Tuesday, 12 May 2015

O.R. & Oxfam: Optimising donation bank collections using remote monitoring sensors #ORblog

A great example of how Operational Research is applied:


Cherrett, T.J., Shingleton, Duncan and Norton, Ben et al. (2014) Developing a smartphone app to enhance Oxfam's supply chain visibility. International Journal of Logistics: Research and Applications

This paper reports on the development of a smartphone app designed to give drivers and managers in a charity organisation greater visibility of transport, donation bank and shop stock in time and space. Trials of the app with samples of drivers and shop managers across three counties in the UK showed that users’ understanding of vehicle activity and how time was utilised in the business was enhanced. The app also informed their decision making, aided some collaboration and helped in their understanding of donation bank and shop performance, with one region altering their collection schedules. The quality of 3G signal was an issue in certain areas which impeded performance and the rules by which the messaging platform should be used in such a tool need careful consideration.


A version of the app is currently being developed and tested by a commercial company working with Oxfam which will run the algorithm described in the paper

To request a copy of the paper please visit: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/370805/