Rabe, M.;Jesus Gonzalez-Feliu, J.; Chicaiza-Vaca, J.; Tordecilla, R. D.:Simulation-Optimization Approach for Multi-Period Facility Location Problems with Forecasted and Random Demands in a Last-Mile Logistics Application. Algorithms 14(2021), 14, article 41.

The introduction of automated parcel locker (APL) systems is one possible approach to improve urban logistics (UL) activities. Based on the city of Dortmund as case study, we propose a simulation-optimization approach integrating a system dynamics simulation model (SDSM) with a multi-period capacitated facility location problem (CFLP). We propose this integrated model as a decision support tool for future APL implementations as a last-mile distribution scheme. First, we built a causal-loop and stock-flow diagram to show main components and interdependencies of the APL systems. Then, we formulated a multi-period CFLP model to determine the optimal number of APLs for each period. Finally, we used a Monte Carlo simulation to estimate the costs and reliability level with random demands. We evaluate three e-shopper rate scenarios with the SDSM, and then analyze ten detailed demand configurations based on the results for the middle-size scenario with our CFLP model. After 36 months, the number of APLs increases from 99 to 165 with the growing demand, and stabilizes in all configurations from month 24. A middle-demand configuration, which has total costs of about 750, 000e, already locates a suitable number of APLs. If the budget is lower, our approach offers alternatives for decision-makers.