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Ocado KTP

Simulated image of lorries

The world’s largest online grocery supermarket partners with Cardiff Business School on a project which will deliver a live vehicle routing system, an innovative first in the grocery home delivery market.

UK online supermarket, Ocado, has transformed the way the nation shops, developing an innovative model based on cutting edge technology. The company is unique in that it has no chain of stores and does all home deliveries from its warehouses.

However, routing optimisation has become a very challenging mathematical problem (aka Vehicle Routing Problem) in the company’s operational-level transportation planning. To address this challenge, Ocado’s Data Science team will work closely with academics from the Logistics and Operations Management section of Cardiff Business School.

Knowledge Transfer Partnership

Part funded by a Knowledge Transfer Partnership grant from Innovate UK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), this project aims to enhance the current vehicle routing optimisation system used by Ocado by applying complex algorithms and advanced optimisation techniques, beyond Ocado’s current data science capabilities.

The partnership aims to deliver an improved routing algorithm, optimising Ocado’s home delivery network. Dynamic allocation of orders will decrease costs and ensure the company stays ahead of the competition in terms of technology and operational efficiency.

An Associate will manage the project and ensure the new algorithmic capability and knowledge is embedded into the company. The KTP project will be jointly supervised by experts in the field: Dr Emrah Demir (Reader in Management Science) who is the lead academic, and Dr Vasco Sanchez Rodrigues (Reader in Logistics and Operations Management) who is the academic supervisor. The project will also be supported by Professor Aris Syntetos, Chair in Operational Research and Operations Management, who has previously led on outstanding KTP projects with Panalpina World Transport Ltd. and Qioptiq Ltd.

The Knowledge Base Team has a track record of working with Ocado on similar projects, including a masters dissertation relating to the Ocado transport network.