Areas of Focus
Georgia Tech’s H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) announced that Professor Alan Erera has been appointed to the UPS Professorship of Logistics. Erera also serves as ISyE’s associate chair for graduate studies.
The UPS Professorship of Logistics is designed to enhance ISyE’s ability to attract and retain eminent teacher-scholars to this position of academic leadership in the field of logistics.
“Alan’s valuable contributions to ISyE, as both a researcher and the associate chair for graduate studies, are reflected in his appointment as the UPS Professor of Logistics,” said ISyE School Chair Edwin Romeijn. “The additional resources will allow him to further his research in modern last-mile logistics systems and design and control of large-scale consolidation freight transportation systems.”
Erera’s research focuses on transportation and logistics systems planning and control, with an emphasis on planning under uncertainty and real-time operational control. His recent work has addressed dynamic vehicle routing systems for same-day distribution; resilient logistics network design for food supply chains; service network design, linehaul equipment management, and driver scheduling for consolidation freight carriers; robust container fleet management for global shipping companies; and robust and flexible vehicle routing system planning and control for distribution companies.
Most recently, Erera has concentrated on building understanding of modern last-mile logistics systems that deliver products directly to consumers within a few hours of order placement. He is also studying courier management for meal delivery, developing fast courier dispatch technologies useful for the practical dynamic optimization problem of assigning meal orders to couriers every few minutes.
Erera also has a recently renewed interest in modern systems for personal mobility. He is examining ideas for new forms of urban transportation systems that combine aspects of traditional scheduled public transit with on-demand services such as those provided by ride-hailing transportation network companies. He plans to focus on design questions for such systems, which he noted are sometimes ignored by the operations research community. Design questions include determining fleet sizes and vehicle mix decisions, determining the right mix between fixed schedule and dynamic services, and how to implement dynamic services that provide flexibility while remaining operationally simple.
“I am very honored to be selected to serve as the UPS Professor of Logistics,” said Erera. “I have focused my research career on developing methods for the design and control of logistics systems, with a particular emphasis on planning flexible systems that adapt well to operational uncertainties. My current work focuses more and more often on real-time planning, leveraging available data to automatically update decisions during operations, and I’ve used these ideas to optimize large-scale meal delivery systems and passenger vehicle ride-sharing systems.
“Going forward, I intend to continue studying modern high-velocity last-mile logistics systems that support rapid delivery of products directly to consumers, and support from the UPS professorship will help me investigate fundamental problems in this domain,” Erera added.
Erera has written over 50 research papers in his field and has delivered over 100 technical presentations and invited lectures. His research program has been supported by federal agencies (DHS, USDOT, NSF) and major U.S. freight carriers and manufacturing firms. In addition, he will serve as president of the INFORMS Transportation Science and Logistics Society beginning in 2019.
He received his B.S. Eng. In civil engineering from Princeton University in 1993, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in industrial engineering and operations research from the University of California, Berkeley in 1996 and 2000, respectively.