The Benefits of Re-Evaluating Real-Time Fulfillment Decisions
Author(s)Xu, Ping Josephine; Allgor, Russell; Graves, Stephen C.
At the time of a customer order, the e-tailer assigns the order to one or more of its order fulfillment centers, and/or to drop shippers, so as to minimize procurement and transportation costs, based on the available current information. However this assignment is necessarily myopic as it cannot account for all future events, such as subsequent customer orders or inventory replenishments. We examine the potential benefits from periodically re-evaluating these real-time order-assignment decisions. We construct near-optimal heuristics for the re-assignment for a large set of customer orders with the objective to minimize the total number of shipments. We investigate how best to implement these heuristics for a rolling horizon, and discuss the effect of demand correlation, customer order size, and the number of customer orders on the nature of the heuristics. Finally, we present potential saving opportunities by testing the heuristics on sets of order data from a major e-tailer.
Innovation in Manufacturing Systems and Technology (IMST);
Fulfillment, Assignment, Network Design