Invited Speakers

Carlos A. Gonzalez-Calderon
Research Associate
VREF Center of Excellence for Sustainable Urban Freight Systems
Center for Infrastructure, Transportation, and the Environment
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Title: The Impacts of Congestion on Supply Chains: Recent Results from an Inter-American Development Bank Initiative

Congestion in urban areas heavily impact supply chains. This webinar will present a methodology to assess the economic impacts of congestion on logistic costs and estimate the direct environmental impacts of urban freight activity. Collecting information to characterize supply chains is a highly complex task, due to the diversity of participants in the logistical operations, and the fact that these participants have a partial view of the system. In designing the methodology, the following objectives guided the process: (1) Applicability; (2) Comparability; (3) Practicality; and (4) Robustness. In order to test the principles developed, pre-pilot studies were conducted in three Latin American Cities: Barranquilla, Colombia; Santiago, Chile and Sao Paulo, Brazil. Results from these pilot tests will also be discussed.

Leandro C. Coelho
Canada Research Chair in Integrated Logistics
Operations and Decision Systems Department, Faculty of Administration Sciences
Université Laval

Title: Traffic and city: how to plan for better distribution

We review the new trend in distribution problems accounting for traffic and time-dependent delays, as is common in most big cities. We identify some shortcomings in the current state of research, and suggest alternatives for their resolution. However, the new ideas are challenging and require a new body of research to truly emerge, ranging from geomatics, engineering, optimization, database management, real-time data acquirement, and much more.

We describe a practical approach to measure and compute not only traffic but also the time it takes to traverse any arc in a large network based on a large amount of data obtained through crowdsourcing. Our method is capable of providing the real-time state of the network with 15-minute intervals for any day of the week.

Based on a close collaboration with a distribution company, we are able to assess the quality of their routes and to propose significant improvements, showing how one can have trucks delivery more and wait less in congested traffic.

Marie-Ève Rancourt
Assistant Professor, Department of Logistics and Operations Management
HEC Montreal

Title: Applied OR research to support humanitarian operations in developing countries

In Africa, annual weather patterns cause recurrent shocks that expose populations to food insecurity and famines. In some regions, seasonal droughts create regular food shortages that are mitigated through sustained food aid. Armed conflicts across the region, populations’ health and economic vulnerabilities also compound crises and trigger the need for humanitarian assistance and development programmes. During this presentation, different research projects related to logistics decision planning for mitigating the consequences of such issues will be presented. All these projects are based on actual cases ‒ studies made in collaboration with different organizations ‒ and uses real data. The solution approaches were developed using techniques rooted in operations research principles, such as optimization, simulation, mathematical programming and statistical analyses.

The first studies that will be presented concern network design problems arising in three different contexts: relief item prepositioning (Uganda), food aid distribution (Kenya) and community healthcare services (Liberia). The last project concerns transportation procurement in East Africa, where volatile transportation markets engender several contracting challenges for shippers, both humanitarian and commercial organizations. The rewards and challenges of OR applied research to support humanitarian supply chain management in developing countries will also be discussed.

Ana Maria Anaya Arenas
Assistant Professor, Management and Technology Department

Title: Using OR tools to plan a fair distribution network

Operational research (OR) is a powerful tool applied for a long time now to support (among many things) logistics and operations management in complex contexts. However, when a non-commercial environment is considered and a maximum revenue is no longer the main objective that drove the decision-making, a direct application of the “classic models” is not possible. This presentation is inspired by some of the challenges faced by non-governmental organizations involved in the distribution of humanitarian relief and recovery activities in the aftermath disasters within rural communities. A major concern of these organizations is to warrant that relief is distributed in a fair and transparent way, thus I will discuss the importance of fairness in relief distribution and how OR can contribute to solving this hard problem, especially in a context where delivery of vital items must be assured periodically. Some performance indicators to measure fairness are proposed, which can be useful to organizations that are accountable for their impartiality in their decisions. Finally, an academic case inspired by a rural aid distribution problem is used to analyze different formulations available to crisis managers.