Fast, efficient, flexible, and reliable urban last-mile logistics services require highly optimized, multi-echelon, multi-modal distribution networks. Research in this domain encompasses optimization and simulation modeling to improve distribution network design and operational planning.
Policy & Infrastructure
The efficiency and sustainability of urban goods distribution is strongly dependent on local regulatory constraints and the provision of appropriate urban freight infrastructure. Research in this domain provides policy makers with insights and tools on how to design effective urban freight policies and where to invest in critical infrastructure.
Logistics Big Data
Logistics operations around the world are generating tremendous amounts of transactional, operational, geospatial, and telemetry data on a daily basis. Leveraging advanced methods of data analytics and machine learning, research in this domain focuses on developing the necessary tools and algorithms to navigate the data, and turn it into intelligible, actionable insights that make logistics operations smarter.
Technology is changing the world of supply chain and logistics, making it increasingly complex to maneuver and sensitive to real-time information. Visual Analytics will form the basis for ground-breaking advancements in handling these new levels of complexity by taking advantage of the increasing velocity of data to improve decision making. Research in this domain focuses on creating new and immersive ways of visualizing and interacting with data, models, and analytical tools – facilitating the work of both researchers and practitioners.
Dr. Matthias Winkenbach, Director MIT Megacity Logistics Lab
Matthias Winkenbach is the Director of the MIT Megacity Logistics Lab and a Research Scientist at the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics. His current research focuses on multi-tier distribution network design in the context of urban logistics and last-mile delivery, urban freight policy and infrastructure design, as well as data analytics and visualization in an urban logistics context. Dr. Winkenbach received his Ph.D. in Logistics and his Masters in Business with specializations in Finance and Economics at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management in Germany. He also studied at NYU Stern School of Business in New York as well as at the École des Hautes Études Commerciales (HEC) in Montréal, Canada. His doctoral studies focused on the optimal design of multi-tier urban delivery networks with mixed fleets. His work was closely linked to a research project with the French national postal operator La Poste. During and after his doctoral studies, he spent several months at the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics as a Visiting Scholar. Dr. Winkenbach’s previous professional work includes working with Volkswagen in South Africa on local sourcing and cost optimization, with Deutsche Telekom in Germany on co-investment models for network infrastructure expansions, with McKinsey & Company in the United States, and in Germany on organizational redesign in the automotive industry and on innovative delivery models in the postal and express logistics sector, as well as various other projects in the mining, shipbuilding, consulting and logistics industries. Dr. Winkenbach won the Science Award for Supply Chain Management of the German Logistics Association (BVL) in 2014, was amongst the finalists for the 2015 Daniel H. Wagner Prize for Excellence in Operations Research Practice, and recently published academic papers in Transportation Science, and Interfaces, as well as some practitioner oriented pieces in the Wall Street Journal and the Sloan Management Review.
Press & Publications
WSJ CIO Blog: MIT Team Uses Big Data, IoT to Speed Up ‘Last Mile’ Deliveries
Click image to read the Wall Street Journal CIO Blog’s coverage on a talk by Dr. Matthias Winkenbach at an MIT supply chain management R&D conference on how big data analytics can be used to improve the efficiency of last-mile delivery operations.
WSJ Guest Voices: Delivery Companies are Redefining the Last Mile in Crowded Cities
Demographic trends and changing retail trends are making urban parcel delivery more complicated, and triggering new strategies to get goods through packed city centers. Click image to read more.
MIT Sloan Management Review: Remapping the Last Mile of the Urban Supply Chain
A new suite of data technologies offers unprecedented promise to crack the black box of effective deliveries in congested cities. Click image to read more.
Publication in Transportation Science: Enabling Urban Logistics Services at La Poste through Multi-Echelon Location-Routing
With this paper, we aim to support the development of profitable urban logistics services by guiding the strategic decision making of postal operators as they design an optimal facility network and vehicle fleet for the centralized consolidation and transportation of inbound and outbound urban freight flows.
Publication in Interfaces: Strategic Redesign of Urban Mail and Parcel Networks at La Poste
In this paper, we discuss our development of a decision model that allows La Poste, the French national postal operator, to assess the cost benefits of merging the urban mail and parcel delivery networks, which were run previously as separate entities.
WSJ: Augmented Reality, Hologram-like Images Enter the Workplace
The use of Augmented Reality is in the earliest stages of commercial development. But researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say improvements in the performance of AR equipment and expected reductions in its cost will help drive the technology into mainstream, specifically in the supply chain.
Forbes: The Last Mile - How Data Analytics In The Cloud Is Improving Parcel Delivery
Over the past decade, the explosion of cloud-based services has yielded a wealth of actionable information to aid in supply chain logistics. This data is increasingly being leveraged by conventional shippers, retailers and a growing stable of innovative startups that deal exclusively in last-mile delivery.
WSJ CIO Blog: Augmented Reality to Revolutionize How Companies Manage Supply Chains
Hologram-like images and virtual reality could revolutionize the way corporations solve problems within their supply chains, because data that would otherwise be obscured in databases and complex mathematical models would be easier to visualize, says Dr. Matthias Winkenbach from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Postal and Parcel Technology International: The inherent advantage of postal operators in the last-mile game
Retailers and carriers are struggling to find and fund suitable locations in or close to city centers that allow for fast and flexible on-demand delivery services that consumers are starting to expect as omnichannel retailing picks up. Cost is a major challenge for them. Postal operators, on the other hand, can benefit from a vast existing infrastructure.