Logistics Professor Blog

Thoughts on the world of logistics, operations research, and supply chain engineering, from Alan Erera at Georgia Tech.
  • Apr 20, 2020

    COVID-19 and Testing

    As we seek to get our economies up and running again and loosen shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders, many have argued how important it is that we have reliable testing for both active COVID-19 infections as well as for antibodies that indicate whether an individual has had a past exposure and has developed some immunity.

  • Mar 23, 2020

    COVID-19 and Grocery Supply Chains: E-commerce Growth

    Grocery, pharmacy, and household items are critical segments in the US retail industry, and the current outbreak of COVID-19 disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is leading to shifts in the supply chains that provide these goods to consumers. Let’s think about the prospects for the expansion of the e-commerce sales channel for these segments.

  • Mar 14, 2020

    COVID-19 and Grocery Supply Chains: Panic Buying

    Grocery retailers in the U.S. operate optimized supply chains to make products available to consumers. Let’s think a bit about the impact of short-term panic buying on these supply chains.

  • Oct 16, 2018

    Baseball Playoff Series Probabilities

    Fans of baseball, and more and more often managers and general managers of professional baseball teams, are known for their interest in statistics, and also for making inference on probabilities of future events given statistics summarizing historical occurrence (although they might not think about this in exactly these terms!). This is an adoption of the frequentist interpretation of probability.

  • Jul 23, 2018

    Same-day Delivery Dispatching Problems

    Modern last-mile logistics systems are more and more frequently configured to provide rapid order fulfillment directly to consumers. The fastest are the same-day delivery systems, which promise that e-commerce orders received by a deadline during a day are delivered by the end of the same day (or, in some cases, within a few hours).

  • Apr 2, 2018

    Meal Delivery Routing Problem Instances

    For the past few years, I have collaborated with my faculty colleague Martin Savelsbergh and Ph.D. students on work with Grubhub, a leading online and mobile food ordering company. One service that Grubhub provides is food delivery, and they use a fleet of delivery people (couriers) that pickup orders from restaurants and deliver them to hungry consumers. This fleet is comprised of individual contractors. Some couriers work preassigned shifts with minimum work (earnings) guarantees, while other ad hoc couriers sign on like Lyft or Uber drivers when they have time to make food deliveries for Grubhub.

  • Mar 16, 2018

    Publications with Jekyll Scholar

    Today, I completed a bit more work on this new website, which now runs with Jekyll. To get a publication list up-and-running, I discovered the Jekyll Scholar plugin, which provides support for citations and bibliographies using the BibTex format within the Jekyll static website environment. There are ways to modify a standard BibTex bibliography to also be useful as an academic publication list, but it requires “some doing”.

  • Jan 18, 2018

    Global Trade 101

    I’m not an expert in global trade, but it is worth thinking a bit about the basic economics these days. For decades, the United States has led the world in a movement toward fewer trade restrictions, but it certainly appears that protectionism and trade restraints are now the political fashion here. What will be the result?

  • Jan 17, 2018

    Converted Website to Jekyll

    So, for a fun snow day activity, I decided to update my Georgia Tech website using Jekyll. My goal was to create a site that I could update a bit more easily using a variant of Markdown, which I suppose is a bit easier to learn than full HTML. A nice feature of Jekyll is that it is “blog-aware”, which means it is easy to incorporate a nice weblog into your website design. Jekyll also powers Github Pages, which can host your website for free and is useful to teach your students about.