The unprecedented effect of China’s Coronavirus actions on supply chains continues to astound us. Sam Whelan’s article points out that quarantines on drivers moving between cities and/or ports have caused driver shortages. Cold chain goods can’t be moved and lie rotting in the box. How can food and perishables shippers function in such an environment?
Firms are also charging extra fees for handling and storage. A lot of the trouble is with goods coming to China from neighbors such as India. there are some issues with US exports to China as well.
I recently published a new paper in the journal Games. You can see it below.
It deals with a very important logistics problem. In a cold chain, different parcels require different conditions of temperature. A multiple compartment vehicle can be sued to consolidate loads with different temperature characteristics in one vehicle. But loading the vehicle at a low cost is a hard problem, requiring heuristics to solve. And even then, how do we divide the cost of loading among the different package owners in a fair way? ‘Fair’ here means that no group of owners will choose to leave the consolidation, because they cannot do better on their own than the cost they are charged.
The paper uses an inductive algorithm on top of a common heuristic to give a method for solution. There is a small example in the paper that shows how to apply the algorithm.
I found this outstanding example of entrepreneurship through the Supply Chain @ MIT blog. It is a great case of entrepreneurs meeting a real need and shaping the product to fit it. The extra advantage, and one all entrepreneurs should heed, is that many of the best ideas are humanitarian, sustainable, and ethical, turning a problem real people (or creatures) have into something economically viable as well. Hats off to these students.
Also note that MIT students (and Harvard students, I am bound to say, though my Princeton degree makes it harder) won the first 3 prizes!!
Modular boxes that keep food shipments fresh win MIT Food and Agribusiness Innovation Prize.