Simulation-Based Assessment of Fulfillment Strategies in the E-Grocery Sector

Environmental sustainability is among the key concerns of our time. The traffic and transportation sectors have an especially high negative impact on sustainability metrics, such as CO2 emissions.

A potential solution to reducing the traffic and transportation sectors are grocery deliveries (e-grocery), which can achieve economies of scale by bundling orders. Within the last two decades, multiple e-grocery concepts have evolved in operational practice. We assess these concepts, by means of a comprehensive simulation study, to guide future systematic investigation on (simulation-based) sustainability research.

The model combines agent-based modeling properties with a discrete-event simulation technique, whereby the synchronous time advancing mechanism is triggered by sequential behavioral state changes of agents and the resulting interactions in the specified agent networks.

Within the scope of simulation study, the researchers assessed six scenarios with different logistics elements and sequences and used a Monte Carlo simulation tool for multiple simulation experiments on the underlying fulfillment scenarios.

Conceptual simulation model
Conceptual simulation model

The concrete results of the study indicate that grocery deliveries by courier, express, and parcel organizations can outperform fulfillment strategies based on insourcing by up to 50% in terms of distance traveled, as well as 39% and 66% regarding CO2 and PM2.5 emissions.

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