On June 25th 2020, 35+ people attended the ICONET Physical Internet (PI) Workshop arranged through ALICE. The ICONET Project fits neatly into the core values and mission of ALICE and we are grateful for their help and time. It is part of ICONET’s commitment to reach out to other Projects funded by the EU in the same/similar area. The congruency between ICONET and ALICE was explained as follows:
- Realization of the PI through a sustainable and integrated European Transport & Logistics ecosystem
- Emphasis on interconnectivity, effectiveness and speed through the usage of enabling innovative technologies and open transparent collaborations
- Alignment towards the PI roadmap in the Transport & Logistics sector in Europe defined by strategies and plans in an industry sector characterized today by a high environmental and energy impact but also opportunities for reduced fragmentation and optimized efficient processes
- Common goals of CO2 emissions reductions, seamless physical, digital and financial connectivity of logistics networks while preserving or improving service levels to stakeholders and users
The Workshop was centred around the SONAE Living Lab where PI principles are being applied to SONAE’s e-commerce network; they are the leading food retailer in Portugal. After an introduction to the Project and the PI principles from Makis Kouloumbis (Inlecom), Angela Cruz from SONAE took us through their business Case. Their challenges were order fulfilment, high cost of picking and packing, the effects of local urban transport, lead times and the new challenges of CoVid-19 and volume of orders.
They went on to explain their current supply chain, its challenges and two business scenarios were developed as alternatives:-
- A Decentralised Order Preparation and Delivery
- Multiple company scenario involving other businesses
This was followed by descriptions of the ICONET services that have been designed and built to produce the data and physical transparency to allow optimisation of the e-commerce supply chain. The Networking (Kostas Zavitsas, VLTN) and Routing Services (Gabriele Ranco, IBM) and their role in the SONAE Supply Chain were explained.
The other services, for example warehousing, will be the subject of another Living Lab Workshop. The Optimisation Methods developed for a PI-node (eg Warehouse) were explained by David Cipres, ITAINNOVA and covered Storage, Order Picking and Packing for Delivery. The role of Machine Learning and AI were discussed and the webinar finished with a simulation video and the conclusions from SONAE’s perspective.
- Collaborative networks lead to lower costs and significant C02 generation reductions.
- The next steps include optimised routing and end-to-end visibility to allow tracking by diverse systems: customer mobile phone, procurement, warehouse planners, etc,