The Physical Internet
The Network of Logistics Networks
Eric Ballot, Benoit Montreuil et Russel D. Meller
The performance of logistics networks has made a considerable leap in recent decades. With a development capacity and degree of competition that leave little influence to public corrective actions, it is engendering increasing environmental and societal damage. To avoid the impasse between sustained demand and unsustainable impacts, this work, which is underpinned by a novel stream of research (both in Europe and North America), puts forward a new concept for the global organization of logistics networks: the Physical Internet.
Like the Digital Internet that conveys data, the concept is to connect and synchronize all logistics networks to create a collaborative and robust physical network of networks, capable of continually optimizing the shipment of «encapsulated» goods of many types and sizes:
• in compliance with customer requirements: lead time, security and insurance, controlled temperature, etc.;
• by optimizing both the operator’s and the customer’s economic models;
• by minimizing the environmental footprint;
• by means of routing protocols, interoperability and traceability standards, remuneration rules, compensation mechanisms and new trade configurations.
The book explores the Physical Internet in great detail, showing up its promise and its limitations. The book outlines the essential components, puts forward a framework for specification and analysis, and highlights the dimensions yet to be investigated. Above all, based on illustrative simulations, it confirms the major benefit of the Physical Internet, increasing the cost efficiency of logistics while decreasing its environmental impact — a rare combination.
Eric Ballot is Industrial Management and Supply Chain professor at Mines ParisTech and deputy director of the Scientific Management Lab. He graduated from Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan, held a Phd in mechanical engineering and received his habilitation in industrial engineering. He leads many research projects in France and with international partners. He is the recipient of several research awards and serves as board member for many institutions.
Benoit Montreuil is Professor of Industrial Engineering, Logistics and Business Design at Université Laval. He holds the Canada Research Chair in Enterprise Engineering. Founding member of the CIRRELT, the Inter university Research Center on the Science of Networks, he has a vast international research, consulting, leadership and collaboration experience. Inventor of the Physical Internet, he is passionate about research and innovation shaping new paradigms and transforming the future of industries and society.
Russell D. Meller until recently held the position of the Hefley Professor of Logistics and Entrepreneurship at the University of Arkansas and is now Vice President of Research & Development at Fortna Inc. He served as the Director of the Center for Excellence in Logistics and Distribution, the largest industry-university research center focused on logistics, distribution and supply chain. His international research experience is extensive and includes a year at the Graz University of Technology (Austria) as a visiting distinguished professor. He is the recipient of several research awards.
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