ATRI is collaborating with The Center for Excellence in Logistics and Distribution (CELDi) to evaluate options for improving current distribution logistics. The Physical Internet project analyzes the way physical objects are transported, handled, stored, supplied, produced, and used with the goal of identifying more sustainable options for each part of the distribution chain. The initiative uses operation concepts employed by the Digital Internet to discover how these same operations could be manipulated for use in the Physical Internet (i.e., distribution chains).
Of particular interest to the research team is the impact of standard container sizes on the freight distribution network and overall performance of the supply chain. The team assisted in developing a package model to determine the impact of standardized package sizes on shipping volume. The model used real data from large suppliers and concluded that standardized package sizes could result in a seventy-three percent increase in overall efficiency.
Research efforts also include formulating a load planning model. The load planning model evaluates the resulting impact on the flow of freight in a Physical Internet environment. The team determined that total transportation costs and trailer fullness were dependent upon the number of participants. As the number of participants using standardized package sizes increases, total transportation costs decrease and trailer fullness increases.
The project will continue Physical Internet research to identify the optimal method for addressing both the standardization of container sizes and load planning problems, as well as designing a feasible implementation plan. ATRI participates in monthly teleconferences, providing insights on trucking industry practices, and shares data (if available and appropriate).