In the U-TURN Project, we focus on grocery deliveries in the UK. Retailers may choose to fulfill online grocery orders from fulfillment centers, dark stores, or stores depending on their operating model. We generalize these strategies under the concept of a “picking location”. We then hypothesize the concept of a micro-hub which will act like small consolidation centre for home deliveries. Micro-hubs are intended to have a short radius of coverage, and orders from the micro-hubs can be distributed for example using electric vehicles. We focus on flows from picking locations to micro-hubs which comprise the daily orders to be satisfied later, and flows from micro-hubs to consumers’ homes which consist of individual orders from specific addresses. Whilst studying these flows we consider three models: Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem with Time Windows for distributing the orders from micro-hubs to consumers, and two versions of Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem for flows from picking locations to micro-hubs. The first version considers the daily demand whereas the second version investigates the daily demand within four time periods: 8am to 12pm; 12pm to 4pm; 4pm to 8pm, and 8pm to 12am. I will be reporting on the models and the outputs in the next few posts.
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