Some 130 masters’ students from more than 25 countries gathered at MIT on Jan. 21 to present 80 research projects displayed on electronic posters.
Research Expo 2015 not only presented research in supply-chain management from around the globe — the projects were sponsored by companies and more 250 executives viewed the posters — it was also the culmination of a month-long series of events and networking opportunities.
The research projects were extremely wide-ranging, from research into making supply chains more environmentally sustainable, to projects that aim to improve operational efficiency in areas such as freight transportation, inventory management, demand forecasting, and the logistics of product distribution in megacities. Each research area was chosen by the sponsor company.
The students came from the four centers that make up the MIT Global Supply Chain and Logistics Excellence (SCALE) Network. Launched in 2003 by the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics, the SCALE network now also includes the Zaragoza Logistics Center (ZLC) in Zaragoza, Spain; the Center for Latin American Logistics Innovation (CLI) in Bogotá, Colombia; and the Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation (MISI) in Shah Alam, Malaysia.
Each of these entities is a center of excellence for supply-chain education and research. Together, they offer more than 10 educational programs (both online and in residence), 55 academic partners, 80 researchers and faculty, 150 corporate partners, and 1,000 alumni working worldwide.
Every January students from the centers engaged in master’s programs come to MIT to take classes, listen to talks from thought leaders, and visit firms. The gathering offers a unique platform for networking, and gives the students a taste of the international working environment that has become the norm in the supply-chain industry.
A number of professional organizations also attended the expo, reinforcing the event’s strong links to industry. One of the trade groups, the Institute for Supply Management, presented prizes for the best posters chosen by a panel of judges.
The best poster overall was "The Perfect Promotion" from Asen Kalenderski and Satya Sanivarapu of the Master of Engineering in Logistics (SCM) program with the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics. The best posters from each center were:
- "Financial Impact on Demand Forecasting Decisions," by Alejandra Acevedo of the MIT Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management program with the Center for Latin-American Logistics Innovation in Bogota, Colombia;
- "Costs and Benefits of Order Flexibility," by Arun Param and Da Chin Lim of the MIT Malaysia Master of Science in Supply Chain Management program with the Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation in Shah Alam, Malaysia; and
- "Strategic Sourcing in Uncertain Environments," by Hugo Hotte and Sharad Vaish of the MIT Zaragoza Master of Engineering in Logistics and Supply Chain Management program with the Zaragoza Logistics Center in Zaragoza, Spain.
“MIT doesn’t exist to discover new ideas, publish them in a journal, and have them sit on a shelf or on the internet some place,” said David C. Schmittlein, dean of the MIT Sloan School of Management, who addressed the attendees. “MIT is all about organizations and really smart individuals bringing together science with practical applications.”
The wealth of research on display at Research Expo 2015 is not only an intrinsic part of the SCALE students’ educational studies, much of it will be translated into real-world applications by corporate sponsors.