Market Uptake of ICT Usage for Enhanced Visibility on Supply Chain
Konstantinos Papoutsis, Centre For Research And Technology Hellas/Hellenic Institute Of Transport, Michael Gogas, Centre For Research And Technology Hellas/Hellenic Institute Of Transport, Eftihia Nathanail, Centre For Research And Technology Hellas/Helle
This paper aims at investigating the market uptake of ICT usage for enhanced supply chain visibility. This is achieved through the conduction of questionnaire-based survey of involved stakeholders in order to capture their point of view.
Market uptake of ICT usage for enhanced visibility on supply chain
Information and Communication Technologies significantly assist enhanced tracking and tracing of goods across supply networks providing optimized interfaces between long and short distance transport and focusing especially on the efficiency of the ‘last-mile’ distribution. The European Union’s research and freight transport logistics action plan to “keep freight moving” (European Commission, 2007) aim towards the implementation of measures that foster the efficient and reliable interconnection of the international leg of transportation and the interurban-urban freight transport networks. In this regard, large-scale demonstration projects of new policies and respective measures are set up to encourage market uptake of new concepts (European Commission, 2011).
STRAIGHTSOL (Strategies and measures for smarter urban freight solutions) is a three-year transport research project, co-funded by European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme. Amongst the project’s objectives, an impact assessment framework to be applied on certain urban and interurban logistics concepts is included. This framework is evaluated mainly in terms of stakeholders’ interest and point of view. In parallel, seven medium and large scale field conceptual demonstrations are supported and evaluated.
Amongst these seven field demonstrations, the use of ICT for improved visibility of transport chain is assessed. In particular, GPS and RFID systems with concrete types of devices affixed onto train wagons capture and disseminate the exact location of international cargo transported by rail in real-time. The logistics service provider being aware of the location of incoming cargo prepares the final transport leg that consists of urban and interurban distribution performed by trucks on the road network. Within this context, substantial share of the current situation excessive truck-kilometers is expected to be avoided. In addition, the level of time reliability of freight transport assignments is expected to be upgraded, especially in the ‘last-mile’ distribution. Also, the quality assurance of deliveries will increase, providing guarantee that all cargo is delivered in right form and quantity, increasing the market uptake success and strengthening the customer satisfaction.
The main scope of this paper is to investigate the market uptake of this application and how each involved stakeholder group reacts and is benefited towards this concept. Six different groups of stakeholders are considered, consisting of shippers, logistics service providers, receivers, truck operators, rail infrastructure owner, and public – both as civilians and as consumers. Their point of view is investigated through interviews with selected executives of each stakeholder group paying special attention to the diversification of their profiles so as to broaden the credibility range of final outcomes. To this direction, questionnaires addressed to each one of the stakeholders (one per stakeholder) were structured to screen out the main impact areas of the application.
The methodology was shaped taking into account the expected, targeted impact of this application on different stakeholders. General public was addressed under the framework of environmental impacts perception and customer behavior towards delays in a delivery of a product. Shippers and truck operators were treated in accordance with the transport characteristics of transported cargo (load factor, truck-kilometers, delays, etc). Costs, benefits and delays were the main features that were taken into consideration in the context of infrastructure provider. Both delays and loss of profits constituted principal impact areas that such application may have on receivers. The logistics service providers who were interviewed pinpointed notable changes in truck-kilometers. This, in turn, may affect the level of environmental emissions, reliability of deliveries, renting and handling costs.
The expected results will portray the market behavior towards such applications that support real-time information and supply chain visibility for freight transport actors. However, this survey endeavors to provide an insight of the benefits that each involved actor may derive by this new measure and bear witness of how such research efforts are dealt with by the industry community. The added-value of this survey is that a clear link between transport research and transport industry is established validating, at hand, the uptake potential of such policies.
Key words: market uptake, supply chain visibility, city logistics, cargo monitoring, evaluation framework, freight transport, stakeholders, questionnaire survey.
Commission of the European Communities (2007). Freight Transport Logistics Action Plan. COM (2007) 607 – Final. Brussels, Belgium.
European Commission (2011). WHITE PAPER - Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system. COM (2011) 144 – Final. Brussels, Belgium.
Association for European Transport