The proposed research is particularly novel as for the first time freight transport and e-commerce are explicitly examined as integral elements of the total supply chain. Also, the research brings together a unique combination of skills in terms of the investigators. It will build on previous UK research such as the work at Heriot-Watt University, 'A new deal for transport: Better for everyone', Dundee which applied Japanese manufacturing techniques to road haulage operations; and on the EU 4th Framework research relating to freight transport such as the REDEFINE, STEMM, SOFTICE, TERMINET projects, and the OECD funded TRILOG project.
- Analyse and document logistics, transport, management and e-commerce practices involved in the partners' current supply chains; inter and intra-sector in the UK, European and global contexts.
- Assess the utilisation of vehicles and other carriers (as proxy for performance) and their empty running in fast moving consumer goods (grocery and non-food), steel, and other sectors, taking into account variance in public policy, infrastructure (inclusing e-commerce technology) and sectors.
- Model, simulate and evaluate samples of supply chains using alternative node locations, modes of transport (including multi-modal transport), information technologies (such as e-commerce) and compare their performance with status-quo in terms of supply chain effectiveness and cost.
- Construct and model scenarios of supply chains based on significantly growth in the e-commerce channel to market and testing the application of the lean thinking philosophy.