The quality of Third-Party Logistics (3PL) services represented by delivery time decides the outcome of customer satisfaction. The result of this satisfaction judges the type of Word of Mouth (WoM) that, if positive, plays a vital role in attracting non-customers who are willing in 3PL services to join as customers. In this paper, we investigate the effect of an essential factor represented by Word of Mouth on the number of customers in 3PL companies. Therefore, an agent-based model for parcel delivery is developed to investigate the impact of social factors such as WoM and other operational factors, including vehicle number and speed, on customer number and satisfaction, average service time, and vehicle utilization. As a methodology, state charts of Vehicle, Customer, Hub agents are developed to mimic the messaging protocols between these agents under the WoM concept. A case study based in 3PL in Jordan is used as a test bench of the developed model. A sensitivity analysis study is conducted to test the developed model's performance, including different levels of influential model parameters such as targeting non-customers parameters by Loyal/Unhappy customers. Key results reveal that the best scenario is achieved when the WoM value equals 10, the vehicle number equals 30, and the vehicle speed equals 60 km/h. These model parameters result in higher customer numbers of 873, vehicle utilization equals 63%, and customer satisfaction equals 99%. Video of our proposed model showing it in action can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rR4l130-QU.
Bibliographical noteThis is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
- Agent-based simulation
- VRP-based GIS model
- Customer satisfaction
- Parcel delivery logistics