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Rethinking Urban Transportation through advanced tools and supply chain collaboration

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - U-TURN (Rethinking Urban Transportation through advanced tools and supply chain collaboration)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-11-30

An assessment of urban environmental sustainability carried out by local authorities shows that the major environmental impacts are generated by food transport, as confirmed by various “food miles” studies. Logistics’ resource-sharing is one of the most prominent solutions adopted over the last years. In this context, the U-TURN project aims to address freight urban distribution, focusing on food logistics. The project enhances our understanding of freight distribution in urban areas and suggests innovative shared logistics practices, together with tools achieving more efficient operations from both an environmental and cost perspective. In an effort to cover the key requirements and main trends of food distribution in urban areas, three different pilots are conducted in the context of the project and this specific task.
 Pilot 1: Distribution of packaged goods from food manufacturers to retail outlets located in urban areas in Greece (Athens).
 Pilot 2: Distribution of fresh food from local producers and online retailers to consumers in urban areas in Italy (Milan).
 Pilot 3: Food delivery from online retailers to consumers in urban areas in UK (London).
The three pilots address different flow-consolidation settings, corresponding to the aforementioned consumer and distribution trends in various market contexts. More specifically, the U-TURN project initially analyzes the existing and anticipated transportation flows of food products in urban areas and it then equips market stakeholders with a set of tools that will enable the quick assessment and uptake of shared logistics practices, focusing on the specific requirements of food products. To that end, the following models and tools are to be deployed a) a series for shared logistics distribution models that suggest alternatives ways of sharing resources in order to enhance efficiency and reduce the transportation cost, b) a smart matching tool that enables the identification of logistics sharing matches among different food suppliers/3PLs companies different food producers/online food retailers, c) a simulation tool that models and quantifies the impact of alternative logistics sharing choices (e.g. Urban Consolidation Centres) from an efficiency (cost), effectiveness (service level) and environmental perspective. d) an economic and comparative assessment model that evaluates the operational and economic impact of various shared logistics models e) a collaboration platform that supports information sharing among various stakeholders, the identification of synergies by utilizing the smart matching logic and the creation of appropriate logistics sharing partnerships.
Through the application of the above toolset in real pilot settings, the U-TURN project will identify opportunities for consolidating transportation flows and evaluate the alternative shared logistics distribution models with the objective to reduce environmental impacts and transportation cost.
The initial work for the project focused on the review of the current state of the art and the elicitation of user requirements. More specifically, we analysed existing transportation flows of food products in urban areas by using actual distribution data and qualitative data gathered by a series of interviews, in order to identify opportunities for consolidating transportation flows. The U-TURN consortium assimilated the novel knowledge from the three U-TURN pilots regarding users’ views and requirements for collaborative food distribution, in order to structure the requirements of the U-TURN tools and models and to frame the pilots’ implementation. Hence, a methodology for the comparative assessment of the collaborative logistics pooling schemes in terms of costs and benefits (service time savings, transport cost, trucks utilisation, etc.) as well as environmental impact were deployed and incorporated in the respective tool. Moreover, a generic smart matching framework for urban transportation markets where collaboration is of the essence was designed and its properties lead to the development of a novel two-stage matching mechanism for collaborative urban transportation of goods and the implementation of three specific matching tools. In terms of simulation tools, the simulation model was designed and developed according to the requirements of urban FMCG-related supply and initially it supported the evaluation of a to-be Urban Consolidation Centre that involves the 3PL companies in Pilot 1. The integration of findings from the review of the current state of the art, the elicitation of user requirements and the formalisation of use cases to describe the functionality of the platform led to the development of the U-TURN conceptual model and related architecture. The platform was designed and built in order to support the implementation of vehicle sharing logistics models derived from the user requirements elicitation phase by using the stable matching logic.
Focusing our initial efforts on the identification of all market stakeholders and their engagement, a series of in-depth interviews, surveys and working groups were organized in the context of each one of the Pilots. For example, two working groups on shared logistics with the support of the Greek Logistics Association (EEL) and Efficient Consumer Response (ECR) organization were organized in the context of Pilot 1. The working group involves indicatively the following companies: AB BASILOPOULOS (DELHAISE group), SARMED, ORPHEE BEINOGLOU, P&G, NESTLE. Moreover, the Urban Consolidation Centers related project outcomes will be taken into account for the composition of the Presidential Decree for the Operations of Urban Consolidation Centers in Greece. Apart from the technical activities, the overall strategy and objectives of dissemination have been put in place and, as indicators showed, dissemination targets were reached.
The main innovative achievements during this period, which advance existing distribution processes and technologies and go beyond the state of the art, are related with the following aspects:
a) The formulation of innovative shared logistics distribution models proposed within each pilot context and the insights gathered about their potential benefits and feasibility through close interaction with the industry representatives.
b) The utilization of the smart matching approach for addressing the needs of a collaborative urban transportation of goods.
c) The integration of supply chain network simulation with a collaborative route planning algorithm for the last mile
d) The implementation of an innovative platform for shared logistics planning that supports the collaboration among various partners and the identification of synergies by using the smart matching approach
During this 1st period the partners' efforts have been mainly focused on technical activities in order to deliver first shared logistics distribution models, algorithms, tools and prototypes. The results from those activities have been disseminated accordingly via various channels towards the scientific and academic communities. Moreover, the collaboration with other similar urban freight projects enhances the potential scientific and technological impacts of the project. Notably, we foresee further business impact out of the actual pilot trial phases that are starting in the next months.