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  • Conference proceedings

  • IPIC 2017 Contributions - Research paper

    • To achieve socio-economic and environmental sustainability, utilization of existing capacities and assets has become a key challenge for the transportation sector. New concepts such as the Physical Internet and synchromodality offer an alternative to the current “business as usual” setting of freight transport services. In this paper, we thus start by conceptualizing the Physical Internet (PI) and synchromodal transport where we examine the state-of-the-art models together with their designs and methodologies proposed in the scientific literature. This is to assess and explore possible correlations between these two concepts to understand how they can reinforce each other. The assessment results in a more unified vision of the freight transport research. The focus of our second objective is on synchromodality, where we translate the PI methodological approaches into a new conceptual framework for synchromodal transport modelling. Given the analytical nature of all synchromodal transport models, the authors intend to induce a paradigm shift; a different way of thinking about the modelling philosophy related to synchromodality. The underlying elements of our approach are multi-agent technology and GIS.

    • Distribution, from the business point of view, is a set of decisions and actions that will provide the right products at the right time and place, in line with customer expectations. It is a process that generates significant cost, but also effectively implemented, significantly affects the positive perception of the company. ILiM, based on the research results related to the optimization of the distribution network and consulting projects for companies, indicates the high importance of the correct description of the physical location within the supply chains in order to make transport processes more effective. Individual companies work on their own geocoding of warehouse locations and location of their business partners (suppliers, customers) but lack of standardization in this area causes delays related to delivery problems with reaching the right destination. Furthermore, cooperating companies do not have a precise indication of the operating conditions of each location, eg. Time windows, logistic units accepted, unloading supporting equipment etc. Lack of this information generates additional costs associated with re-operation and the costs of lost benefits for the lack of goods on time. The solution to this problem seems to be a wide-scale implementation of GS1 standard, which is the Global Location Number (GLN) that, thanks to a broad base of information, will improve the distribution processes within hyperconnected logistics.

    • The issues outlined as follow are based on results of the ACCIA project which have been manifold, due to its being a subject formatting study. By summarising these results, first a documentation of the field of airfreight based on introductory literature and an exploration of official statistical sources on airfreight traffic are given. Subsequently, a deeper analysis of the airports investigated will be shown, whereby essential information was gained on exploratory field visits and by expert discussions on-site. All these insights into air cargo handling and transportation are essential for identifying and characterising the interfaces along the several airfreight transport chains. Based on this information, methodological approaches for analysing the processes along the air cargo transport chains are outlined. Finally, these procedures lead from the interfaces detected to determining application fields on to potential targets for identifying Research, Technology and Innovation RTI-potential. Ultimately, comments are made on these perspectives as to their significance for the future. The interface navigator developed as part of the study can serve as a basis for the step by step implementation of a physical internet along the complex air cargo transport chain.

    • This paper deals with smart locker banks for pickup and delivery in the context of omnichannel business-to-consumer logistics and supply chains. Its main contribution is the conceptualization of hyperconnected smart lockers network designs as an alternative to home delivery for enabling to meet the challenges toward efficiently and sustainably achieving fast and convenient business-to-consumer pickups and deliveries. It gradually explores alternative designs from current practices to solutions exploiting Physical Internet concepts (PI) such as the PI handling containers. The paper identifies key relative advantages and disadvantages of alternative solutions, synthesizes strategic insights for industry, and provides research challenges and opportunities.

    • Blockchain technology receives a lot of interest and investments the last three years. It promises a trusted environment for (un)permissioned data sharing. With respect to logistics, enterprises and authorities can (near) real time share state information. Whenever a stakeholder changes the state of one or more objects like discharging a container from a vessel, all that have access will know this change instantaneously. The Physical Internet requires a large variety of stakeholders to optimize their capacity utilization and combine shipments with the objective to reduce costs and emissions compliant with (inter)national regulations. These stakeholders all need to collaborate and share data to reach these objectives. This contribution shows by means of a case that blockchain supports functional requirements for hyperconnectivity, but is not yet mature enough for large scale application by a large number of (autonomous) objects, individuals, and organizations.

    • Deployment through hyperconnected distribution and fulfillment networks that are proposed in Physical Internet exploits openly shared logistic centers at all levels. This paper focuses on the hyperconnected mixing center (MC) from which multiple manufacturers store and consolidate goods to serve retailer distribution centers (DCs). Compared to current logistics services based on plant warehouses or dedicated MCs, the hyperconnected storage and shipping service offered from the hyperconnected MC can potentially improve the efficiency of logistic operations of its clients and respective retailers served by them significantly. However, the size of the benefit can vary by numerous factors such as client sets of the MC. In the perspective of a logistic service provider aiming to implement a hyperconnected MC, we propose a generic simulation-based methodology to assess the capacity requirement and service capabilities of the MC and illustrate the operations of a hyperconnected MC with empirical study.

    • The current way that supply chains move, handle, store, realize and supply physical objects is unsustainable. To significantly improve supply chain sustainability worldwide, the Physical Internet was proposed as a paradigm breaking model for how supply chains should operate. This new system takes advantage of open flow consolidation across multiple parties in hyperconnected hubs to produce fuller truckloads, and more optimal routes with respect to social, economic and environmental objectives. As can be seen, hyperconnected hub networks are central to the Physical Internet. But, how will modular containers flow through them? How will each hub communicate with the other players in the system? How will demand be split between competing hubs? These are the types of questions that will need answers so that the hubs and the Physical Internet can become a reality on a large scale. In this paper, we exploit a previously developed hub design and create a simulation model in order to examine how different hubs would interact in a competitive environment.

    • Coloured Petri Nets can be a valuable and powerful tool to design, analyse, and control the subsystems composing the Physical Internet, as they are able to capture the precedence relations and interactions among events which characterize the facilities and infrastructures (multimodal logistics centres and hubs, transit centres, roads and railways) through which p-containers are delivered. In this paper, the use of Coloured Petri Nets in the field of the Physical Internet is discussed and an example of the application of such a modelling tool to a multimodal hub in the PI is provided. The multimodal hub consists of four areas: a port area at which vessels arrive and depart, a train terminal for rail transportation, a road terminal for truck-to-X (and vice-versa) transhipment, and a storage area. The storage area and the road terminal are considered in detail, and two nets representing a section of a PI conveyor and a PI sorter/PI composer are proposed to illustrate the applicability of the CPN formalism to the Physical Internet paradigm.

    • This paper focuses on Resource Requirements Planning (RRP) for hyperconnected supply chain. The objective is to enable Physical Internet (PI) Logistics Web actors to plan their resources effectively to be able to fulfill the demand in the forthcoming years. We first identify a lack of research literature about RRP for hyperconnected supply chains. We conclude from our literature review that the research efforts done by the PI community are focused on enabling the PI to become operational. But the PI community has not yet shown any interest in PI strategic planning. So, we position our research regarding the MRP II system’s RRP, focusing on the strategic planning processes for production and capacity control. Therefore, from the lack of research literature about RRP for hyperconnected supply chains, and from the MRP II strategic planning methodology structure, we demonstrate the significant need to adapt this MRP II system’s RRP to fit the hyperconnected supply chains requirements and so the PI requirements. Finally, we introduce a Physical Internet Resource Requirement Planning (PI-RRP) methodology corresponding to our research agenda guidelines. The development of this methodology will drive our futures researches.

    • Expectations are high that the Physical Internet (PI) will contribute substantially to the improvement of transport chains’ efficiency and therefore to a swift reduction of freight transport related emissions. However, the PI’s ecological superiority still needs to be proven in reality. Moreover, in a synchro modal hyper-network, where routing management is decentralized, mechanisms need to be implemented that support emission minimization, both for individual flows as well as on a systems level. A standardized emission calculation tool for measuring emissions of freight transport chains ex-ante as well as ex-post is therefore necessary. Over the past decade, various approaches toward such a standard have been developed. This paper analyzes whether the currently existing approaches of emission calculation standardization are able to provide the necessary evaluations and whether they are equally able to support a successful steering of transport within the PI, so that lower emissions of freight transport can be realized compared to today’s freight transport system. Based on an overview of the basic principles of the PI and on a summary of the status of transport chain emission standardization approaches, the paper analyzes how far these two developments are fully compatible already and which major gaps still need to be closed.

  • IPIC 2017 Contributions - Innovation paper

    • Supply chains with rather small volumes in a disperse network are rather fragmented. City logistics is an example, where Physical Internet is a real game changer in this type of business. Binnenstadservice Nederland B.V. is an advanced operator of anetwork of city hubs in the Netherlands. What has been missing is an IT tool which enables collaboration between involved stakeholders. Therefor the SaaS MixMoveMatch from MARLO has been implemented in 2016 to proceed fast planning of consolidation of shipments in the city hubs as well as the routing and delivery in the city distribution. MixMoveMatch also controls the various processes in the cross docking. Through easy to install standard interfaces data can be imported from the various suppliers and carriers who feed cargo into the hub. The operation in the hub and at the last mile can be done with only one solution and its device substituting the confusing variety of systems to be handled previously. Existing TMS and WMS can remain which keeps new investments to an absolute minimum. This approach enables in an economically feasible way a level of visibility and high quality distribution which hardly existed until now for small volumes of parcel shipments

    • The requirement for rapidly deployable medical capabilities, such as mobile hospitals, has been recognized from the time ofthe US Civil war to more recent occasions (Hoyle, 2004, Mohr et al, 2005)for military and non-military requirements. Hoyle(2004) describes the conversion of a semi-trailer to support readiness outside of Cincinnati, Ohio in the 1960s and Mohr et al., (2005, p. 91) describe a more modern and robust MED-1 which "is the nation’s first fully equipped mobile surgical hospital and consists of two 53-foot tractor trailers, one of which stores equipment and the other a fully functional patient care facility. The facility center morphs into a 1,000-square-foot workspace featuring a two-bed shock–resuscitation and surgical unit and a 12-bed critical and emergency care unit. MED-1 also includes materials for a climate-controlled tented area holding 130 additional beds". While effective in local and regional circumstances due to mounting on tractor trailers, they are currently less mobile if desired to support non-contiguous requirements, for instance during the recent Haiti earthquake, which required mobile military hospitals to beutilized (Pape et al., 2010, Kreiss et al., 2010). The ability to rapidly move a standardized and scalable medical package, capable of rapid expansion and replenishmentis critical.Potential barriers to adoption by Military-civilian and Humanitarian organizations are discussed.Future research opportunities are identified.

    • To develop and pilot the concept of hyper-connected modular and decentralized production, we should rethink Edison's vision of producing electricity on one's own. In other words, a PI-enabled Realization Web will be designed with self-supplied PI-facilities (nodes), which could form the micro-energy network with self-production, supply and utilization. This is a decentralized and hyper-connected renewable energy production network. This counters Westinghouse's idea to provide centralized electricity to nodes via transmission lines, which leads to the current conditions of electricity production using fossil fuels and hydro power. Although it is a better systemic outlook, it also leads to economic dilemma, environmental pollution and social problems.

      With the increasing demand for a sustainable lifestyle among the millennial generation, we believe that supplying electricity in a decentralized way will return gradually to the vision of its pioneer Edison. One of renewable energy's value propositions is its large reliance on decentralized operations, installation and distribution, which highly aligns with the Physical Internet founding principles. In this innovation paper, we have identified the decentralized solar energy production gap, adding on the modular and mobile micro-energy production to satisfy the needs of prosumers (producer & consumer) in the 21st century.

    • Standardized, smart and modular PI-Containers are key elements for an open global logistic system. The modularity provides composition capabilities to build composite PI-containers which allow efficient and easier handling or transport. In the same way, embedded technologies confer intelligence to each PI container. They become individual intelligent objects which can not only identify themselves, but can also sense and measure their environment, and communicate with others objects. From the collaboration of individual intelligences emerges the collective intelligence. This research paper proposes a collective intelligence approach for the management of composite PI-containers in key facilities such as PI-Hubs. The cognitive abilities of each PI-container, associated to a cooperative information aggregation mechanism, are used to generate a virtual object of the composite PI container. The latter makes possible to provision new services in accordance with the users/stakeholders’ requirements. A guidance information service for automated PI-container picking illustrates the proposed approach.

    • In logistics processes with increasing complexity and flexibility the use of wearable solutions can help to increase the efficiency and reliability of manual operation like order picking. With the proof of improving such processes by using wearables like Smart Glasses or a RFID Wristband at hand, the project AR-LEAN focusses on integrating these devices in a flexible wearable assistance solution. Supporting manual processes with such solutions will still be relevant in Physical Internet based environments, as manual handling will remain crucial in processes handling small PI containers. Besides describing the wearable solutions and their development, the paper discusses the relevance of such technologies in relation to smart PI containers.

    • Microzoning is a method which makes (last-mile) road transport more efficient and sustainable. The method generates small compact areas, called microzones, which can be used as building blocks to design efficient service zones. The innovative methodology uses a grid of an area, heuristic methods and routing algorithms to develop the service zones. Stakeholders’ preferences can be incorporated into the model to generate industry or company specific microzones. This methodology has been applied by Argusi during a project for a parcels delivery company located in the Netherlands to facilitate their last-mile transport.

    • The Physical Internet (PI) concept has many different connotations at various levels of business, from the strategic point of view of the company, the horizontal collaboration with other companies, down to the operational integration of the processes. Complexity reduces the sense of control in the logistics operation. These intricate relationships of PI make logistics flows more complex, but the final result from a point of view of resources is a more efficient and environmentally friendly process. This paper describes how the use of different types of analytical models and simulation models could help to create trust and confidence around the PI concept. The simulations help to analyse business models, to evaluate the relationship between the main variables, to visualize the flows, to understand the dynamics of the processes and to evaluate numerically the impact of the new flows of products.

    • Logistics in Brazil is very unsustainable, inefficient and precarious. Transport matrix, composed of 61% of highways, 21% of railroads and 14% of waterways, when at least 60% of this matrix should be anchored in railroads and waterways. Lack of investments in the logistics and multimodality network, as well as technological resources to facilitate the systematic arrangement among all the agents involved. The physical internet that adds concepts of an open global logistics system founded on physical, digital and operational interconnectivity through encapsulation, interfaces and protocols. The Physical Internet enables an efficient and sustainable Logistics Web that is adaptable, efficient, systemic and resilient. These features can answer for some Brazilian logistics problems. This paper reviews the main foundations and constituents of the physical internet theory in order to try to answer the main logistics problems that Brazil faces in trying to find possible solutions. In the end, it is concluded that, in fact, it is possible as long as the country creates investments for the infrastructure and technological resources, however, more studies can help in this matter.

    • One of the biggest challenges in the field of Physical Internet (PI) is the optimization of material flows within global transportation networks. Within such real-world logistics networks, complex problems with many restrictions have to be considered. As such problems are highly dynamic, standard formulations and algorithms of already known problem models are difficult to apply. Thus, it is necessary to develop new methods which allow a stable optimization of PI logistics networks. One solution approach is simulation-based optimization. Realistic models of real-world environments are created to be able to consider all complex restrictions. It has to be decided how simulation and optimization nodes work together and communicate with each other. These considerations have to be made due to the required coupling process between the simulation and optimization.
      This paper shows how the optimization of a PI problem is interrelated with its simulation. It is demonstrated how simulation is used to evaluate possible solution candidates of the optimization process. Furthermore, it is presented how the simulation uses the optimization algorithms to generate new feasible candidates. The developed solution approach is realized by using the frameworks HeuristicLab and Easy2Sim. HeuristicLab is used for optimization and Easy2Sim for simulation parts. Moreover, it is presented how simulation and optimization parts communicate with each other. Therefore, an interface for the exchange of data between the simulation and the optimization pars is implemented. As a result, components can be programmed in different languages and different data structures can be used.