November 28, 2007
GREENVILLE – After a 1 year research venture with Michelin, North America, Clemson’s research team reports findings on a load consolidation model. In 2007, The Center for Engineering Logistics and Distribution (CELDi) at Clemson University teamed up with Michelin North America (headquartered in Greenville, SC) to explore next generation distribution solutions. Dr.
William Ferrell, the Site Director for CELDi at Clemson, led a team of two graduate Research Assistants as they worked with Michelin personnel to both lower the costs of distribution of tires from distribution centers to retail locations and also to increase the quality of service to customers. Specifically, the project focused on providing proof of concept solutions for the use of load consolidation, pool points, and dedicated routes.
The students developed a load consolidation model, based in Excel, which provides solutions in minutes through the use of a random search algorithm. The model is subject to actual business constraints including hours of service requirements, delivery time windows, and capacity restrictions and balances the conflicting objectives between truckload carriers and vendors. The model provides results which show a significant reduction in distribution cost. Additionally, the students developed a tool for building dedicated routes, also in Excel, which designs maximized loads when given locations, demands, and delivery time constraints. The development of reusable tools, which can be operated by business users on local PCs, was a key focus of this project and allows Michelin to easily implement the results. The third component of the project was an analysis of the opportunity to use pool points, which allows Michelin to quantify the costs associated with pooling and compare that to the opportunity of providing improved service to customers.