Horizontal collaboration in logistics - Increasing efficiency through flexibility, gain sharing and collaborative planning

Date: 10 January 2014

Venue: University of Antwerp, Promotiezaal Grauwzusters - Lange Sint-Annastraat 7 - 2000 Antwerp

PhD candidate: Christine Vanovermeire

Principal investigator: Prof. dr. Kenneth Sörensen

Short description: PhD defence Christine Vanovermeire - Faculty of Applied Economics

Abstract: Supply chains are expected to be increasingly efficient. This does not only encompass low costs related to transport, storage and so on. More and more, supply chains are also judged on their service levels and carbon footprint.

A possible solution is to collaborate horizontally. Companies with similar transportation needs can plan their logistics together, such as companies that share many mutual clients, or companies that transport long-haul to similar regions.

It is crucial that when horizontally collaborating, partners adapt themselves to their partners and are flexible with regard to the terms of their delivery. It is however often not possible for every partner to show the same level of flexibility. This research demonstrates the importance of flexibility to generate collaborative profits. Moreover, contrarily to previous research investigating the impact of flexibility on the level of one company or one logistic alliance, this research focuses on the interactions between characteristics of the different partners. Indeed, an important profitable combination that resulted from this research is a combination of a company with little flexibility, and a company that has a high degree of flexibility.

However, when companies display a different degree of flexibility, the issue of gain sharing becomes even more difficult. What share of the gains should a flexible partner receive in comparison to his non-flexible partner? This research analyses different gain sharing methods, and develops a method that incentivizes flexibility.

Finally, this research focuses on collaborative planning. An optimization model that integrates the cost allocation is proposed. In this way, the model guarantees an efficient operational plan, for which the changes to the terms of delivery are acceptable for all partners.