A business ecosystem modelling approach for the simulation and evaluation of city logistics projects
Lunch Seminar DIGEP with Giovanni Zenezini, PhD Student in Management, Production and Design.
Freight transportation activities in urban areas have a great impact on both supply chain costs, cities’ infrastructures and pollution level. On the one hand, freight vehicles movement account for around 20% of vehicle-kilometers travelled on urban roads as well as roughly 50% of Particulate Matter (PM) emissions. On the other hand, up to 40% of supply chain costs are related to the last leg of the delivery process, which takes place within urban boundaries. To try to reduce these negative impacts and improve the efficiency of private operators, several initiatives have been designed, tested and implemented in many cities around the world and especially in Europe. Such measures are usually enclosed under the term “City Logistics” (CL) by scholars and city managers. CL is defined as the effort to “totally optimize the logistics and transport activities by private companies in urban areas while considering the traffic environment, the traffic congestion and energy consumption”. Several CL projects have already proven that stakeholders’ objectives can be met quite successfully at a small, local scale, whereas they often fail to scale-up and become a real alternative in the urban freight distribution market. Divergent objectives between the stakeholders has been identified as one of the major reason to explain why such initiatives do not achieve enough profitability to spur their growth. Hence, a major challenge associated with the implementation of CL initiatives lies with their economic and financial long-term sustainability. To this end, it is instrumental to take explicitly into account the decisions taken by CL stakeholders on the long-term, which are closely related to their business model. The business model concept can thus be of great help when it comes to assess the business decision-making criteria underlying the success or failure of a CL initiative. However, existing business model frameworks have been deemed to be of great value for analyzing the business environment of a single firm rather than a network of stakeholders. The objective of my PhD project is to overcome the shortcomings of the business model approach so to apply it into a dynamic simulation and evaluation of CL concepts. The project is divided into two parts: first, a theoretical model is built from a role-based business ecosystem modelling approach to provide a business model representation of the CL business ecosystem; second, the framework is implemented into a simulation model by adopting an agent-based modelling approach. For the development of my project, I am collaborating with a research group from the Technological University of Delft, where I spent 6 months of visiting period during my PhD.
Giovanni Zenezini is a PhD candidate at the Department of Management and Production Engineering at the Politecnico di Torino. His research interests focus on city logistics and innovative urban sustainable transportation systems.