Science Prize Logistics goes to Dr. Felix Weidinger

Berlin. Dr. Felix Weidinger receives the Logistics Science Award 2020 from the German Logistics Association. He is being honoured for his dissertation „E-Commerce Warehousing – Order Fulfilment in Modern Retailing“.

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In his thesis, Felix Weidinger gives an overview of already established e-commerce warehousing systems and provides solution methods and decision support for novel planning problems.

Background: Online trade is growing – with new rules and customer requirements. At the same time, the gap between traditional warehousing systems and changed tasks is becoming increasingly wider. In the warehouse, it is often decided which e-commerce merchants can maintain their market position in the highly competitive online trade with ever new service offers. For example, the establishment of premium dispatch programmes with guaranteed next-day or even same-day delivery, is massively increasing the time pressure on the picking of customer orders. Exceptionally high time restrictions are frequently observed in the product groups of food and household items, where online mail order companies compete directly with a dense network of branches of stationary retailers.

Modern warehousing systems designed to pick e-commerce orders adapt traditional systems by reorganising critical processes or use hardware-based innovations to eliminate bottlenecks. This new generation of warehousing systems comprises a variety of different solutions, each of which presents new system-specific planning problems. If processes are restructured, fundamental assumptions may change, so that proven approaches are no longer applicable. In addition, new planning problems can arise, which aim at the optimal control of new technical solutions.

Weidinger’s work initially involves the systematisation of conventional and new types of storage. Above all, however – and this is the primary scientific achievement – he develops powerful optimisation procedures to solve concrete, particularly operational problems. Based on the algorithms, concrete support can be provided for the management of modern distribution centres.

„In just over three years, a remarkable work has been created“, says Prof. Dr. Nils Boysen, who accompanied Felix Weidinger’s dissertation at the Chair of General Business Administration/Operations Management of the Faculty of Economics at the University of Jena. „It is characterised by its broad methodological spectrum, the innovative problem definitions, the reliably mastered methods of mathematical optimisation as well as the systematically documented and practical recommendations for action“, says Boysen.

Prof. Wolfgang Kersten, head of the Institute for Logistics and Corporate Management at the Technical University of Hamburg and chairman of the jury for the Logistics Science Prize, said: „This effective work at a high scientific level and with a strong practical orientation convinced the jury. It is publication-based, i.e. it was produced in a so-called cumulative process. The main component is six specialist articles that have been accepted by A and B journals. Mr Weidinger’s presentation in the final round was a pleasure“.

In the final, which was held on 8 October as part of an online conference, Weidinger prevailed over Dr Konstantin Kloos (Würzburg), Dr Michael Scholz (Erlangen/Nuremberg) and Dr Tobias Staab (Munich). The work of these finalists is concerned with allocation planning in sales hierarchies, an intralogistics execution system with integrated autonomous, service-based transport entities, and a planning method for manually operated warehouse systems with multiple storage areas.

The Logistics Science Prize is endowed with Euro 5,000 each for the prize winner and the supervising institute. It was again sponsored this year by Ernst & Young GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft, Berlin.

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