Enterprises in the retailing, logistics and transportation sectors have to face several difficult challenges related to the complexity of logistics and distribution strategies. Among others, they have to design business and distribution strategies as well as policies which combine competitiveness, and economic efficiency with sustainability criteria. These issues are critical, especially for small and medium enterprises (SME), since they hardly have the economic and human resources necessary to implement and manage the complex mathematical methods associated with logistics optimization. One strategy that SMEs can follow to become more competitive is to collaborate with other companies (Horizontal Cooperation), allowing the use of economies of scale.
Fortunately, new quantitative methods can be developed now thanks to theoretical advances as well as to the increase in computer power. This is the case of hybrid methods combining metaheuristics, simulation, exact methods, parallel and distributed computing, multi-agent approaches, etc. In particular, as a new research field, ‘simheuristics’ evolves from the simulation-optimization knowledge field and goes one step further by proposing the integration of simulation techniques, metaheuristics, and Internet computing as the most efficient way to deal with the uncertainty and complexity levels which characterize most real-life problems in logistics and transportation.
The Business Analytics Group is the UPF member of this project. Helena Ramalhinho is leading the subproject on BusinessCOOP: Business Analytics Models for Horizontal Cooperation in Transportation and Logistics.
The other two subprojects are led by Javier Faulin, Universidad Publica de Navarra (SustanaibleCOOP: Horizontal Cooperation and Environmental Costs in the Sustainable Management of Goods Transportation) and Angel Juan, Universitat Open of Catalonia (ComputerCOOP: Computer-based decision support for Horizontal Cooperation in Transportation and Logistics).
The project was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, Spain.