A Decision Support System for Efficient Last-Mile Distribution of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables as Part of E-Grocery Operations

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Waitz, Martin; Mild, Andreas; Fikar, Christian
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Efficient last-mile distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables is a major challenge within e-grocery operations. This work presents a decision support system to jointly investigate the impact of various service offers on customer preferences and logistics operations. Results from a conjoint analysis surveying 531 end consumer are incorporated within an agent-based simulation. Delivery days, fees, time windows and discounts as well as guaranteed remaining shelf life of products at delivery are considered. To model shelf life and schedule deliveries, food quality models and vehicle routing procedures are further integrated within the system. Based on an e-grocery provider operating in Vienna, Austria, computational experiments investigate the impact of the offered delivery service on fulfilled demand, order volume and customer utility. Results indicate the importance of incorporating shelf life data within e-grocery operations and various potentials of considering customer preferences in logistics decision support systems.