The Design and Operation of On-Demand Distribution Systems

Author: GTSCL
The Design and Operation of On-Demand Distribution Systems


An overview of research being conducted by Dr. Jennifer Pazour, assistant professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, NY, as part of the Georgia Tech Physical Internet Center seminar series (www.picenter.gatech.edu).

SEMINAR DESCRIPTION
Modern distribution systems need to fulfill a wide variety of requests quickly with little warning in small units to many dispersed locations at low costs. This is fundamentally different than yesterday’s demand, which aggregated at fixed (store) locations. Existing distribution solutions, which are often static and have long decision lead times, are too rigid for today’s customers. Resulting in today’s supply chains being optimized for yesterday’s customers. To close the gap between current supply chain operations and customer expectations, this research rethinks supply chain design. By accessing resources on-demand, rather than through ownership, on-demand distribution platforms enable elastic supply capacity that can be scaled up and down, as well as moved in response to changing requirements. Yet, capacity cannot be set. Instead it must be enticed from suppliers (who provide access to their resources). Current centralized approaches to platform design excel at meeting demand commitments, but limit supplier autonomy. Decentralized approaches provide supplier autonomy, but sacrifice systematic performance and are time consuming. This research proposes a new hierarchical approach, recasting the platform’s role as one providing personalized recommendations (i.e., a menu of multiple requests) to suppliers.

ABOUT JENNIFER PAZOUR
Jennifer Pazour, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, NY. Her research and teaching focus on the development and use of mathematical models to guide decision making for logistics and supply chain challenges. She is a recipient of a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award (2018), a Johnson & Johnson Women in

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