Why can't you find fresh vegetables at a retail discounter in the evening? Where do the CO2 bottles come from in the supermarket? And how can a new designed beer case save millions? To find answers on these and other questions in retail logistics, the chair considers different theoretical and practical approaches.

Retail covers the distribution of goods to the end-user via online or offline channels.
In our research, we focus on supermarket chains and their inventory control, yet dealing with complex structures given by perishable items, as well as the huge amount of handling effort entailed.

In the research area on inventory control of fresh products, perishability is the focus. As products partly need to be discarded at the end of the day, the question arises, how much a store should order in advance, without knowing how much will be sold in the end. That is why, in one project, optimal order quantities of perishable products are determined, by estimating not-observable sales of historical datasets.

To keep operational processes stable in retail, fixed delivery patterns are assigned to stores and products (e.g. deliveries on Monday and Wednesday or just every Friday). These delivery patterns need to be established and assigned in an optimal way, taking the non-stationary stochastic demand in retail into account.

Furthermore we investigate psychological aspects of order decisions of store personnel.

In retail also the packing of products is import, as they simultaneously influence handling, transport and inventory effort. Layers of products have to fit well onto a pallet, to reduce their number in shipment. At the same time, the product has to fit well into the store racks of the retailer, so that replenishment can be achieved with full product layers and not with individual items. Therefore the research of the chair also deals with optimized packaging design.

Exemplary publications

  • Beutel, A.-L., Minner, S. (2012), Safety stock planning under causal demand fore-casting, International Journal of Production Economics 140(2): 637-645.
  • Kremer, M., Minner, S., van Wassenhove, L.N. (2014), On the Preference to Avoid Ex-Post Inventory Errors, Production and Operations Management 23(5): 773-787.