Delft University of Technology
Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering
Transport Technology

C.D. Noorlander Operationele kosten van een overslagcentrum
Masters thesis, Report 2006.TL.7049, Transport Engineering and Logistics.

When a logistic service provider receives a request for a quotation from a potential client, it will strive for a good balance between precision of the quotation and the time that it needs to set up the quotation. The main objective of this thesis is to design a tool that offers the opportunity to save information from the past and to use this as base to calculate the cost of new requests. The purpose of this tool is to accelerate the composition of the quotation.

In actual practice, after the company has received a request for cost quotation, it will first set up several drafts for the logistic operation based on the information from the potential client. This logistic operation takes place in a distribution centre (DC). After that, these drafts are weighed. Eventually the company makes a cost quotation using the chosen draft. This process is the principle for setting up the model.

Desk research proved that Systematic Layout Planning (SLP) is qualified for designing a distribution centre, for, compared to other methods, this method has the advantage of being an iterative process. Using SLP, several designs will be formed after several stages have repeatedly been completed. In this thesis, the alternatives have been weighed on the basis of operational cost.

A particular stage in SLP is the productûquantity-analysis, with which the articles that are to be distributed are subdivided into groups (so-called product families). Practice proves that a DC is composed of several sub warehouses, which are often designed on the base of product families. A sub warehouse is subdivided in five divisions: receipt of goods, storage, processes specified by the client, dispatch and transport between the divisions.

The desk research was also necessary to find a method for DC cost quotation. In practice, a DC mainly has indirect expenses (expenses that are not directly assigned to products). Activity Based Costing (ABC) has three more advantages for cost quotation than the storage method and the cost outline method; improved distribution codes (a ratio that is used to the divide the expenses), a large low-level specification and improved cost information.

The model, which forms the base of this tool, is based on both the methods ABC and SLP. A standard definition has been formulated for the DC within the model. Drafts can be saved using this definition. Several concepts of a DC are located with the help of the saved sub warehouses through an algorithm, emanating from an inputted product profile that consists of one ore more product families. The concept with the lowest operational expenses is chosen as solution from all the concepts found that may consist of one or more sub warehouses.

The input of the tool is a product profile. This product profile is composed of a large number of parameters. A labour-intensive data analysis is often necessary in order to come to such a product profile. A gain in speed can be achieved by reducing the number of parameters. This thesis initiated further research for the reduction of the input. The input can be limited up to 37 parameters by composing a simplified standard flow diagram of a DC. Desk research has been done to find a good method for finding a connection between the nine parameters that the client often knows himself and the 37 parameters that are necessary as input. Fuzzy logic seems to be an appropriate method, because it has the advantage of consonantly providing insight to the information. Future investigation will eventually have to prove that fuzzy logic is applicable.

It turns out to be possible to develop a software program that creates a cost quotation from new projects based on information from the past, and it also turns out that the model that is based on SLP and ABC is qualified for this.

Case study proves that the division of the organisation of a DC carries much weight with the final operational cost. It is of great importance to perform further investigation for the structure of the organisation in this model. It is recommended to further define the activities in the organisation and to make it more dependent on the product profile.

Reports on Transport Engineering and Logistics (in Dutch)
Modified: 2006.04.25; , TU Delft / 3mE / TT / LT.