Prior to the Internet era, consumers would typically take care of the last-mile delivery themselves, buying products in physical stores and transporting them to their homes with their own cars. Nowadays, a great volume of products are ordered through the Internet, and this continues to increase, with the subsequent need for professional order fulfillment and delivery. This project aims to design methods to improve the coordination of products flows, and a physical and IT network for the coordination of the delivery and return of Internet orders.
E-commerce sales channels are often currently separated from other channels in companies, and from other companies’ e-commerce channels. This project focuses on the concept of cross-chain control centers (4C), which fulfill a coordinating role across supply chains. This kind of integrated decision-making opens up completely new avenues both academic and practical, as demonstrated in the work packages we present.
Activities / work packages
Multi-channel strategies. Design inventory and delivery strategies that make use of any interchanges of products between the bricks-and-mortar channel and the e-commerce channel.
E-commerce Information Platform. Set up an implementation plan for the E-commerce Information Platform, which will allow for the exchange of information in a unified manner.
Intralogistics. Design, improve, and test material handling concepts for Internet order fulfillment with an emphasis on response speed, flexibility and work flow fluctuations.
Network design for libraries. Decide on the locations of facilities, their functionality and assortment, taking into account that demand and funding are decreasing, while service level, accessibility and societal value are to be maintained at a high level.
This project will develop new, scientifically grounded theories on design, planning, operations, IT infrastructure, and services pricing for current and future e-commerce logistics. Several projects will be initiated to test or implement developed concepts in practice. Most notably, consortium partners are actively working to bring the E-commerce Information Platform concept live. Results will enable a better consumer experience in e-commerce through improved integration of the IT and logistics infrastructure between companies and between online and offline channels, and through the integrated delivery of orders. This will propel logistics into a more serious role in the marketing mix for companies, and so this project will not just deliver new ways to cut costs, but will also increase sales.