhance more insights. Practitioners can use the prototype to reduce their transportation costs to improve the utilization of the truck load or for new city services such as same day deliveries or as part of cyber-physical (distribution) systems (CPS).

Keywords: distribution logistics; time-slot deliveries; city logistics; prototype (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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