Posted November 20, 2023

Lucas Systems, Carnegie Mellon University partner to solve logistics industry challenges

Distribution center technology provider, Lucas Systems, announced its partnership with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) on new research with potential significant environmental and commercial impact for the logistics industry.

The research is focused on developing new and innovative ways to reduce distribution center and transportation waste by optimizing the way packing and packaging of multiple items in a single order is executed. The outcome of the research work could contribute to significant environmental and commercial impact for thousands of companies in the logistics industry.

Worldwide consumption of paper and cardboard has grown steadily over the past 60 years by about 7% year over year, according to a March 2023 report by Statista. Lucas Systems points out that this is five times more paper and cardboard than in 1960.

As part of the project, master’s level students in CMU’s Software and Societal Systems Department (S3D) in the School of Computer Science will use 3D visualization frameworks, mobile application development, Core CS and Web/Angular/JS environments and work with Lucas Systems’ data scientists and software engineers on the architecture, user interfaces, and optimization best suited for solving end of supply chain distribution challenges.

The joint project will contribute to Lucas Systems’ ongoing development of smart software to help warehouse workers pick products to fulfill an order in the most eco-friendly and financially efficient way.

“The entire distribution industry has numerous opportunities to reduce waste and improve sustainability,” said Lucas Systems CTO Mark McCleary. “Consumers already recognize the increased amount of material they throw away with each shipment they receive. Consumers are paying for a lot of that waste – and so is our environment.”

Over 90% of items shipped in the U.S. are packaged in cardboard.

Lucas Systems’ work with CMU could mean a very large potential economic impact for the distribution industry.

Lucas Systems leaders say the solutions to these types of problems are incredibly complex and must lean on a variety of modern technologies and know-how for help.

"CMU and S3D are excited to work with Lucas Systems on this critical challenge. Improving the sustainability of packaging using the latest technologies is an area that we’re excited to contribute to,” said Travis Breaux, director of the Master of Software Engineering programs and associate professor of computer science.