Smart Micro-logistics for the Rural Economy (SMiLE)
Rural logistics is about SMEs operating in rural areas, shipping small quantities of potentially perishable goods, at the lowest distribution costs possible.
SMiLE is about automating business processes in order to:
- reduce distribution costs
- improve customer satisfaction
- improve customer-supplier (B2B) relationships
- enhance SMEs' responsiveness to new business opportunities
Overall, SMiLE brings together rural businesses and small-scale logistics service providers to solve the rural logistics and transport problems and more fully utilize the business potential of the rural economy with digital technology.
What we have learned so far
From the logistics domain we focus on the “Logistics Customer Service” as a broad concept. In this context we explore strengths and weaknesses of distribution systems of rural businesses. For this purpose, we are carrying out case studies with small rural businesses in the Food and Drink (F&D) sector. A small sample of the findings of our case studies is presented below:
From the case studies we have executed so far, we learned that there is a potential for improvement in the information flow among stakeholders, such as small businesses, their customers and the logistics service providers.
The SMiLE project’s goal is to help rural businesses take advantage of opportunities that would arise from the use of digital technologies in order to make their distribution operations more robust and consequently strengthen their position in the market.
In order to reach this goal we will introduce digital solutions that:
- support coordination and collaboration among businesses
- recognize the importance of “secure information exchange” between stakeholders
- help to improve the monitoring, recording and usage of information related to the provenance of goods and logistics services
SMiLE has a strong interest to involve the rural business community in the research process. On the one hand we want to establish requirements with the help of the business community. On the other hand, we are keen to involve rural businesses in our research process via a range of partnership mechanisms, so that the businesses can most benefit from SMiLE results.
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