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Seminari prof. Sanchoy Das

Seminari amb motiu de la visita del prof. Sanchoy Das, del Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering; New Jersey Institute of Technology (USA). Dies 5 i 6 d'abril

Fast Fulfillment: The Machine that Changed Retailing

Prof. Sanchoy Das

Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering; New Jersey Institute of Technology (USA)

5/4/2018, 15:30-17:00 & 6/4/2018, 10:00-11:30

Aula Seminari IOC (ETSEIB, planta 11)


A huge change has occurred in how consumers buy the things they need. You no longer need to go to the store to see, buy, and pick-up the products you want. Instead, you can review, select, and pay for the product online, and moreover do it whenever and wherever you wish. Online retail is very different from traditional retail and has two distinct parts: Sell Side – Digital marketing and customer engagement, and Delivery Side – Order processing and fulfillment. The sell side is the more visible part and as customers we have all experienced it and recognize the innovation. The delivery side, though, is behind the scenes and not widely studied or researched by the logistics community. However, the delivery side consists of the new fulfillment infrastructure or physical internet which make it all possible. The delivery side is more challenging for both traditional and pure online retailers, requiring the integration of advanced technologies and significant capital investment. This two-part workshop focuses on the delivery side and introduces concepts, innovations and models that characterize the supply chain and logistics infrastructure of online retailers. A key objective of the delivery side is fast fulfillment, and we present methods and models implemented by Amazon in its fulfillment operations.

Part 1: Paradigm Shift in Retailing Logistics: 5th April, 15:30-17:00

We identify eight paradigm shifts that have driven the growth of the fast fulfillment infrastructure: 1. Online shopping, 2. Point-of-Use Delivery, 3. Earlier Bulk Unitization, 4. Free Shipping, 5. Variety Multiplication, 6. The Warehouse is the Store, 7. Predictive Correlations, and 8. Supply Chain Subscription. How each of these shifts is challenging legacy logistics systems is reviewed and analyzed. Fast fulfillment is the logistical capability to deliver products before the customer is inconvenienced by the lack of it, and this capability is a key enabler of online retailing success. The speed bumps and friction which delay the fulfillment process are identified, and empirical speed comparisons between Amazon and other leading online retailers is presented.

Part 2: The Fulfillment Machine: 6th April, 10:00-11:30

To process millions of orders every day and deliver them anywhere in the U.S. the very next day requires a highly engineered and capital-intensive solution – the fulfillment machine. All brick-and-mortar retailers now have an online store, but none have a fast fulfillment machine. Using probability theory, we introduce the mathematics of fast fulfillment and explain why old warehouse designs cannot achieve fast fulfillment. The concepts of an explosive storage policy and commingled stocking are introduced. In explosive storage an incoming bulk product is exploded into multiple storage lots such that no lot contains more than 10% of the received quantity, the lots are then stored in multiple random locations anywhere in the warehouse without preset restrictions. Process models for stocking algorithms, order picking algorithms, package consolidation, and truck loading sequences are introduced.


Sanchoy Das is Professor of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He received his advanced degrees in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from Virginia Tech. Sanchoy is the director of several graduate programs at NJIT including the Ph.D. & M.S. Programs in Industrial Engineering. In 2006 he designed and launched NJIT’s M.S. in Engineering Management program in Beijing. He managed this program till 2013, at which time over 250 students had graduated from it. Sanchoy’s current research interests are on the application of data driven optimization and analytical models to a wide variety of practical operational problems. Most recently he has be focused on supply chains and specifically on warehousing and distribution operations for online retail supply chains. His research has been published in a wide range of journals including the International journals of production research and production economics. He has consulted with several leading retail and manufacturing companies including H&M, Oticon, and Siemens Healthcare. His research has been sponsored by many agencies including the National Science Foundation, US Department of Energy and US Army Research Office.