Smarten up your act

1st October 2014

Logistics BusinessSmarten up your act

This October our sister publication Logistics Business IT is launching and hosting an Awards Scheme. The judging panel includes a professor of logistics and a niche consultant. David Priestman spoke to both of them to hear how working smart and training-up pays dividends in the supply chain.

Michael Bourlakis (pictured) is Professor in Logistics & Supply Chain Management and Head of the Supply Chain Research Centre at Cranfield University in the UK.

“The Centre for Logistics and Supply Chain Management is Europe’s largest grouping of faculty specialising in the management of logistics and supply chains. As a major centre of excellence it has come to be recognised as Europe’s leading centre for advanced research and teaching in these important fields.

“The Centre attracts annual funding in excess of ?500,000 through research council, government and industrial sources. We perform a variety of research: From long-term, research council funded projects focusing on the generation of new knowledge, through to dedicated, industrially funded work that addresses specific needs. Specifically, our research has focused on some of the following topic areas and themes:

1. Supply Chain Risk & Resilience: Where the emphasis is on identifying risks either internally derived (within a firms and a supply chain) or due to external disruptions.

2. Reverse Logistics: Liberal customer return policies, product obsolescence, quality failures, and more recently the advent of multi-channel retailing, have led to a return rate of above 30% in some product categories.

“Research Clubs & Other Activities In addition to our research portfolio we run the Agile Supply Chain Research Club. The Club is a forum, which brings together industrial partners to share knowledge and experience of managing supply chains in practice. Industrial partners in the Club also work with us on larger research projects, developing longterm collaboration.

“The Food@Cranfield Research Network is another Research Club that aims to leverage the knowledge base from across the University to provide unique solutions to the complex issues facing the Food sector. This forum is a catalyst to fuse and infuse ideas from across the value chain to provide unique approaches and insights. The research focus spans the entire value chain: Farm inputs; Farming; Manufacturing; Distribution; Retail; Consumer; Waste Management.

“We also command a strong expertise in Procurement and the Cranfield/CIPS Centre for Strategic Procurement and Supply has been established to: 

  • Deliver quality, research-led executive development procurement and supply activities.
  • Provide world class linkages between business, academia and the profession of purchasing and supply. 

Updates from the research clubs, projects and faculty can be accessed via a quarterly research newsletter.

“Our extensive range of taught courses in the area of Supply Chain Management includes the Cranfield Executive MSc in Logistics and Supply Chain Management. This programme offers the opportunity to study for an internationally recognised Masters qualification whilst bringing the latest academic insights and industry best practice back to your own organisation. The part-time course, delivered in a series of week-long residential modules spread over two years, is designed for:

  • Experienced logistics managers who want a ‘real-world’ education delivered by faculty who are actively engaged with business. 
  • Ambitious professionals who are keen to develop themselves, enhance their skills, knowledge and abilities, and take their career to the next level. 
  • Rounded individuals who want to combine their thorough knowledge of logistics and supply chain with an academic understanding. 

“Finally, we deliver a range of short and customised executive programmes in the field of logistics and supply chain management specifically designed for the needs of professionals working in these sectors. Some of these short programmes focus on Building High Performance Supply Chains, Leading Procurement Strategy and Supply Chain Management.”

Consultant’s view

Logistics Business spoke to another of our judges on the Logistics Business IT Awards scheme panel for this October. Emile Naus (pictured) is an IT specialist consultant at LCP Consulting in the UK, having recently joined as a Partner and Technical Director to focus on driving innovation and growth in the firm’s retail strategy and big data analytics capabilities. Naus joined LCP’s senior team to develop the firm’s services in this area and focus on innovation around the tools and methods the consultancy uses to identify critical business opportunities for its clients. Naus brings a wealth of experience from both consulting and operational roles in developing leading-edge Supply Chain and Logistics strategies and approaches. He has extensive experience leading big data projects and solving underlying challenges with leading technological solutions.

Logistics Business: How is the role of consultants in logistics changing?

Naus: “The business market is changing, partially driven by Omni-channel, globalisation and shifting customer requirements. Business operations need to support these changing requirements. Today logistics is a part of these larger issues and how to ensure end-toend supply chain is performing and supporting overall business objectives. Our role is no longer just about one issue such as lowering costs, but about delivering service excellence across the entire organisation. Therefore the role of consultants in logistics is changing to take a far wider perspective before devising specific logistics solutions.”

Logistics Business: What is the most common problem which your clients hire you for help with?

Naus: “That is a really interesting question, because we see such a spectrum of problems. It is ultimately about improving the bottom line – both in the short term and the long term. We see people really focusing on building the Operating Model that delivers the right customer experience and is sustainable.”

Logistics Business: What is the most important attribute which a logistics consulting house must have in 2014?

Naus: “We believe in bringing the right combination of strategic business insight, a deep understanding of clients’ businesses, operational and supply chain excellence, modelling and analytics expertise – all underpinned with innovative thought leadership, providng a unique blend of skills and people.”