The doctoral dissertations of the former Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and Aalto University Schools of Technology (CHEM, ELEC, ENG, SCI) published in electronic format are available in the electronic publications archive of Aalto University - Aaltodoc.

Comparing Alternative Home Delivery Models for e-Grocery Business

Mikko Punakivi

Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology to be presented with due permission of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management for public examination and debate in Auditorium Luna at Helsinki University of Technology (Espoo, Finland) on the 7th of June, 2003, at 12 o'clock noon.

Overview in PDF format (ISBN 951-22-6582-6)   [929 KB]
Dissertation is also available in print (ISBN 951-22-6562-1)


Recently, last mile logistics has been identified as one of the most important factors in developing consumer direct business concepts. Research and experience have revealed that the goods reception mode is one of the key factors when developing cost-efficient home delivery operations. This dissertation identifies, models, and analyses existing and emerging e-grocery home delivery operation models. The cost levels of various home delivery models offering attended and unattended reception are compared, and their feasibility evaluated using real point-of-sale data and a vehicle routing tool. The cost level of home delivery service is also compared to the current costs of a household customer visiting a supermarket using his/her own car. In addition, the environmental effects of the different home delivery models are analysed.

According to the results, home delivery transportation costs using the shared reception box concept are 55-66 % lower than those of the current standard home delivery model with attended reception and 2-hour delivery time windows. This cost reduction alone justifies the two-to-five-year payback period of the investment required, even if there is only a fairly small number of deliveries per day. Compared similarly, using customer-specific reception boxes in home delivery operations leads to a cost reduction of 44-53 %. Because of the high investments involved in customer-specific reception boxes, the payback period, based on the cost savings, is 6-13 years. This requires customer involvement in investment. These results show that the most cost-efficient e-grocery home delivery model is based on unattended reception, which enables the optimal routing and scheduling of delivery vehicles. It would also be the best solution when considering the environmental aspects. Usage of e-grocery home delivery services offers a notable potential for traffic reduction when compared to the situation in which customers visit the shop using their own cars. In the selected test area, the reduction would be between 54 and 93 per cent, depending on the home delivery model used. However, the total traffic reduction and reduction of traffic emissions depends greatly on the e-grocery market share in the future.

This thesis consists of an overview and of the following 5 publications:

  1. Auramo, J., Aminoff, A. and Punakivi, M., 2002. Research agenda for e-business logistics based on professional opinions. International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management 32, No. 7, pages 513-531. © 2002 Emerald. By permission.
  2. Punakivi, M. and Saranen, J., 2001. Identifying the success factors in e-grocery home delivery. International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management 29, No. 4, pages 156-163. © 2001 Emerald. By permission.
  3. Punakivi, M., Yrjölä, H. and Holmström, J., 2001. Solving the last mile issue: reception box or delivery box. International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management 31, No. 6, pages 427-439. © 2001 Emerald. By permission.
  4. Siikavirta, H., Punakivi, M., Kärkkäinen, M. and Linnainen, L., 2003. Effects of e-commerce on greenhouse gas emissions: a case study of grocery home delivery in Finland. Journal of Industrial Ecology 6, No. 2, pages 83-97. © 2003 MIT Press. By permission.
  5. Punakivi, M. and Tanskanen, K., 2002. Increasing the cost efficiency of e-fulfilment using shared reception boxes. International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management 30, No. 10, pages 498-507. © 2002 Emerald. By permission.

Keywords: electronic grocery shopping, home shopping, home delivery, last mile problem, transportation, home delivery costs, unattended reception, reception box, delivery box, shared reception box

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© 2003 Helsinki University of Technology

Last update 2011-05-26