Evaluation Of Logistics And Vehicle Routing Applications Computer Science Essay

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A geographic information system (GIS) exhibits all forms of geographically referenced data, which is obtained by incorporating hardware and software and facts for capturing, analyzing, and managing. A data can be visualized, analyzed, evaluated, questioned in various ways using GIS, which displays relationships, designs and trends as charts, globes, maps and reports. Logistics is a part of supply chain process that plots, executes and is used manage the efficient and effective flow and storage of resources, services and associated information from the point of start till the utilization, in order to meet customers' requirements. It can also be defined as the art of receiving the right product at the right location, at the right time, which is an important task in an organization. It thereby satisfies the consumer's requirements and also creates value for the product.

Among the fastest evolving sectors, the transportation and logistics industries incorporate location intelligence into their business operations. GIS is increasingly being used by the business, ranging from controlling deliveries, railroads, highways, vehicle fleets, airports and public transport systems. GIS, which is an important tool, utilizes network planning and analysis, route planning and optimization, and asset management to analyze and control the transportation systems. GIS is incorporated in the logistics companies to reduce the cost consumption and helps to improve the efficiency of the company, through routing and scheduling optmisation, stock tracking, supply chain management, and site-based dispatching.

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In any organization that utilizes a fairly large geological region, the routing of vehicles and the management of logistics operations becomes a very complicated job. Application of geographic information systems simplifies the job, thereby decreasing the complication by bringing out geographic patterns and relationships, that form the basis of good decisions. The main complex process is broken down into smaller ones:-

Vehicle Tracking and Dispatch

Route Analysis

Warehouse operations

Facilities and Depot Management

Routing and Scheduling

In Vehicle Tracking and Dispatch, the global positioning systems (GPS) is used as it is cheaper. The service vehicles are equipped with radio transmitters and GPSs. In the central control location, the signals obtained from the radio transmitters is analyzed by using the GIS software, and posts the signal on the map as symbol. This helps the dispatcher to find out the exact location of the vehicle. A route analysis system could apply the annual traffic density figures to develop the most efficient routes that the service vehicles carrying the load should use. It helps to minimize the travelling cost associated in moving goods from one site to another, either in terms of the number of trips required or in terms of time. Warehouse Operations helps in reducing the cost when the organization grows and also when each warehouse becomes difficult to be managed within itself. Facilities and Depot Management takes into consideration the location aspects, the stock, and thereby helps in reducing waste. Routing and Scheduling helps in maximizing customer satisfaction, adherence to schedules etc, by reducing all kinds of costs including mileage, overtime.

Project deliverables:

Many of the industries nowadays use vehicle tracking system to keep a track of their service vehicles for better management, which increases overall productivity and efficiency of the company. GIS is used by the logistics companies, mainly through routing and scheduling optimization, asset tracking, site-based dispatching and supply chain management. Over the past few years, the logistics industry has experienced a lot of changes.

The terminologies physical distribution, distribution, materials management, and physical supply were common in the early 1960s and 1970s. The outbound flow of materials from the manufacturing process to the customer is known as physical distribution and distribution, whereas inbound flow of materials to the manufacturing process is known as physical supply and materials management. The term logistics became widely used when the significance of coordinating the flow of goods and materials to the end customer became important. Nowadays, supply chain management is becoming more recognized reflecting the importance of forming partnerships and relations for the flow of materials and goods.

GIS is a obvıous companıon for the effective running of logistics operations. GIS, which is a efficient tool in logistics, has many uses which includes vehicle routing and effective location of the warehouses to the customers. °t is mainly utilized in visualization of routing applications. Most of the companies or business in both the public and the private sector have invested in large amounts in GIS, and the market for GIS is still expected to grow. As the GIS software utilizes the processing power of the computer, it hepls in reducing the cost and results in more efficiency of the operation. GIS helps the systems to take reasonably accurate decisions, even with the help of incomplete data sets within less time. Implementation of the GIS based logistics systems helps to run the business in an efficient manner. The overall efficiency of the system is affected, if the data set available is incomplete or inaccurate. It is believed that in the near future, GIS based logistics and comprehensive logistics may not be just a discussion, and would be implemented in all the companies.

Interest in the project:

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The reason for choosing logistics related topic is because I am a student, pursuing masters of business administration in Logistics. It will help me to get a better view of the different aspects of logistics and better understand logistics terms, if I do a project relating to logistics. Logistics is applied by mostly all the companies, which is mainly associated with reaching the right product, at the right place, at the right time. I have chosen to do a project based on the application of General information systems (GIS) in logistics and vehicle routing. The transportation and logistics industries have immensely grown in the last few decades.

In this project, I have tried to undergo a research on the application of general information systems in the logistics companies. I have also made an analysis of the application of GIS in the vehicle tracking and dispatching, route analysis, warehouse operations, routing and scheduling etc. I believe, this project will be useful to those people who are doing an analysis on the application of GIS in logistics operations. It would also be helpful to the industry analysts to interpret the application of GIS in logistics operations and growth of the companies, as a result of it. This project brings out the applicability of GIS in vehicle tracking as a whole. So it would, therefore be useful to those who are indulged in the analysis of logistics operations and vehicle tracking.

Research methods:

Research methods are broadly of two types namely Quantitative and Qualitative methods. In research development, the quantitative research method is mainly used. As can be commonly understood, quantitative research method are obtained from experimental and numerical methods and analysis. Main tools used in quantitative research methods are large scale analysis using numerical techniques. Qualitative research methods are different form quantitative in aiming, i.e. it differs in understanding of the complex processes, where the questions emerge as the analysis goes on further.

In quantitative analysis, more importance is given to the data available through statistical techniques. The information obtained can be analyzed using statistical tools to obtain numerical data's. In qualitative research methods, case studies are examined using a combination of interviews, observations and also from visual medias such as photography, and video. If a large amount of information is available, computer programmes are utilized in qualitative research methods to deal systematically with the data. Typically a skilled researcher is required for the collection of data and also for the analysis.

For the research of my project, I have intended to utilize the quantitative research methods. As a large amount of data is available from different sources, it is better to utilize the quantitative methods rather than using the methods of qualitative research. Logistics operations have been adopted by most of the industries in the last few years. The logistics and transportation industry have developed a lot. A lot of research and analysis of the application of GIS in logistics has been carried out recently. So variety of journals, articles and e-journals were available which helped me to gather information for my topic. Academic reading also has helped me to provide an overall idea about my project. This helped me in making a great contribution to the research of my topic.

Primary and secondary data:

Data, or facts, can be obtained from different sources. Data's can be mainly divided into primary and secondary data. Primary data is the information obtained by the researcher for the first time, which is collected by the researcher directly from his own knowledge, findings and experiences. Secondary data is the information collected by the researcher, by means of secondary sources, either internal or external.

A detailed search must be conducted by the researcher through the secondary data, befor attempting to collect the primary data. Various advantages are there if the secondary information is first collected and analyzed, before gathering together the primary data. The collection of secondary data is more than enough for the researcher in most of the cases, to solve the problem. The cost required to collect the secondary data is much less when compared to the collection of primary data. There are a number of additional uses on gathering secondary data. It helps to plan the collection of primary information, if needed.

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There are two kinds of secondary data - external and internal. Whether internal or external, secondary data is the information already gathered by others. Business organizations have a great amount of internal secondary data already available in hand. The internet is a number one source for external secondary source. Al the information is available either free or for a fee. A primary data is obtained if the researcher performs a survey on the information gathered.

For the purpose of my project, the data I have used is mainly obtained from secondary data. The secondary data I have used for the research of general information systems is the data available from journals, newspapers and several websites. Due to the lack of time, I have not been able to conduct a survey on the data collected. So a primary data has not been able to be gathered for my project.