How to Learn About Supply Chain Research From Around the World in a Few Hours

World view. Research Expo displays 70 to 80 supply chain research projects from multiple countries.
World view. Research Expo displays 70 to 80 supply chain research projects from multiple countries.

Some 120 masters’ students representing about 30 countries will gather at the MIT Media Lab, Cambridge, US, on January 22, 2014, to present 70 to 80 supply chain thesis research projects. Also, nine faculty members will talk about the research they are engaged on.

Almost every thesis project has a corporate sponsor, so in addition to showcasing new research in the field, the Research Expo offers an exclusive view of the supply chain issues that enterprises are currently pursuing.

The students hail from the four centers of excellence that make up the MIT Global SCALE Network. These are: the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics (Cambridge, USA), the Zaragoza Logistics Center (Zaragoza, Spain), the Center for Latin-American Logistics Innovation (Bogotá, Colombia), and the Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation (Shah Alam, Malaysia).

Each project will be presented on electronic posters created by the students for the event. The research topics cover virtually every facet of supply chain management. Here are some examples.

  • A world-leading company in the nutrition, health, and wellness market wants to improve product availability in stores and at distributors. The availability of some SKUs is poor while some others are overstocked and aging. The research is looking at ways to maximize sales opportunities and ensure best on-shelf availability whilst minimizing cost.
  • A research project is examining how a food packaging manufacturer can smooth out the demand from one of its largest customers in the region by leveraging supply chain collaboration.
  • An apparel company aims to evaluate the effect on inventory levels of postponing a manufacturing operation. There are a number of factors to consider such as diverse product lines and reduced lead times, and the complexities of a global network of suppliers, manufacturers, and retailers. The research is helping the company to assess the postponement option.
  • Researchers are developing a methodology for estimating carbon emissions from Less Than Truckload (LTL) transportation. A typical LTL operation involves multiple origins, destinations, and legs, as well as load consolidation operations.
  • A fast-growing bottled water manufacturer in the US seeks to increase sales by distributing products directly to the stores of its retail customers. The benefits of a Direct-to-Store strategy include increased sales, direct access to consumers, faster replenishment cycles, and lower net distribution costs. The research addresses how to transform the existing supply chain to accommodate the strategy.
  • Providing the fullest possible coverage to meet the needs of refugees across the world is a primary goal of a humanitarian organization. In order to meet this goal, the organization needs to improve the packaging and palletizing of certain relief items dispatched from its distribution centers in the Middle East. The research is assessing various challenges such as cost minimization, efficiency optimization, supplier collaboration, and space density/utilization.

The chance to view so many research projects from multiple countries in a few hours is truly unique, and a compelling opportunity for anyone from the business and academic communities with an interest in supply chain management.

Members of local supply chain organizations who will be attending Research Expo in place of their monthly meeting (CSCMP – NERT, APICS – North Shore, APICS – South Shore, APICS – Boston, Supply Chain Council) will be charged $20 for admission. These attendees should go to their organization websites to register. This event is free for all other attendees, including MIT CTL Partner companies and guests, students, and employees. Free parking will be available in nearby lots. Obtain more information and register here.

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