2.3.3 Systems approach for the MobileDOCK

Course subject(s) Module 2. System approach to understand city logistics

The animation and video describe a number of activities within the systems approach that relate to how the MobileDOCK booking system was implemented at the Emporium in Melbourne.

Understanding the issues

Firstly, this facility was created to solve a number of delivery problems  that are common at large activity hubs. Unscheduled and unannounced arrival by freight vehicles at loading docks can have many consequences. These relate to the substantial costs that are associated with vehicles queuing at entrances to loading docks due to all loading/unloading bays being occupied during peak periods. This can result in increased traffic congestion on adjacent streets. The time spent coordinating deliveries manually including communication between suppliers, carriers, buyers and receivers can also be substantial.

Booking systems can smooth the delivery patterns throughout the day since mall managers do not like too many drivers in complex at one time, producing clutter and conflicts with shoppers. Significant safety issues can arise from too many vehicles trying to enter and leave a facility. Security can also be a concern in basement loading docks with some vehicles using the facility without delivering goods to that facility.

Surveys can be undertaken to measure the dwell times of vehicles and queue lengths. The arrival times and durations of freight vehicles by vehicle type, goods carried, shipper and receiver also provides information that is helpful to understand the demand patterns at a facility.

Setting goals, objectives and criteria

The main goal at the Emporium in Melbourne was to develop a solution for spreading the delivery peaks to improve amenity, safety and security. Objectives included minimising delays and dwell times of carriers. Criteria used considered the time vehicles spend in queue as well as the number of crashes in the facility.

Selection process

There are generally a number of alternatives available to facility managers to achieve the goals. Allowing casual arrivals where the bays can be accessed by delivery on a first come, first served basis is common practice in many large loading docks. Other initiatives that have potential for improving the operational performance of loading docks include, opening the facility for longer hours to permit off-hour deliveries, mandating higher load factors as well as only permitting deliveries from an Urban Consolidation Centre (UCC) using a Joint Delivery Service (JDS).

Models could be developed to predict queue lengths and delays as well as the number of loading bay required in the facility based on the number and type of stores in the facility. Predictions of revenue from booking are also required for budgeting capital and operational costs.

Evaluation of the options would typically involve consideration of the financial costs, environmental impacts and revenue. Booking systems require software systems to be purchased and operated by facility managers. Revenue is generated by MobileDOCK for each booking made and this is paid by the facility owner. The facility owner typically passes this cost onto the receivers (tenants) as a service fee. Options could assessed on their environmental performance by considering the impacts on fuel consumption and emissions.

Implementation and review

Implementation of a booking system entails the facility management purchasing and operating software systems for creating and managing bookings as well as controlling access to the facility by installing gates and control systems. Payment systems also need to be established.

After implementing the system, reviewing the performance of a booking system can involve monitoring dwell times as well as the arrival times of vehicles compared with the booked times. The number of “no-shows” are also of interest for determining how the system is performing.

Creative Commons License
Sustainable Urban Freight Transport: a Global Perspecitive by TU Delft OpenCourseWare is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://ocw.tudelft.nl/courses/sustainable-urban-freight-transport-global-perspective/.
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