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Alvarez-Miranda, E., & Pereira, J. (2022). A Districting Application with a Quality of Service Objective. Mathematics, 10(1), 13.
Abstract: E-commerce sales have led to a considerable increase in the demand for last-mile delivery companies, revealing several problems in their logistics processes. Among these problems, are not meeting delivery deadlines. For example, in Chile, the national consumer service (SERNAC) indicated that in 2018, late deliveries represented 23% of complaints in retail online sales and were the second most common reason for complaints. Some of the causes are incorrectly designed delivery zones because in many cases, these delivery zones do not account for the demographic growth of cities. The result is an imbalanced workload between different zones, which leads to some resources being idle while others fail to meet their workload in satisfactory conditions. The present work proposes a hybrid method for designing delivery zones with an objective based on improving the quality of express delivery services. The proposed method combines a preprocess based on the grouping of demand in areas according to the structure of the territory, a heuristic that generates multiple candidates for the distribution zones, and a mathematical model that combines the different distribution zones generated to obtain a final territorial design. To verify the applicability of the proposed method, a case study is considered based on the real situation of a Chilean courier company with low service fulfillment in its express deliveries. The results obtained from the computational experiments show the applicability of the method, highlighting the validity of the aggregation procedure and improvements in the results obtained using the hybrid method compared to the initial heuristic. The final solution improves the ability to meet the conditions associated with express deliveries, compared with the current situation, by 12 percentage points. The results also allow an indicative sample of the critical service factors of a company to be obtained, identifying the effects of possible changes in demand or service conditions
Sandoval, G., Alvarez-Miranda, E., Pereira, J., Rios-Mercado, R. Z., & Diaz, J. A. (2022). A novel districting design approach for on-time last-mile delivery: An application on an express postal company. Omega-Int. J. Manage. Sci., 113, 102687.
Abstract: Last-mile logistics corresponds to the last leg of the supply chain, i.e., the delivery of goods to final cus-tomers, and they comprise the core activities of postal and courier companies. Because of their role in the supply chain, last-mile operations are critical for the perception of customers regarding the perfor-mance of the whole logistic process. In this sense, the sustained growth of e-commerce, which has been abruptly catalyzed by the irruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, has hanged the habits of customers and overtaxed the operational side of delivery companies, hindering their viability and forcing their adap-tation to the novel conditions. Many of these habits will remain after we overcome the sanitary crisis, which will permanently reshape the structure and emphasis of postal supply chains, demanding compa-nies to implement organizational and operational changes to adapt to these new challenges. In this work we address a last-mile logistic design problem faced by a courier and delivery company in Chile, although the same problem is likely to arise in the last-mile delivery operation of other postal companies, in particular in the operation of express delivery services. The operational structure of the company is based on the division of an urban area into smaller territories (districts) and the outsourcing of the delivery operation of each territory to a last-mile contractor. Because of the increasing volume of postal traffic and a decreasing performance of the service, in particular for the case of express deliveries, the company is forced to redesign its current territorial arrangement. Such redesign results in a novel optimization problem that resembles a classical districting problem with the additional quality of service requirements. This novel problem is first formulated as a mathematical programming model and then a specially tailored heuristic is designed for solving it. The proposed approach is tested on instances from the real-life case study, and the obtained results show significant improvements in terms of the percent-age of on-time deliveries achieved by the proposed solution when compared to the current districting design of the company. By performing a sensitivity analysis considering different levels of demand, we show that the proposed approach is effective in providing districting designs capable of enduring signifi-cant increases in the demand for express postal services.