Lucas Systems, a distribution center technology provider, has announced a groundbreaking partnership with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) to conduct research that could have a substantial impact on both environmental sustainability and commercial efficiency within the logistics industry.
The research focuses on developing innovative methods to reduce waste in distribution centers and transportation by optimizing the packing and packaging of multiple items in a single order. If successful, the outcomes of this research could bring about significant environmental and commercial benefits for numerous companies in the logistics sector.
A March 2023 report by Statista revealed that the worldwide consumption of paper and cardboard has been steadily increasing by approximately 7% year over year for the past 60 years. Lucas Systems emphasizes that this represents a fivefold increase in paper and cardboard consumption since 1960.
As part of the collaborative project, master’s level students in CMU’s Software and Societal Systems Department (S3D) within the School of Computer Science will leverage 3D visualization frameworks, mobile application development, Core CS, and Web/Angular/JS environments. They will work alongside Lucas Systems’ data scientists and software engineers to address architecture, user interfaces, and optimization challenges specific to end-of-supply chain distribution.
This joint effort contributes to Lucas Systems’ ongoing development of intelligent software designed to assist warehouse workers in picking products for orders in the most environmentally friendly and financially efficient manner.
Mark McCleary, CTO of Lucas Systems, underscores the vast opportunities for the distribution industry to enhance sustainability by reducing waste. McCleary notes that consumers are increasingly aware of the excessive material waste generated with each shipment, and both consumers and the environment bear the costs of this waste.
With over 90% of items shipped in the U.S. packaged in cardboard, Lucas Systems’ collaboration with CMU holds the potential for a significant economic impact on the distribution industry.
Addressing such complex challenges requires a multifaceted approach, leveraging modern technologies and expertise. Travis Breaux, Director of the Master of Software Engineering programs and Associate Professor of Computer Science at CMU, expresses excitement about contributing to the critical challenge of improving packaging sustainability using the latest technologies.