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Decision support for innovative and sustainable e-grocery logistics

Project Leader
Hirsch Patrick, Project Leader
Jubiläumsfonds der Stadt Wien für die Universität für Bodenkultur Wien
Type of Research
Basic Research
BOKU Research Units
Institute of Production and Logistics
Funded by
Hochschuljubiläumsstiftung der Stadt Wien, 1110 Wien, Austria
E-groceries, i.e. buying and selling food products online, is gaining increased interest, especially in urban city centers. To keep products fresh, providers have to deliver goods quickly, requiring substantial logistical efforts to guarantee service quality. Delivery of such orders to customers, however, is challenging as delays and inefficiencies lead to high costs and further contribute to food waste. The focus of this work is on inventory and delivery strategies. While in traditional brick and mortar stores, e.g., supermarkets, customers can select the product based on quality and expiration date, in e-groceries, primarily the provider performs this selection, which has a considerable impact on food waste, customer satisfaction and service quality. Shipping goods close to expiration reduces spoilage and food waste; however, customers prefer products with a long-lasting shelf life. This conflict and its impact on food logistics is little studied even though it has major implications to various stakeholders such as customers, e-grocery providers, logistic partners and policy-makers. To support sustainable provision of food to urban city centers as well as to contribute to a reduction in food waste, this project develops a decision support system to plan, route and schedule food deliveries to end-customers. Therefore, different inventory policies, e.g., first-in-first-out, first-expired-first-out, last-in-last-out, and different delivery modes, e.g., direct door-to-door delivery or consolidation strategies, are investigated in this work within an agent-based simulation. This simulation is further integrated in a decision support system and combined with geographic information systems and logistical optimization methods to analyze the given problem settings. Based on various test scenarios originating from Vienna, Austria, different delivery and inventory policies are investigated. Furthermore, managerial and policy implications are provided and discussed in this project to facilitate innovation in urban food logistics and to contribute to a reduction in food waste.
E-commerce; Logistics;
Decision Support; Food Waste; Food Logistics; E-Grocery; Simulation Optimization;

Fikar, C (2017): A Decision Support System To Reduce Food Waste In E-Grocery Logistics.
[EurOMA 2017 - 24th International Annual EurOMA Conference. Inspiring Operations Management, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, 01.07.2017 - 05.07.2017]

In: Caldwell, N.; Haniff, A. (Eds), EurOMA 2017 - Link to full papers: FullText


Fikar, C (2017): Simulation optimization-based decision support for e-grocery logistics operations.

Research Seminar at Universidad Pública de Navarra (UPNA), SEP 13, 2017, Pamplona, SPAIN

Fikar, C (2017): A decision support system for last-mile distribution of perishables in e-grocery operations.

OR2017 - International Conference on Operations Research, SEP 6-8, 2017, Berlin, GERMANY

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