Hyperconnected parcel logistic hubs
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Hyperconnected Parcel Logistic Hubs Shannon Buckley 144 Pages Advised By Dr. Benoit Montreuil This thesis focuses on the design of a new era of hub in the parcel logistics industry. Parcel logistics hubs (hubs) are the connective tissue in parcel logistics networks, sorting and transferring parcels from one vehicle to another as quickly as possible. However, as the demand for eCommerce surges, customer expectations for delivery speed rise and as the COVID pandemic creates disruptions throughout supply chains, new solutions are needed to ease the strain on the system. Current parcel logistics hubs are massive facilities filled to the brim with miles of fixed conveyor systems and expensive sorting machines. These hubs were built to handle large volumes of parcels at extremely fast speeds. However, with their fixed resources, they must have all operations finely scheduled and are not able to respond dynamically to disruptions such as an unexpected wave of parcels, resulting in backlogs and unhappy customers. In this thesis we help the transition away from this old, outdated hub design towards, dynamic, flexible hyperconnected parcel logistics hubs. In Chapter 2 we introduce a method for dynamically updating forecasts of the demand that hubs will face in the near future. We describe the new method and then compare it to existing methods with computational experiments. In Chapter 3 we present a pilot design for a new hyperconnected parcel logistics hub called the robotic logistics hub. We introduce designs for the layout as well as the operations and control of the hub, and finish with a comparative study of our hub’s performance against an existing hub from our industry partner. In Chapter 4 we present our novel simulation platform built to enable the analysis of new technology such as the robotic logistics hub. The simulator uses a hybrid discrete event / agent based modelling approach as well as a unique modular construction to allow for a highly flexible tool capable of providing deep insight into many facets of the proposed robotic logistics hub.