Optimisation, Technology & Efficiency
To increase the efficiency of supply chains and reduce their environmental impact, supply chain processes and operations need to be optimised, and the impact of emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles, modular containers and Hyperloop needs to be understood. Visibility and digitisation are real game-changers enabling massive efficiency gains, resulting in cost savings and environmental benefits for the industry.
“Digitisation will have the impact on supply chains that steam and electricity had on manufacturing”
However to reach these benefits, one needs to use available data and information in an intelligent and rational way. “To match supply and demand in smaller and varied shipments, brains, spreadsheets and phone calls aren’t enough. You need technology and data to make decisions right.” (R. Petersen, Flexport, The Economist, Jul 11th 2019). The ePIcenter project develops AI algorithms and logistics optimisation and simulation software that enable the end-to-end optimisation of logistics processes.
First of all, the project develops solutions to optimize day-to-day operations and real time planning, addressing both synchromodal transport network planning (ePI-Link) as well as hub or terminal planning (ePI-Node). By addressing ePI-Links and Nodes together rather than in isolation, both operational planning processes can interact, communicate and eventually be planned together. A user-friendly ChatBot function is layered on top of this optimisation tools, making them easy to use and operate.
“Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine.”
Secondly laboratory simulation techniques and supporting analysis methodologies are developed. They support a better understanding and strategic decision-making on the impact of new concepts and technologies in global logistics, and new trade routes to and from Europe such as the Silk route and the Arctic route.
Impact of new technologies and trade routes
To compare the impact of new freight network configurations, a toolset is developed to accelerate the development and analyse the feasibility and benefits of new technologies or concepts such as Hyperloop, autonomous vehicles and modularisation technologies.
These models allow different transport network scenarios to be simulated based on routing and scheduling data. More specifically for the Arctic route, AI-based navigation algorithms are developed for environmental and wildlife-friendly shipping navigation in the Arctic. This results in a reduced fuel usage, underwater noise and whale and ice-strikes.